Family Diversity Education Council - Bringing together Advocates, Practitioners, & Researchers
Member Biographies and Contact Information
Some of our members have provided biographies. We invite you to find members with similar interests and contact them to help in our mission to make connections among those working to generate and share and disseminate knowledge related to issues of family diversity and family-school-community relationships.
Please note that some member biographies are quite lengthy and are more accessible by a link to their home institutions on the FDEC Members List page.
Susan Auerbach
Associate Professor
Department of Educational Leadership & Policy Studies
California State University - Northridge
Susan Auerbach received her Ph.D. in Urban Schooling (sociology of education) from UCLA in 2001 and the Outstanding Dissertation Award from the AERA Family, School, Community Partnerships Special Interest Group (SIG) in 2002. She is an Associate Professor in the Department of Educational Leadership & Policy Studies at California State University, Northridge, with research interests in family and community engagement in education, leadership for partnerships, college access, shared accountability, and other aspects of equity, access, and the social context of education. She is particularly interested in home-school relations in urban settings and in how Latino/a parents construct their roles in education. She has published in Harvard Educational Review, Educational Administration Quarterly, Journal of School Leadership, Teachers College Record, Urban Education,Journal of Latino Education, and School Community Journal, among others, and served as Chair, Program Chair, and Dissertation Award Committee Chair of the AERA Family-School-Community PartnershipsSpecial Interest Group (SIG).
Karen Bostic-Frederick
Assistant Professor
University of Nebraska Kearney
College of Education
Department of Teacher Education
Kearney, NE 68849
Karen Bostic earned her Bachelor's degree in elementary and Special Education from the University of Nebraska Omaha.  She earned Masters' degrees in Reading and Special Education from Louisiana State University, an Educational Specialist in Reading, an Educational Doctorate in Special Education, and a PhD in Reading - all from Louisiana State University.  She is currently an assistant professor of special education at the University of Nebraska Kearney.  Her current research is on behavior contracts at the secondary level, common planning time in the middle school, canines in the classroom, collaboration with paraprofessionals, non-traditional families, and content reading strategies in secondary biological sciences. She lives in Minden and Omaha, NE, with her seven children, ages 4 months to 14 years.
Cathy Compton-Lilly
Assistant Professor
Curriulum and Instruction
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Catherine Compton-Lilly is an Assistant Professor in Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Wisconsin Madison. She taught in the public schools for 18 years. She is the author of Reading Families: The Literate Lives of Urban Children (Teachers College Press, 2003), Confronting Racism, Poverty and Power (Heinemann, 2004), Rereading Families (Teachers College Press, 2007), the editor of Breaking the Silence (International Reading Association, 2009), and co-editor of Connecting Home and School: Complexities, Concerns, and Considerations in Fostering Parent Involvement and Family (Teachers College Press, in press). Dr. Compton-Lilly has authored articles in the Reading Research Quarterly, Research in the Teaching of English, The Reading Teacher, The Journal of Early Childhood Literacy, The Reading Teacher, and Language Arts. Dr. Compton-Lilly engages in longitudinal research projects that last over long periods of time. In her most recent study, she followed a group of eight inner-city students from grade one through grade 11. Her interests include examining how time operates as a contextual factor in children’s lives as they progress through school and construct their identities as students and readers.
Jean Clandinin
University of Alberta
D. Jean Clandinin is Professor and Director of the Centre for Research for Teacher Education andDevelopment at the University of Alberta. She is co-author with Michael Connelly of four booksincluding Narrative Inquiry. Composing Diverse Identities: Narrative Inquiries into the InterwovenLives of Children and Teachers (2006) drew on research with children and teachers in urbanschools. She is currently involved in a narrative inquiry into the stories of youth who leave school without graduating. She is also working with colleagues on a study into early career teacher attrition. She edited the 2007 Handbook of Narrative Inquiry: Mapping a Methodology. With AERA,she was a Vice President of Division B; the 1993 winner of the Early Career Award; and she wasawarded the 2002 Division B Lifetime Achievement Award. She won the University of Alberta’s Award for Outstanding Researcher, the Killam Scholar Award and in 2009 the Killam Mentoring Award.
