Diversity Toolkit Advisors

Activating, Encouraging, and Inspiring Teachers for Equity and Inclusion (AEITEI) Advisors

Most of these advisors were recommended by their College of Education Deans. All were selected because of their extraordinary contributions in activating, encouraging, and inspiring teachers who promote and advance equity and inclusion. These advisors will:

  • Provide ongoing feedback on the design, content, and functionality of the website
  • Review and advise on resources submitted to the website
  • Recommend potential bloggers and assist with reviews of blog submissions
  • Contribute content to the website
  • Encourage colleagues and students to use and contribute to the website

Aimee Nelson

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Director of the Center for Careers in Teaching, CSU Fullerton

Aimee Nelson has proudly supported prospective and current teachers in various capacities in higher education for the last ten years.  She is currently the Director of the Center for Careers in Teaching at California State University, Fullerton (CSUF).  In this role, Aimee oversees outreach, recruitment, advising and student support services for students pursuing in a career in education.  This position also allows her to represent CSUF and the Cal State University system in statewide and national efforts focused on issues of teacher recruitment and retention.  She represents CSUF (the only institution in California) on the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education’s (AACTE) Networked Improvement Community, an initiative created to investigate recruitment and retention strategies and challenges for African-American and Hispanic/Latino men.  She was awarded the 2016 California Teachers Association State Gold Award for her work as co-founder of the Cultivating Teacher Leaders program, a multi-tiered approach to mitigate the California teacher shortage.  Aimee is a Cal State Fullerton alumna, earning her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in psychology.

Calli Lewis Chiu

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Assistant Professor, CSU Fullerton

Dr. Calli Lewis Chiu was introduced to issues of power and privilege in the American educational system and in American society during her undergraduate program. These issues struck a proverbial chord with her, and soon, issues related to culturally responsive teaching and helping improve outcomes for marginalized populations became her passion. In 2015, Dr. Lewis Chiu completed her master’s degree in special education with an emphasis in multicultural issues, and in 2013, she completed her Ph.D in special education with an emphasis in emotional and behavioral disorders.

For 11 years Dr. Lewis Chiu taught in K-12 Title I schools whose populations were majority Latinx. Her current institution, California State University, Fullerton is a Hispanic Serving Institution, as was her previous institution, California State University, Bakersfield.

Dr. Lewis Chiu’s research agenda includes culturally responsive teaching practices. She is the lead author of manuscripts, which present information about culturally responsive teaching practices in Multicultural Perspectives and Beyond Behavior. In November of 2016, she was an invited presenter at the Diversity Symposium at the Teacher Educator Division of the Council for Exceptional Children’s annual conference. She is honored to serve on the Advisory Board for the CSU website Recruiting & Preparing Teachers for Diverse Classrooms.

Bre Evans-Santiago

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Assistant Professor, CSU Bakersfield

Dr. Bre Evans-Santiago is an Assistant Professor at CSU Bakersfield.  She received her Ed.D. with a focus on culturally sustaining pedagogy at Illinois State University in 2015. Dr. Evans-Santiago grew up in both California and Illinois.  She taught for 15 years in PK-8 in San Bernardino and La Cañada, CA, Washington D.C., and Bloomington, IL. Connecting with her intersecting identities, Dr. Evans-Santiago continues to research issues in education as they relate to underrepresented populations. She is also one of the key leaders with Kern Urban Teacher Residency as she worked with WestEd, SRI and the National Center for Teacher Residencies to evaluate teacher preparation and provide insight for CSUB’s Teacher Education Program through utilizing improvement science. Her current projects include LGBTQ issues in education at various levels, QPOC, and classroom management with a social justice lens. She presents her work nationally and throughout California for several programs and districts. She is a recently published author of an edited text titled, Mistakes We Have Made: Implications for Social Justice Educators (2020). Twitter: @drevanssantiago Website: https://sites.google.com/csub.edu/drevanssantiago/home


