Our Instructors

Dr. Jesus Acosta

Dr. Jesús Acosta

Postdoctoral Research Associate I

Phone: 520-621-7256
Room: 530A
Email: jjesuss@email.arizona.edu

Jesús Acosta is originally from a small town in the state of Sonora in Mexico. He earned his bachelor’s degree in public accounting in Mexico and later earned his master’s degree and doctorate in bilingual/multicultural education at the University of Arizona. While in the doctoral program, Acosta taught LRC 416 and 417 and Foundations and Methods of SEI. Since earning his degree, he has taught the graduate versions of the former two courses and other courses in ESL Bilingual Education.

For the past three years, Acosta has been the coordinator of student exchange programs with South America and France. His areas of interest are teaching and learning mathematics and the impact of educational policies in Mexican and Mexican American communities.

Course(s): LRC 516
Location(s): Phoenix/Chandler and Tucson


Heidi Legg Burross, Ph.D.

Dr. Heidi Legg Burross

Assistant Professor of Practice
Research Assistant Professor

Phone: 520-621-1796
Room: 611
Email: heidi@email.arizona.edu

Heidi Legg Burross teaches courses in development and learning as well as in research methods and statistics for both undergraduate and graduate students. Burross conducts research on Comprehensive School Reform, teacher incentive program effectiveness, and student perceptions of performance. In addition to teaching at the University of Arizona, Burross is an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Educational Psychology at Pima Community College.

Course(s): EDP 510, EDP 558
Location(s): Phoenix/Chandler and Tucson


Sheryl A. Castro

Sheryl A. Castro

Limited Term Adjunct Instructor

Phone: 520-621-2928
Email: scastro@email.arizona.edu

Sheryl Castro has completed coursework in Spanish, German and French. She has taught Spanish and ESL at the elementary and secondary levels and has taught entry-level Spanish courses and the world languages methods course at the university level. She is currently the director of global citizenship education in the Catalina Foothills School District where she oversees the K-12 world languages program and PreK-5 immersion programs in Mandarin Chinese and Spanish.

Castro has served as a leader at the school and district levels, developing curricula, leading a data team, and mentoring novice teachers. She also has been a cooperating teacher for many Teach Arizona Spanish students. Castro received the Milken Educator Award for excellence in teaching and is one of an elite group of teachers nationwide who has earned National Board Certification.

Course(s): TTE 524
Location(s): Phoenix/Chandler and Tucson


Melissa Hosten

Melissa Hosten

Co-Director Center for Recruitment and Retention of Mathematics Teachers

Phone: 520-390-2344
Email: mhosten@math.arizona.edu

Melissa Hosten has worked in education for more than 20 years, currently serving as a co-director at the University of Arizona Center for Recruitment and Retention of Mathematics Teachers. Prior to joining UA, Hosten worked at the Maricopa County Education Service Agency, Arizona Department of Education, Chandler Unified School District, and Vail Unified School District. She is involved in assessment and instruction projects locally and nationally and specializes in the areas of equity and access.

Hosten was recently awarded the Copper Apple Award for Leadership in Mathematics. She is past president of Women and Mathematics Education and holds leadership roles in the Joint Committee for Women in the Mathematical Sciences, Arizona Math Leaders, and Arizona Association of Mathematics Teachers. Hosten also is an active member of TODOS: Mathematics for All.

Course(s): TTE 524
Location(s): Phoenix/Chandler and Tucson


Suzanne E. Kaplan, Ph.D.

Suzanne E. Kaplan, Ph.D.

Project Coordinator

Phone: 520-621-2928
Email: skaplan@email.arizona.edu

Suzanne Kaplan was a classroom mathematics teacher at the middle-school level in a dual-language program for 16 years. After leaving the classroom, she served as an instructional coach for three years. Kaplan is a Nationally Board Certified Teacher and works extensively with teachers and school districts across the state in the areas of content-area literacy, instruction for English language learners, curriculum development, Differentiated Instruction, Complex Instruction, and professional development. During her time as a dual-language teacher, she was honored as a district and school Teacher of the Year twice and as the Southern Arizona Middle School Teacher of the Year. In 2012, Kaplan received a Master Teacher designation from the Arizona K-12 Center.