Stephanie Coontz
History and Women's Studies
The Evergreen State College
Olympia, WA 98505
Stephanie Coontz is Co-Chair and Director of Research and Public Education of the Council on Contemporary Families. She teaches history and family studies at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington. Coontz is the author of Marriage, A History: How Love Conquered Marriage (Viking, 2005), The Way We Never Were: American Families and the Nostalgia Trap (Basic Books, 1992, 2000), The Way We Really Are: Coming to Terms with America's Changing Families (Basic Books, 1997), and The Social Origins of Private Life: A History of American Families. She also edited American Families: A Multicultural Reader (Routledge, 2008) and has contributed to numerous anthologies. Her op eds have appeared in major newspapers across the U.S. and Europe and her books have has been translated into French, Spanish, German, Chinese, Norwegian, and Japanese. Coontz has received the Dale Richmond Award of the American Academy of Pediatrics for "outstanding contributions to the field of child development" and CCF's first-ever "Visionary Leadership Award." In January 2011 Basic Books will publish her new book, "A Strange Stirring": The Feminine Mystique and American Women at the Dawn of the 1960s.
Don Davies
41 Pleasant Street
Marblehead, MA, 01945
Don Davies was the founder and for many years the President of the Institute for Responsive Education, a national organization devoted to research and projects to encourage increased parent and community participation in the public schools, especially in economically troubled urban and rural areas. .  He was professor of education at Boston University from 1974 to 1996 and a Visiting Professor at Northeastern University from 1996 to 2004. He received his BA in Journalism and Political Science from Stanford University in 1948 and a Master of Arts Degree in Education from Stanford in 1949. His Ed.D. Degree is from Teachers College, Columbia University, where in specialized in Teacher Education.  He had a brief career as a journalist and was a high school teacher of Journalism and English in Beverly Hills, California. He taught at San Francisco State College and the University of Minnesota. From 1961 through 1967 he was Executive Secretary of the National Commission on Teacher Education and Professional Standards of the National Education Association.  Davies served as Associate and then as Deputy Commissioner of the U.S. Office of Education, during the late 1960s and early 1970s.  His interests and responsibilities included improving the preparation of educational personnel, reforming the urban and rural schools serving low-income students, supporting experimentation and research, and expanding opportunities for parents and community residents to influence educational policies and practices.  In 1973, he founded the Institute For Responsive Education, a nonprofit public interest organization working to encourage family-community-school partnerships. As an outgrowth of his work with IRE, Davies established the League of Schools Reaching Out, a 90 member international association of schools working toward education reform through parental and community involvement. Davies was Co-Director with Joyce Epstein of the Center on Families, Communities, Schools, and Children's Learning, a national research and development center, from 1990 to 1996. He was the facilitator of the first multi-national action research study of parent involvement in school reform, examining the issue in the US, Australia, Chile, Czechoslovakia, Portugal and Spain. Davies is the author and co-author of many policy reports and several books, including Beyond theBake Sal.The Essential Guide to Family-School Partnerships, published in 2007, Portrait of Schools Reaching Out, Communities and Their Schools, and Schools Where Parents Make a Difference. He has written numerous articles and made many presentations in a variety of public forums in the United States and several other countries, including Albania, Australia, Argentina, Canada, China, Egypt, Portugal, Spain, and the United Arab Emirates. In 1990, with Joyce Epstein, he initiated the International Network of Scholars on School-Family Partnerships and the biennial International Roundtables. Hiscurrent activities include serving on the Marblehead Committee on Fair and Affordable Housing and the State Committee on Parent and Community Involvement.. He was awarded the First International Achievement Award by the National Coalition for Parent Involvement in Education, in 1996. He has been married to Joyce Davies since 1949 and is the father of two daughters and four grandchildren.
