Hope Rigby-Wills, a lecturer in the special populations program and a doctoral alum, has been selected for the Council for Learning Disabilities Leadership Institute. The program is designed for graduate students and early career faculty to develop career, grant writing and teaching skills. Rigby-Wills earned an Ed.D. in professional leadership – special populations in 2023.
Steven Wei, who earned an Ed.D. in professional leadership – health science education in 2021, received the Association of Physician Assistants in Oncology Lifetime Achievement Award during the annual symposium in August. Wei is currently a manager of advanced practice providers in the Department of Surgical Oncology at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.
Stephanie Pérez-Gill, program director for the Advancing Community Engagement and Service Institute, received a 2023-24 scholarship from the UH Staff Council. She was honored at the Staff Council Awards and Scholarship Ceremony in July. Perez-Gill is also a doctoral student in the higher education program.
Kelly Lee, who earned a Ph.D. in counseling psychology in 2016 and an M.Ed. in counseling in 2013, will serve as president-elect for the Council of Counseling Psychology Training Programs. Lee is currently a clinical associate professor and training director for the counseling psychology program at the Texas A&M University School of Education and Human Development. Her official term as president-elect will begin in August.
Three-time UH graduate Michael Ahlf, an assistant manager in the College’s technology department, won a first-place research award from the Association for Educational Communications and Technology’s Division of Distance Learning. Specifically, he received the division’s Graduate Student Research ‘Mixed Methods’ Based Award for the capstone paper of his doctoral dissertation titled “A Systematic Review of Research on Moderators in Asynchronous Online Discussions.” Sara McNeil, an associate professor and director of the College’s learning, design and technology program, was the second author on the paper. Ahlf earned a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction in 2022, an M.Ed. in curriculum and instruction in 2014 and a B.S. in electrical engineering from UH in 2002.
Three-time UH graduate Shawn Bird has been appointed deputy superintendent of school leadership for the San Antonio Independent School District. Bird earned an Ed.D. in curriculum and instruction in 2005, an M.Ed. in curriculum and instruction – secondary education in 2000 and a bachelor’s in English with a minor in Spanish in 1998. He served on the board of the College of Education Alumni Association in 2010-11 and most recently served as chief academic officer for the Houston Independent School District.
Two-time College of Education graduate Chad Jones was named executive director of technology for the Lamar Consolidated Independent School District. Jones earned an Ed.D. in curriculum and instruction in 2015 and an M.Ed. in curriculum and instruction in 2008. Jones, who previously served as the district’s director of innovative learning, began his career as a high school English teacher in Fort Bend ISD.
Cruz Casiano, who earned an Ed.D. in professional leadership – special populations in 2023, was selected for the 2023 LEADERS Institute from the American Association for Women in Community Colleges. The five-day training program promotes leadership skills in women. Casiano, who currently serves as director of the career and applied technology division at Lone Star College, will attend the institute in June in Kansas City.
Adriana Sanchez, who earned a B.S. in teaching and learning in 2013, has been named 2022-23 Bilingual Teacher of the Year at Moreno Elementary School in the Houston Independent School District. Sanchez teaches third grade reading at the school.
Yessica Castillo, who earned a B.S. in teaching and learning in 2018, has been named 2022-23 Elementary Bilingual Teacher of the Year by the Houston Independent School District. Castillo teaches third grade mathematics at Cornelius Elementary School. She was honored at a banquet in May.
Sergio Arjon, who earned an M.Ed. in curriculum and instruction – STEM education in 2019, was selected for the Texas Education Agency’s 2023-24 Teacher Leadership Fellowship. The yearlong program gives fellows the opportunity to inform education initiatives at the state level and grow their leadership skills. Arjon teaches biology at Shadow Creek High School in the Alvin Independent School District.
Charles Moore, who earned a M.Ed. in curriculum and instruction – reading and language arts education in 2020, has been named president of the Texas Council of Teachers of English Language Arts. His term began in February 2023 and will run through January 2024. Moore serves as a reading language arts curriculum specialist in the Dickinson Independent School District.
Laura Sandling, who earned an M.Ed. in curriculum and instruction – reading, language arts and literacy education in 2019, was named a 2023 Houston Area Alliance of Black School Educators Teacher of the Year. Sandling teaches dyslexia and reading intervention at Red Elementary STEM Magnet School in the Houston Independent School District.
Eastman Landry, who earned an M.Ed. in curriculum and instruction – teaching and teacher education in 2018, has been named 2023 Teacher of the Year at Kinder High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in the Houston Independent School District. Landry teaches physics and earth and space science at the school.
Mavenys Shavers, who earned a B.S. in teaching and learning in 2021, has been named 2022-23 Rookie Teacher of the Year at Seven Lakes Junior High School in Katy Independent School District. Shavers teachers reading/language arts at the school.
Erica Spiegel, who earned an M.Ed. in special populations in 2022, has been named the 2023 Teacher of the Year at Keith Elementary in Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District. Spiegel teaches math and science life skills at the school.
Mariana Flores, who earned a B.S. in teaching and learning in 2020, has been named 2022-23 Houston Area Association for Bilingual Educators Teacher of the Year at Bellfort Early Childhood Center in the Houston Independent School District. Flores teaches kindergarten at the school.
Yessica Castillo, who earned a B.S. in teaching and learning in 2018, has been named 2022-23 Houston Area Association for Bilingual Educators Teacher of the Year at Cornelius Elementary School in the Houston Independent School District. Castillo teaches third grade mathematics at the school. The finalists for the organization will be announced in April.
Andrea Jaime, who earned a B.S. in teaching and learning in 2020, has been named Teacher of the Year at Roosevelt Elementary School in the Houston Independent School District. Jaime, who has been accepted into the M.Ed. in administration and supervision program for fall 2023, teaches fifth grade science.
Emily Messa, senior associate vice chancellor and associate vice president for administration at UH, was appointed vice president for the National Association of College Auxiliary Services Foundation board. The organization is a professional trade association supporting the non-academic segment of higher education. Messa will work hand in hand with the organization’s board of directors to establish the foundation's goals and objectives. She earned a Ph.D. in educational psychology and individual differences in 2015.
Joana Idakwo-Agha, who earned an Ed.D. in professional leadership – special populations in 2022, has been elected Human Rights and Diversity Committee Chair for the Council for Exceptional Children’s Division on Career Development and Transition. She currently serves as a program specialist for adult transition services at Fort Bend Independent School District.
Candice Wilson-Stykes, who earned a Ph.D. in higher education in Dec. 2022, received the grand prize at the UH Graduate’s School’s Three-Minute Thesis Competition, held in November. Her thesis addressed communicating culture to students through email, and her research is set to be published in Strategic Enrollment Management Quarterly. Wilson-Stykes previously served as a graduate assistant for the UH Education Research Center, housed in the College of Education.
David Stroupe, who earned a M.Ed. in curriculum and instruction – science education in 2008, has authored the book “Growing and Sustaining Student-Centered Science Classrooms” (to be published in April 2023 by Harvard Education Press). Stroupe is an associate professor and director for STEM teacher education at Michigan State University and will transfer to the University of Utah in summer 2023.