Meet the Faculty

Marjorie Siegel

Marjorie is Co-Director of the Literacy Specialist program and Professor in the C&T Department.  She also serves as Department Chair.  

Marjorie’s classroom-based research aims to expand what counts as literacy and what matters in literacy education. Her exploration of new possibilities for literacy curriculum and teaching has focused on multimodal literacies, content area literacies (especially mathematics), and children’s lived experiences with mandated curricula. Her work has appeared in many professional journals, including Language Arts and Reading Research Quarterly. She is the co-author of Reading Counts:  Rethinking the Role of Reading in Mathematics Classrooms and Critical Thinking: A Semiotic Perspective.

Lucy Calkins

Lucy is a Robinson Professor of Children’s Literature and the Founding Director of Teachers College Reading and Writing Project.  She is Co-Director of the Literacy Specialist program.

Lucy’s research centers around the intersection of school reform, professional development and the teaching of reading and writing. She is the author of a score of books on reading and writing. She and her colleagues in the Project are currently helping approximately 1,000 schools across New York City and the nation lift the level of their literacy instruction. Her newest work involves assessment-based instruction and curriculum development in reading.

Maria Paula Ghiso

María Paula’s research focuses on the literacy learning of urban and immigrant students, with a particular focus on young children’s writing, responses to literature, and bilingual practices. She has scholarship published or accepted in professional journals such as Language Arts, Anthropology & Education, The NRC Yearbook, and Reading Research and Instruction. She has also co-authored a chapter in the upcoming Handbook of Children’s and Young Adult Literature. María Paula was a pre-school and dual language elementary teacher in New York City and has worked extensively with teachers in national and international professional development contexts.

Ellen Ellis

Ellen serves as the fieldwork coordinator for fulltime students.

Ellen taught in elementary classrooms for more than twenty years, working with Pre-K through fourth grade students.  She also worked as a literacy leader, staff developer, and University of Pennsylvania graduate level instructor.  She is a part-time staff member at the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project, and leads summer institutes on the teaching of reading and writing. Ellen received her BA in Education from Wake Forest University and her MA from Teachers College.  Her interests include emergent literacy, children’s literature, reading and writing instruction in the primary grades, and literacy leadership.

Mia Hood

Mia began her teaching career as a part of Teach For America’s Greater New Orleans corps.  She taught 1st grade for two years in New Orleans, after which she joined the faculty of KIPP TRUTH Academy in Dallas as the 5th grade English Language Arts teacher and established the workshop model across grade levels.   After completing her master’s degree in the Literacy Specialist program, she rejoined the KIPP TRUTH faculty as Dean of Instruction.  In 2010, Mia additionally served as Middle School ELA Community Leader by the KIPP Foundation.  In fall 2011, Mia began doctoral work in Curriculum and Teaching at Teachers College.

Bessie Dernikos

Bessie began her career teaching language arts within both elementary and secondary settings at a clinical diagnostic school in Miami, Florida.  She has also taught English as a second language to students of all ages in Athens, Greece.  Most recently, she has participated in two research studies examining emergent bilinguals’ engagement with multimodal literacy lessons specifically designed to tap into students’ linguistic, cultural, and experiential resources.  Bessie received her BA and MA in English from Brown University, and her MA in Reading from Teachers College. In the fall of 2010, she began her doctoral work in Curriculum and Teaching at Teachers College. 

Jodene Morrell

Jodene Morrell is a Senior Research Associate and affiliate of the Department of Curriculum and Teaching at TC. She directs the Literacy Teachers Initiative (LTI) Project, which partners with K-8 teachers in Harlem and Brooklyn to develop collaborative action research projects. Jodene has a Ph.D. in Curriculum, Teaching and Educational Policy with an emphasis in Literacy from Michigan State University and is the author of many book chapters and articles. Prior to teaching at the university, she was a middle school literacy specialist in Lansing, Michigan and taught elementary school in San Francisco and Los Angeles, California for many years.

Amy Fabrikant-Eagan

Amy Fabrikant-Eagan received her BA from Vassar College and MA from Teachers College. For over 25 years, Amy has worked with students and teachers as a classroom teacher and literacy leader, sharing her passion for Reading and Writing Workshop. Amy conducted an action research project with Middle School students on vocabulary instruction, which was featured in the book, Integrating Test Prep into Reading & Writing Workshops written by Nancy Jennison, published by Scholastic. Her most recent work, a picture book called When Kayla Was Kyle, honors the experience of gender non-conformity and strengthens anti-bias teaching in the classroom. Amy is a national speaker and LGBT safe school consultant.

Michael Gervais

Michael is a graduate of the Literacy Program at Teachers College and a first grade teacher at Community Roots Charter School in Brooklyn, NY.  At Community Roots, Michael is the co-founder and facilitator of Community Reads, a book club for families and staff, and he leads professional development sessions for K-5 teachers on topics surrounding diversity. In his spare time, Michael enjoys writing. His first children’s book, titled Barefoot Champion, is being released in 2014.

Kelly Carter Johnston

 Kelly is a second year doctoral student in the Department of Curriculum & Teaching at TC. Her research interests include out-of-school literacies and their impact on students’ in-school success, identity, and social positioning in and outside of school; the relationship between literacy practices and health and wellness; and the intersections between literacy, identity, culture, and social power. Kelly received her M.Ed. in Reading Education from Texas State University and her B.S. in Education from Baylor University. While pursuing her undergraduate degree, Kelly began leading students in various educational settings.  She then taught reading intervention in middle schools and served as a literacy coach.


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