Beth Graue
Assistant Director
Wisconisn Center for Educational Research (WCER)
Curriculum and Instruction
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Phone: (608) 262-7435
Office: 785A Ed Sciences
Mail Drop: 74
M. Elizabeth Graue is Professor of Curriculum and Instruction and is Assistant Director of WCER. Her areas of interest include readiness, class size reduction, preparing teachers for inclusive home-school relations, and qualitative research methods. She is currently part of a team of WCER researchers conducting an evaluation of Wisconsin's Student Achievement Guarantee for Education (SAGE).
Catherine Hands
Catherine Hands obtained her Ph.D. in Educational Administration at The Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto, after a career as an elementary teacher within the Montessori school system. During her years in the classroom, Catherine also organized national conferences for the Canadian Association of Montessori Teachers, professional development workshops for teachers, and educational opportunities for parents. Since earning her doctorate, Catherine has been appointed to the School of Leadership and Education Sciences as an Assistant Professor in the University of San Diego’s Leadership Studies department, where she taught in the principal preparation programme as well as in the department’s leadership programmes. Catherine currently works as an educational researcher and consultant with school boards in the Greater Toronto Area in the areas of curriculum, policy and professional learning communities, and with Ontario’s Ministry of Education, assessing parent involvement initiatives in education. Catherine’s research interests stem from her experiences in the classroom as well as her work with school leaders and teachers, and include educational leadership, school-community relations, schools as communities, parent involvement in schooling, values and ethics in education, social justice, professional learning communities, and educational reform. She maintains an active research agenda in these areas, and has presented and published work regionally, nationally and internationally.
William Howe
William Howe, is the soon-to-be retired State Title IX Coordinator and Education Consultant for Multicultural Education at the Connecticut State Department of Education. He is Past-Chair of the Connecticut Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs and Past-President of the National Association for Multicultural Education (NAME).  He is an adjunct professor of education at the University of Connecticut, Albertus Magnus College and Quinnipiac University.
Mary Johnson 
LAUSD Parent Collanorative
Mary Johnson, Co/Instructor of urban schooling at Pepperdine University GSEP, specializes in the influence of racial and cultural differences on teaching and learning, particularly in urban schools, and how these differences affect the way teachers, parents and students interact. As advocates she strive to reach new methods for distributing information about school conditions to state and federal agencies, and continue to collaborate with educational researchers, school administrators and educators, and community organizers and advocates.
She is a regularly cited expert on NCLB, parent education, parents and students rights. Mary has been profile in several book publications such as Learn Power by Dr. Jeannie Oakes and Dr. John Rogers and 2007 Harvard Review winter edition written by Dr. John Rogers. She has conducted multiple workshops and seminars, working with teachers, parents and administrators at all levels to improve teaching and learning in multicultural settings.
Johnson is also chairperson for Parent Collaborative at Los Angeles Unified School District, and President of advocacy organization name Parent-U-Turn.  As chairperson of Parent Collaborative my background as advocate have help me lead the way to  transformation of LAUSD,  parent involvement from 1900’s model into 21 century parent  model that have parents as advocate .  State of California Department Of Education have just named Parent-U-Turn model for parents as best practice for State of California.
Summary of professional interests: creating parents as advocate and researchers into leadership roles that help parents to navigate their children beyond high school into universities.
Kathleen Kosobud
Michigan State University
Kathleen is a Diversity and (Dis)ability in Urban Schools fellow. Her work focuses on support for families of children with disabilities in and out of school, from a Disabilities Studies perspective. Her practicum was a qualitative study of four mothers' thoughts and experiences of collaboration with their sons' schools. Her dissertation focuses on Parent Training and Information Centers and how their work aligns with family needs, and the work of other special education initiatives. She is a retired teacher consultant in special education,with National Board Certification (EA/Gen). She's also the parent of two adult children with learning (dis)abilities, and past president of the Learning Disabilities Association of Michigan. She is currently looking for work in the non-profit sector, and as faculty in or near Southeastern Michigan.