Amy Hanreddy

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Associate Professor, CSU Northridge

Amy Hanreddy is an associate professor in the Department of Special Education at California State University, Northridge (CSUN). She teaches about inclusive and collaborative practices that benefit all students, as well as specific approaches to serve students with significant support needs. Dr. Hanreddy is particularly interested in strategies that allow students with disabilities access to meaningful instruction in the context of general education settings, as well as culturally responsive approaches to inclusive education. Prior to joining the faculty at CSUN, she taught as a special education teacher in a traditional school district as well as at CHIME Charter School, an internationally recognized demonstration site for inclusive education, where she also served as the Director of Curriculum and Instruction and as the Interim Executive Director.  Dr. Hanreddy currently partners with the Los Angeles Unified School District and CHIME Institute, a partner school with the university, to support sustained implementation of inclusive practices.

Valerie Ooka Pang

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Professor, San Diego State University

Valerie Ooka Pang, former elementary teacher, is a professor in the School of Teacher Education at San Diego State University. Recently, Pang published " Diversity and Equity in the Classroom" (Cengage, 2018) and was series editor with E. Wayne Ross of Race, Ethnicity, and Education. She also was an editor of  Struggling To Be Heard: The Unmet Needs of Asian American Children  with L. Cheng (1998). As senior editor of an instructional text for the National Council for the Social Studies, The Human Impact of Natural Disasters: Issues for the Inquiry-Based Classroom,  she integrated global and human rights education. Pang has been a consultant for organizations such as Sesame Street, Fox Children’s Network, Family Communications (Producers of Mr. Rogers Neighborhood), and Scott Foresman. Pang was a Fellow for the Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University and Post-doc fellow of the National Academy/Spencer Foundation. Her areas of interest are teacher education, culturally relevant education, social studies, and Asian American and Pacific American education.

Shadi Roshandel

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Assistant Professor, CSU East Bay

Shadi Roshandel is an Assistant Professor at CSU East Bay in the Teacher Education Program.  Prior to her arrival at this campus, she was the Program Director of the Single Subject Program and Assessment Coordinator in the Department of Education at Dominican University of California.  Over the last seven years, she has worked with pre-service teachers, striving to teach pedagogical practices that emphasize equity and inclusivity.  She earned her Ph.D. in Education with an emphasis in Child and Adolescent Development from University of California, Santa Barbara.  Her research interests focus on adolescent motivation and achievement among middle and high school students and exploring the influences of teacher support on adolescent motivation and achievement.  She explores the transactional relationship between teachers and students and applies these findings to implement professional development programs in schools for both pre-service and in-service teachers.  Prior to her doctorate work, she was a middle school math teacher in New York City and received her M.S. in education at Brooklyn College and her B.A. in psychology from the University of Michigan. 

Pia Wong

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Associate Dean, CSU Sacramento

Pia Lindquist Wong, Ph.D. joined the College of Education at Sacramento State University in 1995. During her tenure as a faculty member, she taught courses in multicultural education, critical pedagogy and educational research. She served as the department chair for the Teaching Credentials Department from 2012-2015.  She currently serves as the Associate Dean for Research and Engagement. Dr. Wong has successfully secured over $8 million in external funding to support high quality urban teacher preparation; her awards include two Teacher Quality Partnership grants from the US Department of Education as well as funding from the California Department of Education and such foundations as the Stuart Foundation and the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation. Her research focuses on urban professional development schools, teacher practices in the context of urban school reform and democratic education, and democratic educational reforms in Brazil. A frequent speaker at national conferences, she has published Education and Democracy: Paulo Freire, Education Reform and Social Movements (1998) co-authored with Maria Pilar O’Cadiz and Carlos Alberto Torres, and numerous articles in journals such as Comparative Education Review, Teacher Education Quarterly, and Journal of Educational Policy. Dr. Wong received a B.A. with Honors in Latin American Studies and an M.A. in City Planning from the University of California, Berkeley, and a Ph.D. in International Development Education from Stanford University.  She is married to Bruce Griesenbeck, a transportation planner, and they are the proud parents of Riley Hui (22 years) and Emily Ming (20 years).

