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LDUS Faculty



Ana Christina da Silva

Professor of the Practice of Elective Learning, Department of Teaching & Learning

Professor da Silva’s research centers at the learning ecologies of linguistically/culturally diverse students; family and community resources in diverse urban in- and out-of-school contexts; and partnerships between family, community, school, and university that support the literacy learning of linguistically diverse learners and emphasize educational opportunity and equity. She has taught in public schools in Brazil and the United States and has worked with researchers in Chile, Brazil, and Mexico on implementing ecological models of community development.


Ebony O. McGee

Assistant Professor of Education, Diversity and STEM Education,  Department of Teaching & Learning

In addition to her work at Peabody College, Professor McGee is a member of Scientific Careers Research and Development Group at Northwestern University. She received her doctoral degree in Mathematics Education from the University of Illinois at Chicago; and she was a National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow and a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow. As a former electrical engineer, she is concerned with science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) learning and participation among historically marginalized students of color. Her research focuses on the role of racialized experiences and biases in STEM educational and career attainment, problematizing traditional notions of academic success and what is mean to be successful yet marginalized, and mathematics identity and identity development in high-achieving students of color. 

Donna Ford  Donna Y. Ford

Professor, Department of Special Education

Professor Ford holds a joint appointment in the Peabody College departments of Special Education and Teaching and Learning. Dr. Ford has been a Professor of Special Education at the Ohio State University, an Associate Professor of Educational Psychology at the University of Virginia, and a researcher with the National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented. She also taught at the University of Kentucky. 

Professor Ford earned her doctoral degree in Urban Education (educational psychology) (1991), Masters of Education degree (counseling) (1988), and Bachelor of Arts degree in communications and Spanish (1984) from Cleveland State University.

Professor Ford conducts research primarily in gifted education and multicultural/urban education. Specifically, her work focuses on: (1) recruiting and retaining culturally different students in gifted education; (2) multicultural and urban education; (3) achievement gaps; (4) minority student achievement and underachievement; and (5) family involvement. She consults with school districts, educational, and legal organizations in the areas of gifted education, Advanced Placement, and multicultural/urban education. Professor Ford’s courses focus on these topics.

Jeanette Mancilla-Martinez  Jeannette Mancilla-Martinez

Associate Professor of Literacy Instruction, Department of Teaching & Learning

Professor Mancilla-Martinez holds a master of education degree and a doctor of education in language and literacy from Harvard University, as well as a bachelor of arts degree in liberal studies with a concentration in English and Spanish from Mount Saint Mary's College. Before coming to Peabody, she served as assistant professor of language, literacy, and technology at the University of California-Irvine. Her areas of specialization include language and reading development, child development, and language of minority learners, immigrant children, and students from low-income homes.

Robert Jimenez  Robert Jiménez

Professor, Dept. of Teaching & Learning 

Professor Jiménez received his doctoral degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1992. He was previously a faculty member at the University of Oregon (1990-1994) and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (1994-2004). He teaches courses in research methods, second language literacy, and issues related to the education of Latino/Latina students. Professor Jiménez has conducted research on the strategic processing of competent and less competent bilingual readers, and on the delivery of services and instruction to language minority students at risk for referral to special education and those with learning disabilities. He is now interested in using an ecological framework to examine the literacies of linguistically diverse students. He is also interested in the potential of alternative literacy practices to promote these same students' personal, political, and economic goals. Previously, he was both a bilingual and a migrant teacher for three years in northern Illinois. His work has been published in several journals including the American Educational Research Journal, Elementary School Journal, Reading Research Quarterly, The Reading Teacher, and the Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy.

Kristen Neal  Kristen W. Neal

Lecturer; Co-Director of Learning and Design M.Ed. Program, Department of Teaching & Learning

Dr. Neal's interests include responsive curriculum design and family and community engagement in the schooling process. She teaches courses in these areas and directs the Capstone Experience for the non-licensure master’s students.

Her prior roles include Senior Advisor to Product Development for Modern Red Schoolhouse, a national school reform nonprofit, and Associate Investigator at the Center of Excellence in Learning Sciences at Tennessee State University where she designed professional development for K-8 teachers of science through a National Science Foundation Grant. A former elementary classroom teacher, she holds a doctoral degree in curriculum and instructional leadership and a master’s degree in education from Vanderbilt University. She received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Miami University in Ohio. Dr. Neal’s passion for education extends beyond her professional life as she volunteers in the public school setting of her children and serves on several district-wide committees to improve education in Nashville.

 Barb Barbara Stengel

Professor of the Practice & Director of Secondary Ed, Dept. of Teaching & Learning

As a philosopher of education. I employ philosophy as a verb (the pursuit of wisdom through disciplined thinking-in-community) as well as a noun (competing systems of belief instantiated in action) in the study and practice of teaching and teacher education. In my position as Professor of the Practice of Education, I teach courses that examine the social, philosophical, history, political and economic aspects of schooling specifically and educational efforts generally. In my role as Director of Secondary Education, I bring a philosophical temper to practical questions about our teacher education programs and policies, raising prior questions, uncovering assumptions (including my own!), clarifying language, and generally deconstructing the stories we tell ourselves about what we are doing and why. All three roles involve cross-cultural dialogue among the various constituencies in schools and universities: students, teachers, school leaders, parents, policy makers, teacher educators, educational researchers, arts and sciences faculty and university administrators.

Tara Lentz  Tara Lentz

Adjunct Professor, Learning, Diversity, and Urban Studies Internship

Lentz manages the Social Integration programs for Conexión Américas, programs that create alliances and friendships, answer important questions for immigrants in a new land, and deepen the roots of Latino families in Middle Tennessee. She also coordinates volunteers and tracks program performance and data for the organization. In 2011, Tara received a Master of Divinity from Vanderbilt University. That means she preaches regularly, and in both English and Spanish.  Lentz coordinates and supervises the yearlong LDUS internship experience and helps connect students to her many colleagues across Nashville.



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