Yvette Latunde
Azusa Pacific University
Assistant Professor of Special Education
Coordinator of Clinical Practice
Mild/Moderate program coordinator
Dr. Yvette Latunde, is an Assistant professor and the coordinator for clinical practice in the department of special education at Azusa Pacific University. Her mixed methods research focuses on practical issues that arise in academic achievement for cultural and linguistically diverse learners in special education, such as traditional school models, teacher and administration preparedness to work with diverse learners and families, and the impact of race, class, and culture on teaching, learning & disabilities. She is currently investigating instructional equity for diverse learners and parental involvement in special education processes.
Dr. Latunde has published a chapter in a book; (Nworie B Latunde Y Goodwin K 2009 Respone to intervention (RTI):Cultural and linguistic considerations for effective interventions)Nworie, B. C., Latunde, Y., & Goodwin, K. (2009). Response to intervention (RTI): Cultural and linguistic considerations for effective interventions.  In Nworie, B.C. (Ed.), Central issues in special education (pp. 135-144). San Francisco: Pearson Custom Publishing and has recently published an article Latunde, Y. C. (2009). Answering the President’s call: Increasing diverse parental involvement in schools, Journal of Urban Learning, Teaching and Research. (5), 21-26.
Guofang Li
350 Erickson Hall
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48824
(517) 432-9617
Dr. Guofang Li is an associate professor of second language and literacy education in the Department of Teacher Education, Michigan State University. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Saskatchewan in 2000 and was a post-doctoral fellow (SSHRC) at the University of British Columbia during 2000-2001. Prior to joining MSU, she was an assistant professor at the University at Buffalo, where she was a recipient of the 2004 Outstanding Young Investigator Award. Her research interests focus on three interrelated areas of concerns: a) Asian immigrant children's home literacy practices; b) cultural conflicts and educational dissensions between Asian immigrant parents and mainstream schools/teachers regarding literacy learning and instruction; and c) Asian children's social processes of learning, especially the impact of the "model minority" myth, social class, and cultural identity on language and literacy development. Dr. Li’s publications include six books and a monograph. These are: Multicultural families, home literacies, and mainstream schooling. (Information Age Publishing, 2009), Model minority myths revisited: An interdisciplinary approach to demystifying Asian American education experiences (co-editor, Information Age Publishing, 2008), Culturally contested literacies: America’s “rainbow underclass” and urban schools (Routledge, 2008), Culturally Contested Pedagogy: Battles of Literacy and Schooling between Mainstream Teachers and Asian Immigrant Parents (SUNY Press, 2006), “East is east, west is west”? Home literacy, culture, and schooling (Peter Lang, 2002), “Strangers” of the Academy: Asian Women Scholars in Higher Education (co-editor, Stylus, 2006), and a monograph entitled, Asian-American education across the Class Line: A Multi-site Report (GSE Publications/SUNY Press, 2005).
Monica Miller Marsh
Associate Professor
DeSales Unviersity
2755 Station Avenue
Center Valley, PA, 18034
Dr. Monica Miller Marsh teaches elementary education courses at the undergraduate level and educational research courses at the graduate level. She has taught preschool, kindergarten and fifth grade in the Ohio public schools, and obtained her undergraduate degree from Kent State University in early childhood and gifted education, her master's degree from Kent State University in early childhood education with an emphasis on international education, and her Ph. D. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. Prior to teaching at DeSales University, Dr. Miller Marsh taught graduate courses at the State University of New York at Binghamton.
Dr. Miller Marsh's areas of research include early childhood/elementary education, teacher thinking, and issues of diversity. Her book, The Social Fashioning of Teacher Identities, as well as several journal articles, address these topics. She is currently co-editing, with Dr. Tammy Turner Vorbeck, Othered Kinds of Families: Diversity in School and Culture.