Course(s): LRC 535
Location(s): Phoenix/Chandler and Tucson


Sylvia Kniest

Sylvia Kniest

Adjunct Instructor

Phone: 520-250-8114
Email: skniest@email.arizona.edu

Sylvia Kniest taught social studies at both the high-school and middle-school levels for more than 30 years in the Tucson Unified School District. She served as a curriculum specialist; AP teacher and reader; and department chairperson. She was also an education specialist at the Southwest Environmental Health Science Center. As a teacher and coach, Kniest is highly trained at aligning curriculum to standards and in two models of teaching that are prevalent in Tucson schools: Understanding by Design and Essential Elements of Instruction.

In additional to her extensive classroom teaching experience, Kniest has experience designing social studies curriculum and mentoring both pre-service and novice teachers, including working with the Teach Arizona program as a university supervisor. At the university level, she has taught both the social studies methods and general methods courses.

Course(s): TTE 536
Location(s): Phoenix/Chandler


Michael G. Lang

Michael G. Lang

Teach Arizona-Phoenix/Chandler Site Coordinator

Phone: 520-621-2928
Email: mglang@email.arizona.edu

Michael Lang has extensive experience in both pre-service and in-service teacher education. At Mesa Community College (MCC), he served on the faculty development team for the STEM Teachers Learning Learners Community (TL3C) grant project and as an adjunct faculty member. He supervised and coordinated the student placements and selection of cooperating teachers for the college’s EDU111 Science and Mathematics Inquiry course. He developed this hybrid course based on the NAU Teach model and has updated the content to current national and state standards. Lang also is a consultant to Phoenix area school districts in Arizona regarding STEM Team development, project-based learning, and design thinking for K-12.

He was director of science programs for the National Center for Teacher Education based at the Maricopa Community Colleges. In this role, he formed STEM partnerships between colleges and public schools, and wrote and directed grant projects. All of these projects were collaborative curriculum design efforts among universities, colleges and public schools. He also facilitated and formed cross-disciplinary teams with faculty members from the STEM disciplines, English, and English Language Development (ELD), representing K-12, community college, and university levels.

Course(s): TTE 593
Location(s): Phoenix/Chandler and Tucson


Carl J. Liaupsin, Ed.D.

Carl J. Liaupsin, Ed.D.

Special Education Unit Chair
Mild-Moderate Program Director

Phone: 520-626-3810
Email: liaupsin@email.arizona.edu

Carl J. Liaupsin is an associate professor and the director of the Mild to Moderate Disabilities Focus Special Education Program at the University of Arizona. He began his career in education as a teacher of students with emotional and behavioral disorders and spent six years as the full-time behavioral consultant and assistive technology consultant for a midwestern school district.

Liaupsin also has worked as a research associate for the National Center on Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports and the National Center on Education, Disability, and Juvenile Justice. He is the author or co-author of numerous peer-reviewed journal articles, chapters in “field related” texts, and media-based professional development products. Liaupsin has also been the coordinator and editor for leading journals in his field. His research interests include the validation of function-based behavior intervention methods, development and evaluation of effective training in intervention practices, and use of technology-based tools to support teachers who work with students who exhibit challenging behavior.

Course(s): SERP 500
Location(s): Tucson


Dr. Barry Roth

Dr. Barry Roth

Teach Arizona Program Director
Associate Professor of Practice

Phone: 520-621-7820
Room: 711
Email: roth@email.arizona.edu

Barry Roth is an associate professor of practice and co-director of the Teach Arizona master’s degree teacher preparation program in the department of Teaching Learning and Sociocultural Studies at the University of Arizona. A former high school biology and chemistry teacher and school district science curriculum coordinator, he has extensive experience with using research-based and inquiry-based science pedagogy and with implementing programs for education of both pre-service and practicing science teachers that include both science content and pedagogical components.

