College Roundup - University of Houston
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College Roundup A selection of faculty, staff, student and alumni happenings

January 2023

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 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.

Two professional leadership — literacy education doctoral students will present their research about the power of storytelling with justice-involved adolescents at the Texas Council of Teachers of English Language Arts conference in Denton in February. Elizabeth Norris is a principal at J.C. Montgomery School in the Kings County Juvenile Center in California. Michelle Wright is an elementary English and language arts assessment coordinator in the Fort Bend Independent School District. Wright earned an M.Ed. in curriculum and instruction — early childhood education in 2010 and a B.S. in teaching and learning in 2008 from the College.

Graduate student Georgina Castilleja received the 2023 Mercedes Bonner Leadership award from the Texas Council of Teachers of English Language Arts. Castilleja, who is pursuing an Ed.D. in professional leadership – literacy education, is currently founding principal of North East STEM Academy, a Raul Yzaguirre Schools for Success charter school. She previously served as principal at Clifton Middle School in Houston ISD. Castilleja earned an M.Ed. in curriculum and instruction from the College in 2013.

Doctoral student and alumna Esmeralda Valdez received the 2022 National Association of College Auxiliary Services Volunteer of the Year award. She also was appointed to both the South and National Board of Directors for the organization. Valdez, who’s pursuing a Ph.D. in higher education leadership and policy studies, serves as executive director of University Services at UH. She earned an M.Ed. in higher education from the College in 2013 and also has a B.B.A. in management from UH.

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.

Doctoral student Sarah Jerasa will join the faculty at Clemson University’s College of Education in fall 2023 where she will teach early childhood and elementary literacy education as an assistant professor in the Department of Education and Human Development. Jerasa plans to graduate in May with a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction – reading, language arts and literacy education. She previously worked as an elementary classroom teacher as well as a professional development creative writing coach with Writers In The Schools. 

Candice Wilson-Stykes, who earned a Ph.D. in higher education in December 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.

Michelle Waight a student in the principal certification program, has been named Teacher of the Year at Aragon Middle School in Cypress-Fairbanks ISD. Waight teaches seventh grade math at the school.

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.

Jennifer Chauvot, program director for the Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction and an associate professor of mathematics education, has been appointed president of the Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators of Texas. Her term began in September 2022 and will run through September 2024. Her goals are to work with the board and membership to seek out innovative ways to stay connected and to enhance the organization’s positions around advancing diversity, equity and inclusion in mathematics education.

Doctoral student Anita Sundrani has been accepted to the 2023 Community for Advancing Discovery Research in Education Fellows program. She will have the opportunity to participate in professional growth activities, learn more about National Science Foundation practices and work with researchers across the country. Sundrani is pursuing a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction – mathematics education.

December 2022

Two-time alum Armando Orduña has been named executive director of Latinos for Education, Texas. Orduña earned an Ed.D. in professional leadership – K-12 from the College in 2017 and earned a B.A. in Spanish from UH in 2002. He most recently served as the interim executive director.

John O’Hare has been named chief administrative officer for Boerne ISD north of San Antonio. He most recently served as executive director of secondary schools at Pflugerville ISD. He’s also worked in Clear Creek, Brazosport, Lake Travis and Pflugerville ISDs. O’Hare earned an Ed.D. in professional leadership – K-12 in 2012 and an education minor with a teaching certification in mathematics in 2001.

Alex Botelho, who earned a B.S. in teaching and learning in 2022, has been named 2022-23 Rookie Teacher of the Year at Carter Academy in Aldine ISD. Botelho, who teaches elementary music at the school, was recognized by the College of Education as a top graduate in spring 2022.

November 2022

Art Education Professor Sheng Kuan Chung won “best of show” for his acrylic painting, “Mirage,” at the 2022 Texas Art Education Association Annual Members Art Show in McAllen.

October 2022

Melissa Gallagher, an assistant professor and director of the mathematics education program, was accepted into the 2022-23 cohort of the National Science Foundation Quantitative Research Methods for STEM Education Scholars program. Gallagher will be paired with a quantitative research mentor for her project focusing on mathematics achievement among multilingual learners in elementary school; she plans to compare the growth of students in a two-way immersion school and those in traditional English as a second language schools.

Two faculty members received UH Alternative Textbook Incentive Program awards for 2022. Funds will go toward implementation of an open or alternative textbook in a future course:

  • Saira Rab, clinical assistant professor of human development and family sciences
  • Sissy Wong, associate professor of science education