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Dr. Laura Baker joined the faculty in the spring of 2009, after serving as an adjunct instructor in fall of 2008. She holds an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership and an M.Ed. in Special Education from the University of Maine at Orono. Her undergraduate work was done at Miami University where she received a B.S. of Education. Dr. Baker is a member of the Westfield Professional Development School Network, and is also Coordinator of Special Education for the Division of Graduate and Continuing Education.
Dr. Baker has taught students in regular and special education in grades from pre-school to graduate school. She was a Director of Special Education and a Principal for many years, and completed ten years as Executive Director and Head of School of Greenfield Center School in Greenfield, Massachusetts, the home of the Responsive Classroom. She has been very involved with progressive education organizations such as Lives in the Balance, The Coalition of Essential Schools, The North Dakota Study Group on Evaluation, and the National Association of Community and Restorative Justice. Most recently she published an article, with co-worker Terri Griffin, in The Academic Exchange Quarterly.
Dr. Baker lives with her partner, Bernie, and her two dogs. Her children are independent adults. She runs daily.
Dr. Sandra Berkowitz joined the day Education faculty in fall, 2003; however, she began teaching in the Division of Graduate and Continuing Education in 1989. She holds a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Minnesota, an M.A. in Early and Middle Childhood from The Ohio State University, and a B.A. in Elementary Education from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She has taught grades one-five in Massachusetts, Ohio and Minnesota.
Dr. Berkowitz currently serves as Chair of the Education Department, Elementary Education Program Coordinator, and Coordinator of the Reading Education M.Ed. program at WSU. She teaches courses in literacy education in the day and evening divisions and helps prepare candidates for the Massachusetts Test of Educator Licensure (MTEL) in Foundations of Reading. Dr. Berkowitz serves on the executive board and is past-president of the Massachusetts Association of College and University Reading Educators. She has published and presented in the fields of teaching reading in the content areas, rethinking training for pre-service teachers in literacy instruction, and the contemporary role of the reading specialist and coach.
Dr. Berkowitz’s interests include reading, kayaking, gardening, and attempting to play golf. She has two daughters, one granddaughter and she lives in Amherst with her husband, Eric.
Dr. Erold Bailey joined the Education faculty in fall 2012. He holds an Ed.D in Teacher Education and Curriculum Studies from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, a Master of Arts in Liberal Arts from Clark University, a B.Ed in Educational Administration from the University of the West Indies, and a Diploma in Teaching from The Mico University College, Jamaica.
Dr. Bailey teaches courses in curriculum studies and computer technology in education. His research focuses on postcolonial studies in education, diaspora studies, and teacher education. He has published and presented in these areas. Prior to coming to Westfield State, Dr. Bailey worked as lecturer and Field Experience and Assessment Coordinator at UMass Amherst. He also taught at Keene State College (adjunct), The Mico University College (tenured), and The University of the West Indies (adjunct). At the K-12 level, Dr. Bailey has taught grade 6 – 12.
Dr. Bailey enjoys traveling, painting, exploring the latest computer technology, and playing soccer and volleyball. He is married with two daughters.
Dr. Barbara (BJ) Goff joined the Westfield State Education faculty in 1998 and serves as Special Education Coordinator. She received her B.A. in Psychology from The State University of New York at Potsdam, an M.A. in Psychology from West Georgia College in Carrollton, Georgia and an Ed.D. in Policy, Planning and Administration from Boston University.
Dr. Goff is an internationally recognized expert and consultant on Prader-Willi syndrome. She serves as the National Prader-Willi Syndrome Association’s educational crisis consultant which necessitates frequent travel to schools and agencies throughout the US to provide education and consultation as well as to assess and mediate educational disputes. She also serves as a trainer and consultant for adult services throughout the US. Her career has included the development and administration of residential and vocational services for children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities in the non-profit sector. At WSU, Dr. Goff teaches courses in special education. She has a special passion for students with developmental disabilities.
Her favorite leisure time activities are theater, camping and travel with her family.
Dr. Terri M. Griffin joined the faculty in the Department of Education in the fall of 2009. She holds an Ed.D. in Human Development and Psychology, with a concentration in Language and Literacy, from Harvard University. She received an M.Ed. in Reading and Language from Harvard University, and a M.Ed. in Special Education from Westfield State University. Dr. Griffin graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst with bachelor degrees in both Psychology and Education.
Dr. Griffin has been an Early Childhood, Elementary, and Special Education teacher in both public and private schools and is a New York State licensed Reading Specialist. She has taught undergraduate and graduate courses at colleges in New York and Massachusetts. Dr. Griffin has published research in the area of language and literacy development and curriculum design at the postsecondary level. She is currently the Coordinator of the WSU undergraduate Early Childhood Program and a faculty liaison with the Westfield State University Professional Development Schools (WSUPDS).
Besides teaching, Dr. Griffin enjoys running, reading, and, most of all, spending time with her family.
Dr. Stephanie Grimaldi joined the faculty in Spring, 2009. She holds an Ed.D in Language, Literacy, and Developmental Studies from Boston University, an M.Ed in Reading and Literacy from Harvard's Graduate School of Education, and a B.S. in Finance from Lehigh University. She was a charter corps member of Teach For America.