He was a key player in writing the AZ Science Standard and is active in the Arizona Science Educational Leaders Association, a statewide network of leaders in science education. He has served as liaison between higher education and K-12 districts on numerous federal, state and local grants. He also is active in United States Master’s Swimming and is an ardent supporter and volunteer official for the UA Swimming and Diving Team.

Course(s): TTE 523, TTE 539, TTE 593
Location(s): Phoenix/Chandler and Tucson


William L. Smith

William L. Smith

Assistant Professor

Phone: 520-621-1481
Email: wlsmith@email.arizona.edu

William L. Smith is assistant professor in the Department of Teaching, Learning and Sociocultural Studies at the University of Arizona. He holds a bachelor’s degree in American Studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a master’s of education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Prior to earning his doctorate from the University of Texas at Austin, he taught sixth grade in under-resourced urban areas of Washington, D.C., and Oakland, Calif. Drawing on critical theoretical frameworks, Smith focuses his research on racial literacy and curriculum and on developing spaces for discussions of race in elementary, secondary and university settings.

Course(s): TTE 527
Location(s): Phoenix/Chandler and Tucson


Dr. Patricia Stowers

Dr. Patricia Stowers

Teach Arizona Program Director
Associate Professor of Practice

Phone: 520-621-7820
Room: Room: 711
Email: pstowers@email.arizona.edu

Patricia Stowers taught social studies at Flowing Wells High School and was named the 1997 Arizona Teacher of the Year. She received the University of Arizona/Circle K High School Faculty Teacher of the Year Award and the UA Alumni Association Distinguished Citizen Award. She is an associate professor of practice in the College of Education, and received an Outstanding Service Award from the college in 2002 for her work creating and directing the Teach Arizona program.

Stowers’ expertise is in pre-service teacher preparation, particularly in the areas of curriculum, instruction and classroom management. She has developed classroom simulations and service learning projects for high school students. She has more than 20 years of experience coordinating university-school partnerships in teacher preparation.

Course(s): TTE 536, TTE 539
Location(s): Phoenix/Chandler and Tucson


Jeffrey Scott Williams, Ed.D.

Jeffrey Scott Williams, Ed.D.

Adjunct Instructor

Phone: 520-621-1311
Email: jeffreywilliams@email.arizona.edu

Jeffrey Scott Williams has 15 years of experience in public education. He taught English for many years at urban high schools in both Phoenix and New York City and was a middle school instructional coach for two years. He is currently an assistant principal at a large high school in West Phoenix. In addition to teaching, Williams has worked to develop English language arts curricula and assessments that align with the Arizona College and Career Ready Standards.

He also has worked as a teacher mentor and staff developer. Williams holds a bachelor’s degree in English and journalism from the University of Arizona, a master’s degree in TESOL from Hunter College of the City University of New York, and a doctorate in educational leadership and innovation from Arizona State University. He has taught Secondary English Methods in the Teach Arizona program for the past four years.

Course(s): TTE 540
Location(s): Phoenix/Chandler and Tucson


Leila Williams, Ph.D.

Leila Williams, Ph.D.

Adjunct Instructor

Phone: 520-403-8379
Email: drleilae.williams@gmail.com

Leila E Williams is the director for exceptional education for Sunnyside Unified School District (SUSD). She has more than 30 years of experience in special education, assessment, accountability, and school improvement at both the district and state levels. In her current position, she oversees Gifted and Special Education in the second largest school district in southern Arizona. Prior to joining SUSD, she was the associate superintendent for assessments, accountability, adult education and school improvement at the Arizona Department of Education (ADE). While at the ADE, Williams managed several federal grants and served as a research partner on key projects that supported students with disabilities and state assessments.

Course(s): SERP 500
Location(s): Phoenix/Chandler


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