Shaun Murphy
Department of Curriculum Studies
University of Saskatchewan
Shaun Murphy is a teacher educator at the University of Saskatchewan. He is a member of the department of Curriculum Studies where he teaches mathematics methods in the undergraduate program and curriculum and methodology course in the graduate program. He was a primary school teacher for twenty years in urban and rural settings. His research focuses on the ways children, teachers, and families co-compose curriculum and the ways this co-composition is tied to identity making.  He also researches in the area of beginning teachers and the ways they take up teaching as intellectual work. The methodological areas he works within are narrative inquiry and self-study of teacher education practices. Shaun has published in the areas of narrative inquiry, teacher education, curriculum, and self study. Much of his work is collaborative in nature and he also sees this as an area of research interest. He was a co-author on, Composing Diverse Identities: Narrative Inquiries into the Interwoven Lives of Children and Teachers, which received awards for its work on curriculum and narrative methodology. He has received teaching awards and was recognized for his work alongside student teachers. His current research is focused on the curriculum making of children, families, and teachers in an achievement testing era and another inquiry focuses on the lives of beginning teachers. Currently he is the co-chair of the AERA Narrative Research SIG and graduate chair in his department at the University of Saskatchewan.
Sue Nichols
Dr Sue Nichols
School of Education
University of South Australia
After a career as a high school teacher, I undertook a doctorate in early childhood literacy on the topic of parents’ understandings of their children’s literacy development and have focused on family-school-community relations every since. A researcher and teacher educator, my projects are often collaborative and community focused. I am able to provide an international (Australian) perspective on issues of family-school-community relations.
I have investigated and written about parents’ experiences supporting children with learning difficulties, children’s transitions from home to preschool and school, fathers’ participation in children’s literacy and parents’ access to and use of educational resources. As a teacher educator I have designed and taught curricula in inclusive education. I have undertaken policy analysis on the integration of early childhood services.
Kay Phelps
Culturally Responsive Family Engagement
16592 Rd. 26
Dolores, CO 81323
My dissertation (2010) is entitled Inviting and Sustaining Partnerships with Navajo and Ute Mountain Ute Families of Early Elementary Children.
Debbie Pushor
Associate Professor
Department of Curriulum Studies
University of Saskatchewan
Dr. Pushor's website:
My career began with Edmonton Public Schools in Alberta where I worked as a teacher, a consultant, a principal and a central services administrator.  My experiences as a parent of school-aged children caused me to attend to the positioning of parents in relation to schools and prompted the focus of my doctoral work, A Storied Photo Album of Parents’ Positioning and the Landscape of Schools. I graduated from the University of Alberta in 2001 with a PhD in elementary education.  I assumed an academic position at St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia from 2001 to 2004, teaching in the BEd program and the MEd program in educational leadership. I joined the University of Saskatchewan in 2004.  I am currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Curriculum Studies in the College of Education.  I completed a major research project funded by the Dr. Stirling McDowell Foundation for Research into Teaching, which explored, with a team of co-researchers at Princess Alexandra Community School in Saskatoon, how schools can move from practices of parent involvement to practices of parent engagement and leadership.  I am also engaged in research funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada in which I am exploring what parent knowledge is and how it is held and used.  I am a qualitative researcher who uses narrative inquiry as her research methodology.
Rema Reynolds
Assistant Professor of School Counseling and School Psychology
Azusa Pacific University
901 E. Alosta Ave., PO Box 7000
Azusa, CA 91702-7000
(626) 815-6000 ext. 5211
Rema Reynolds is a former teacher, counselor, administrator, and currently organizes Black parents for the improvement of student achievement in various schools. Dr. Reynolds’ research is centered in urban schools serving culturally, ethnically, and racially diverse students and families.  Specifically, Rema examines issues of parent engagement as they relate to Black families and student achievement. Rema’s research agenda focusing on Black families in the Psychology Department at UC Riverside. Her forthcoming books focus on engaging underrepresented parents in schools and provide practical guides and strategies for parents and school officials. Dr. Reynolds has worked as a consultant for a number of school districts across the country assisting teachers and administrators to take deliberate action in inviting parents to participate in ways meaningful for them and beneficial for students.