Prior to coming to Westfield State University, Dr. Grimaldi was the Literacy Department Head for the Lexington, MA Public Schools. She has been a Title I Reading Teacher and a Reading Specialist in urban and suburban districts in the eastern part of the state, and taught fourth grade in the New York City Public Schools. Her interests include all areas of literacy acquisition, development, and instruction, particularly the use of technology to support and scaffold learning and the importance of vocabulary development in a child’s life.
Dr. Grimaldi has three children and enjoys spending time with them and extended family in the area.
Dr. Andrew Habana Hafner, has over two decades of experience in international and U.S. education as a bilingual/ESL/ELL teacher, teacher educator, curriculum developer, evaluator and researcher. He holds an Ed.D in Language, Literacy and Culture, and an M.Ed in International Education, both from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
Dr. Hafner worked with UMass Amherst’s ACCELA Alliance, a DOE-funded school-university partnership for urban K12 teachers pursuing graduate degrees in second language theory and critical classroom practice. He consulted for the National Council of La Raza to design and deliver national literacy institutes for K12 teachers and school leaders. He has evaluated federally-funded projects (NSF, NIH, NIEHS, DOE) in teacher professional development, youth afterschool programs, pipeline initiatives for underrepresented students in STEM. He has international development experience in English teacher training and environmental curriculum (US Peace Corps), and also in gender and equity in education projects (USAID). Dr. Hafner’s teaching and research interests in K-20 settings involve intersections of critical pedagogy, critical multicultural education, second language learning, multiliteracies, immigrant communities, hip hop and youth popular culture, and global consciousness. He aims to build Comm.Unity (=communication + unity = Comm.Unity).
Dr. Nitza M. Hidalgo, Professor of Education at Westfield State University, received her B.A. from Hunter College, City University of New York, and her Ed.M. and Ed.D. from Harvard University. She teaches in the areas of multicultural education, philosophy of education, and Latino studies. She is the past Director of the Westfield Professional Development School Network, a partnership between Westfield State University and five Westfield Public Elementary Schools. Among numerous articles, she is the editor of “Facing Racism in Education,” Harvard Educational Review. Her current research focuses on Latina Feminism.
Dr. Megan Kennedy joined the education faculty of Westfield State University in 2010. She earned her PhD in Curriculum and Instruction with a focus on Teacher Preparation from the University of Denver. Dr. Kennedy earned her initial elementary teacher licensure at Saint Mary’s College in South Bend, IN and her M.Ed. degree at Smith College in Northampton, MA. Before pursuing her PhD she was a sixth grade teacher in Southampton, MA at the William E. Norris Elementary School. While in Denver, she also spent two years as the Gifted and Talented facilitator at a k-8 charter school.
Dr. Kennedy teaches courses that focus on the interconnection between curriculum, instruction, assessment and content at the elementary and middle levels. Dr. Kennedy has also designed an elective course on Anti-Bullying Effective Practices and Interventions. In addition she teaches graduate courses in advanced pedagogy while serving as the Program Administrator for Graduate Education Programs. Dr. Kennedy is counselor for the Iota Iota Chapter of Kappa Delta Pi, the International Education Honor Society at WSU. Her current research interests include teacher identity in the classroom, creating inclusive spaces in schools and communities for LGBTQ youth, anti-bullying curriculum, and literature as a tool for creating socially just classrooms. Dr. Kennedy is a co-author of Safe Spaces: Making Schools and Communities Welcoming to LGBT Youth, Praeger Publishing, 2011.
Besides teaching, Megan loves reading, playing golf, and traveling to DC to visit her niece Kennedy and nephews Cullen and Charlie.
Dr. Tracy A. McLeod joined the Education Department in the fall of 2017.
She earned her Ph.D. in Teaching and Learning with a special education focus from the University of Miami at Coral Gables, Florida, a M.S. in Curriculum and Instruction K-8, a B.S. in Sociology/Criminology from University of Wisconsin at Whitewater, and a Diploma in Teaching from Bethlehem Moravian Teachers’ College in Jamaica.
Prior to coming to Westfield State University, Dr. McLeod was the Special Education Coordinator and an Assistant Professor at The Sage Colleges, Troy, NY. She has taught courses on effective practices in special education to special and general education majors and non-educational majors. Some of these courses focused on topics such as, Diagnosis and Assessment, Response to Intervention, Universal Design for Learning, Differentiated Instruction, IEP Development, Inclusive Models of Teaching, and School-Based and Family Partnerships.
Her research areas of interests are issues surrounding immigrant families, school-based and family partnership, disproportionality, multicultural education, and equities within the education system.
Dr. McLeod is native of Jamaica. Outside of academia, she loves traveling and exploring different cultures and foods. In addition to traveling, Dr. McLeod enjoys spending time with her family and friends, cooking, decorating, and attending both pro and college sports events.
