I am a proud parent of two HCPSS students, a trained educator, and a teacher educator. A tenured full professor and Coordinator of Professional Development and Communication at Morgan State University, I earned my doctorate in applied linguistics (with a specialization in literacy) from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, as well as my second M.A. degree (in sociolinguistics). My first M.A. is in TESOL, from Chicago. I started out as a tenure-track Asst. Professor at The University of Memphis in 1997, and took an early year-long sabbatical to work as the Lead Ontologist/ Knowledge Engineer for a research group that contracted with tech giant HP in Silicon Valley. I have also taught at George Mason University, Salisbury University, and the College of Education in Azare, Northern Nigeria. From 2014-2016, I had the honor of serving as one of 10 global Ambassadors for Childhood selected by the Association for Childhood Education International and the Alliance for Childhood. I am currently ACEI’s U.S. Liaison. I just finished serving on the Board of the National Association for Bilingual Education and am Education Advisor to The Unforgotten (www.unforgotten.org). My father taught geography all over the world, so I completed my elementary and high school education, as well as my first degree abroad. I picked up Hindi, English, Yoruba, Hausa, and Nigerian Pidgin in my childhood, and learned French and Spanish as a teenager–primarily from children, as documented in my first book, The Child Language Teacher: Intergenerational Language and Literary Enhancement (2010, Mysore: CIIL). It chronicles how I taught my mother English when I was in second grade, and how this transformed my academic and social skills. I learned Spanish from a 5-year-old and I am convinced that children and young adults have the potential to be some of our best teachers. Enhancing student, parent and community engagement is one of my top objectives. I would like us to give our students, their families, and interested residents (e.g., retired seniors) an opportunity to share their talents and skills through cross-age and cross-language camps. My building-blocks cultural competency model won me the inaugural Diversity and Inclusion award from the Association for Business Communication International. I was invited to deliver a (luncheon) plenary address at the 82nd Annual Conference in Dublin, Ireland (October, 2017). I am helped start the Howard County African American History Project (HCAAHP; http://hchsmd.org/hc-african-american-history-pr/
), a subcommittee of the Howard County Historical Society, and have been serving as Director. We began recording the educational experiences and of the earliest residents on Fels Lane (Ms. Sophie Pollock who turned 99 on Jan. 17, 2018—attended the historic Colored School). I also Co-Directed (with Tyrone Tyler) The Fire Next Door, a mini documentary on the 1965 fire on Main Street in Ellicott City, MD (near the Fire Station) that killed an African-American mother and four of her children. As an expert in reading and early childhood, I was invited to serve on the Validation Focus Group for MD-HSSCO Needs Assessment Project in 2013, and I’ve served on PTA sub-committees and even taught ESL as a volunteer in Howard County for over 15 years.
I have been teaching for 28 years, and the last 17 have been dedicated to teacher education. I’m a proud parent of two HCPSS students, a trained educator, and a teacher educator. I have also been actively involved in the educational policy realm, particularly through my advocacy on behalf of a number of international and national children’s and young adult organizations. These include the ACEI, the NAEYC, CAEP (the largest accrediting body), NCLR, ACTFL, NABE, TESOL, ABC (Association for Business Communication International), AAAL (the American Association of Applied Linguistics), IAWE (the International Association for World Englishes), as well as NGOs like the Unforgotten (www.unforgotten.org). I have authored over 70 peer-reviewed pieces, including three books–the latest, Language Building Blocks from Columbia University–and I serve with pride on the Advisory board of an international journal, and have served on the Editorial Board of six other international journals. A list of selected organizations that have invited me to provide Professional Development in the last two years is at www.languagebuildingblocks.com They include Kennedy Krieger Institute, First English Lutheran Pre and K, Baltimore, Saint Vincent de Paul, the Y of Central Maryland, Waverly Head Start, and the Community Action Council of HC. I was an invited Speaker at the U.S. House of Representatives Briefing on the P-12 Language Pipeline hosted by U.S. Representatives Don Young and David Price on Dec. 6, 2016, and have provided testimony on education (and one other House bill) in Annapolis on more than one occasion.