Andre Branch

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Associate Professor of Multicultural Education, San Diego State University

A tenured Associate Professor at San Diego State University, André José Branch earned the Ph.D. at the University of Washington (Seattle), the M.Ed. at North Carolina State University (Raleigh), and the B.A. at The King’s College (Briarcliff, New York). He has also studied at the Institute of Holy Land Studies, Jerusalem, Israel and at Oxford, England. Having taught all grades (K-12) in the United States, and secondary school in Nigeria, West Africa, Branch presently conducts research in Ethnic Identity Development. He is interested in the intersection of ethnicity, race, and education in public schools, and investigates how teacher educators can prepare pre-service teachers to use the ethnicity that children bring to school to teach subject matter content. Branch has created the four dimensional model of Ethnic Identity Exploration in Education to assist teacher educators and classroom teachers as they guide students in using established curricula to facilitate ethnic identity exploration. A conference speaker and workshop leader in valuing human diversity, Branch is a member of the American Educational Research Association (AERA) and the National Association for Multicultural Education (NAME). With the mission of inspiring middle school students of color to achieve academic excellence, and to become leaders in the profession of their choice anywhere in the world, Branch directs S.W.A.G. (Students With Academic Goals), a Career Breakfast Mentoring Program that connects middle school students with individuals in various career paths. Branch created and presently directs the GOLD (Guatemala Opportunities in Learning Across Distances) study abroad program, which takes SDSU students to Guatemala over spring break to teach elementary and school students math, science, literacy, and the English language.

Karina Figueroa-Ramirez

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Educational Equity Coordinator, CSU Sacramento

Before college, Karina Figueroa-Ramirez had never been in a class led by a Latinx teacher. When she became a teacher years later, many people assumed she either taught Spanish or kindergarten.

“What really made me think was when people would tell me I didn’t look like a teacher,” Figueroa-Ramirez said. “What does a teacher look like?”

Today, the three-time Sacramento State alumna is drawing on that experience at her alma mater, where she is the College of Education’s equity coordinator. Through her work, she plays a leading role in the College’s efforts to recruit, retain and graduate into the teaching profession first-generation, multi-cultural and multi-lingual students.

Figueroa-Ramirez’s primary job responsibility is advising students both within and outside the College of Education who might be considering teaching. When meeting with students, she works to learn and understand their academic and professional goals, so that she is better able to anticipate their questions and connect them to on- and off-campus resources.

She also oversees the College’s educational equity peer mentors and is heavily involved in campus outreach efforts, such as establishing and maintaining “Future Teacher Clubs” at local high schools and community colleges.

Cheryl Ordorica

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CME Grants Recruitment Coordinator/Advisor Chico State Enterprises CSU, Chico

Cheryl Ordorica currently works as a recruiter, advisor, and grants project assistant on innovative teacher residency programs for Chico State Enterprises. For the past five years, her work has been supported by a grant funded by the U.S. Department of Education titled, PRISMS (Promoting Rural Improvement in Secondary Mathematics & Science), and is currently supporting another Teacher Quality Partnership (TQP) Grant, Computational Literacy Across Secondary Settings (CLASS). Her expertise in teacher recruitment focuses on high-need subject areas and individuals with diverse backgrounds. She is a member of a research action cluster with the Mathematics Teacher Education Partnership (MTE-P) and has presented at national conferences on teacher recruitment for high schools. Cheryl has experience in advertising, digital marketing, website design, social media, and analytics. She is currently earning a Master’s degree in Higher Education Leadership and Public Policy at CSU, Sacramento. 