Dr. Floris Wilma Ortiz-Marrero joined the faculty in the fall of 2012, after twenty two years of teaching ESL/SEI at the secondary level in public schools. She holds an Ed.D. in Language, Literacy and Culture from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst and an M.Ed. in Bilingual/Multicultural Education and Second Language Acquisition, from the same institution. Her undergraduate in Secondary Education with a minor in Biology is from the University of Puerto Rico. While doing her undergraduate work she attended the Technological Institute of Puerto Rico, where she earned an Associate Degree in Biomedical Engineering Technology.
Dr. Ortiz was the 2011 Massachusetts Teacher of The Year. From 2009-2012, she served as a clinical faculty member in the School of Education at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. At WSU, Dr. Ortiz teaches courses in Sheltered English Immersion and Learning and Assessment. She is the ELL Initiative Coordinator and Teacher Consultant for the Western Massachusetts Writing Project (WMWP). She co-designs and co-facilitates professional development for educators of ELLs, in addition, she co-leads ELL Summer Leadership Institutes for the WMWP. At the national level, she served as a grant reviewer for the National Writing Project ELL Network Leadership Team. She is board member of the Latino Scholarship Association (LSA) and Coming Together, an Amherst based committee. As a teacher leader she has presented at local, state and national conferences on sheltered English instructional practices and other issues regarding ELLs. She has co-authored two articles published in the National Council of Teachers of English journal. Among her educational policy experiences, Dr. Ortiz was involved in the Massachusetts Teacher Evaluation Task Force that helped craft the new Teacher Evaluation system and served on former Massachusetts Governor Duval Patrick’s Teacher Advisory Board. She is the recipient of various awards: the Antonia Pantojas Award (Latino Scholarship Association and Community Foundation of W Massachusetts), Latino Educational Excellence Award (Governor’s Office), Local Hero Award (Ronald McDonald House Charity), School of Education Star (UMass), Patricia F. Hunter Award (WMWP) and Sonia Wexler Award (Amherst-Pelham Regional Schools. She has worked on parent involvement initiatives, developed curriculum, supervised and mentored pre-service teachers.
Dr. Ortiz enjoys inspirational reading, meditation, exercise and family vacations.
Dr. James Martin-Rehrmann was appointed Assistant Professor of Education in Fall 1989 after receiving his Ph.D. in Reading Education with a minor in Statistics, Tests and Measurement from Syracuse University that same year. Prior to his study at Syracuse, he was a special education teacher in both public and private schools and he worked with adults with special needs in residential settings. His academic interests include literacy education, classroom level performance assessment, measurement, and state and national polices related to large-scale assessments in our public schools.
Dr. Martin-Rehrmann is professor and former Dean of Education at WSU. In addition to teaching responsibilities, he serves as assistant Coordinator for Assessment and Accreditation for Educator Preparation. Dr. Martin-Rehrmann recently coordinated a five-year (2007-2012) United States Department of Education professional development grant for six faculty members at Westfield State designed to improve English Language Learner (ELL) methodology taught in pre-service methods courses for teacher candidates. He is past president of the Massachusetts Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (MACTE) serving on the board from 2006 to 2014. He represented MACTE on the Educational Personnel Advisory Council (EPAC) from 2012 to 2014. Dr. Martin-Rehrmann has been a member of two Department of Elementary and Secondary Education task forces charged with making recommendations to the Commissioner: Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure (MTEL) Pass Rate Study Group (2007-2008); and the Massachusetts Advocates for Diversity in Education Task Force (2013-2014). Dr. Martin-Rehrmann was a consultant for several years on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) at Educational Testing Service in Princeton, NJ. He has also consulted with area school districts on both curriculum revision and utilization of large-scale assessment data.
Dr. Raker joined the Education Department in 1997. Dr. Raker received his Ed.D in Curriculum Studies/Instruction Technology from the University of Massachusetts, an M.S. in Education from Florida International University and a B.S. in Philosophy/Psychology from Union College. He is author and co-author of publications in educational computing. Dr. Raker is an instructor of our technology in education course as well as secondary coursework.
David is also interested in equality in the curriculum. He has performed research, and helped to develop curricula and promote reform in this area.
Dr. Raker is co-founder, along with Dr. Hidalgo, of the highly successful Westfield Professional Development Schools Network (WPDS). This network of the college and local elementary schools serves to foster collaborative relationships that benefit both spectrums of the educational process, as well as offer unique pre-practicum to practicum experiences for our teacher preparation program.
David enjoys traveling, and often finds himself in remote corners of the world.
Dr. Miriam Tager joined the Education faculty in the Fall 2015. She earned her PhD in Urban Education with a concentration in Early Childhood Education from the City University of New York (CUNY) Graduate Center. She received her MS in Early Childhood Education from Bank Street College and her B.A from Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York.
Prior to coming to WSU, Dr. Tager was a first grade teacher in the public schools in Brooklyn, NY and New Jersey. She was also a preschool director in New York City. Dr. Tager’s research interests include: critical pedagogy, challenging school readiness, early intervention, early childhood curriculum and anti-deficit pedagogical practices. Her new book, Challenging the Agenda of School Readiness, is forthcoming from Routledge.
Dr. Tager has a spouse and two girls (Ella and Lily) and a dog named Leo. She enjoys family time, reading mysteries, yoga, old movies and travel.