Steven Sheldon
Steven Sheldon, Ph.D.
Director of Research
National Network of Partnership Schools
Johns Hopkins University
2701 N. Charles St.
Suite 200
Baltimore, MD 21218
Dr. Steven Sheldon is a Research Scientist with the Center on School, Family, and Community Partnerships and Director of Research for the National Network of Partnership Schools at Johns Hopkins University. He is co-author of, Principals Matter:
A Guide to School, Family, and Community Partnerships, a book about how principals can develop strong family and community involvement programs in their schools. He is also the author of several research articles about the development of family and community involvement programs in schools; the impact of partnership programs and activities on family involvement and student outcomes; and the influence of parents’ social relationships and social networks on their involvement in their children’s schooling. Dr. Sheldon is interested in understanding the influences on parents’ and family members’ decisions to become involved in their children’s education and the impact of these decisions on students’ academic and non-academic outcomes. He earned his Ph. D. in Educational Psychology from Michigan State University.
Azure Smiley
Azure Dee Smiley, Ph.D. 
University of Indianapolis
Dr. Smiley grew up in Whiteland, Indiana and has a family member with exceptional needs.  She received her Bachelor of Arts in education from Marian College in 1998.  She was a special education teacher and Varsity coach for the School Town of Speedway for six years.  In 2000 she earned her Master of Science in effective teaching from Butler University.  She was named a 2001 IPALCO Golden Apple Award Winner for excellence in teaching and a 2002 Fulbright Teacher Exchange scholar. In 2003 she earned a Leadership Training Grant from the US Department of Education to pursue her PhD in Special Education at Indiana University.  While at Indiana University, Azure worked on international special education projects in Bangalore, India and Quito, Ecuador. She has sat on the Board of Directors of the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC), presents and publishes research nationally in the fields of special education and multicultural education, and was a 2007 American Educational Research Association Emerging Scholar nominee.  In 2008, Dr. Smiley received the YWCA’s Woman of Achievement award for her anti-racist work across Indiana. Recently, Azure was appointed to the Indiana Civil Rights Commission’s Educational Steering Committee and was named Indiana CEC’s advocacy representative to Congress.  In 2009 the Association of Independent Liberal Arts Colleges for Teacher Education named Azure their Scholar Award winner and Marian College honored her as their Outstanding Young Alumni recipient.  Currently, Dr. Smiley is an assistant professor of special education at the University of Indianapolis and the University of Notre Dame, is a school board member for the Indianapolis Project School and does local and national advocacy work focused on the implementation of special education legislation, families, and equity.   
Dr. Smiley’s research and teaching interests include IEP meetings, family engagement, culturally responsive practice, critical studies of education, and urban education. She currently acts as Indiana Council for Exceptional Children’s Congressional Liaison and Child and Youth Advocacy Network Coordinator. She also acts as an advocate and negotiator for schools and families trying to resolve conflicts based on IEPs.
Tammy Turner-Vorbeck
Family Divesity Education Council
839 Main Street, Lafayette, IN 47901
Dr. Turner-Vorbeck is adjunct faculty at Purdue University and co-founder of the Family Diversity Education Council, a non-profit corporation comprised of advocates, practitioners, and researchers interested in generating and sharing knowledge related to issues of family diversity and family-school-community relationships.  Her research interests center upon family structure diversity and equity issues in education. At the national level, she speaks at educational conferences on issues of family diversity and representations of family in school curricula. At the university level, she provides workshops to preservice teachers and teachers on addressing family diversity in curricula and classrooms. As the mother of three older children adopted from state foster care, she combines the personal and the professional through continued advocacy for "othered" forms of family. Recent publications include: (Mis)Understanding Families:Learning to Listen to Real Families in Our Schools (2010); Other Kinds of Families:Diversity in School and Culture (2008);  Representations of family: A poststructural analysis (2006); Expanding multicultural education to include family diversity (Multicultural Education, Winter, 2005).