Colette Rabin

Colette Rabin
Professor of Multicultural Education, San Jose State University

Colette Rabin teaches in the joint credential/Masters teacher preparation program at San José State University. She teaches educational foundations, research methods, classroom management, health, special education and student teaching practicum courses. Prior to teaching graduate school, she taught grades kindergarten through middle school for twelve years. Her research interests are in care ethics, social justice, co-teaching, sustainability, and social and emotional learning. Colette has explored the nature of relationships in schools from multiple perspectives and how to create and sustain them from the perspective of an ethic of care as a conceptual schema. Recent publications include, “Co-Teaching: Collaborative and Caring Teacher Preparation,” in the Journal of Teacher Education, “Social Studies from a Care Ethics Perspective in an Elementary Classroom in Social Studies Research and Practice,” and “Don’t Throw the Rocks: Cultivating Care with a Pedagogy called Rocks-in-the-Basket” in the Journal of Research in Childhood Education

Fernando Rodriguez-Valls

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Associate Professor of Linguistically Responsive Education

Dr. Fernando Rodríguez-Valls is an Associate Professor at California State University, Fullerton. Dr. Rodríguez-Valls has created partnerships with school districts and local educational agencies to develop and implement community-based [bi/-multi]literacy programs. At CSUF, Ferran/Fernando coordinates the Bilingual Authorization Program and the World Languages Program. In this capacity, he recruits and prepares future educators to design, implement, and evaluate asset-based and heteroglossic practices. As a scholar, Dr. Rodríguez-Valls’ publications focus on equitable and linguistically inclusive methodologies for emergent bilingual, newcomer, and [im]migrant students as well as on the socio-cultural factors affecting their academic achievement, educational continuity and school engagement. Ferran/Fernando has directed and co-directs grant projects in which teacher candidates have the opportunity to create brave learning spaces where teaching overpowers instruction, where learning surpasses drilling, where languages conquer monolingualism, where critical thinking eradicates fanaticism and a fake sense of monoglossic and univocal identity.

Amanda Steiman

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Faculty, CalStateTEACH

Amanda Steiman has worked in education for the past 23 years as a teacher, instructional coach, consultant, and university faculty.  Currently, she is a faculty member at CalStateTEACH, a multiple subject teacher credential program.  She also works as a consultant, where her work focuses specifically on literacy and teacher growth, development, and evaluation.  Additionally, she is part of Los Angeles County Office of Education's (LACOE's) Early Learning Support Unit, supporting preschool and TK teachers and administrators.  Finally, Amanda serves as the as the qualitative data lead on projects for the UCLA Social Research Methodology Evaluation Group.  Amanda received her doctorate in education from UCLA’s Educational Leadership Program in 2006.

Dr. Robert Williams

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Associate Dean, San Francisco State University

Robert “Rob” Williams (he/him/his) joined San Francisco State University in 1999 as faculty member for the academic Department of Counseling in the College of Health and Social Sciences. After 18 years training future Marriage, Family and Child Counselors, Dr. Williams joined the Graduate College of Education as its Associate Dean. Dr. Williams is responsible for the college’s assessment cycle, accreditation processing, curriculum processing, and student services. A key feature of his work is the development of a comprehensive recruitment plan for the college to not only increase enrollment, but to ensure that allies and teachers of color are among our future teachers. Successful activities have included EduCorps, an Application Summit/Open House, and an event called Dia de la Familia. In addition to recruitment, Dr. Williams uses donor funds to provide free CSET subject matter subtest preparation workshops to Elementary, Secondary, and Education Specialist students who need the support. This effort especially and positively impacts students of color. His research focuses on identifying and embracing cultural characteristics in the African American community that protect adolescents from substance use and delinquency.

Dr. Daniel Soodjinda

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Associate Professor of Teacher Education and Liberal Studies, CSU Stanislaus

Dr. Daniel Soodjinda is currently an Associate Professor of Teacher Education and Liberal Studies and teaches in the areas of educational foundations, educational equity/social justice, instructional methods, assessment, and instructional technology. He anchors his curriculum in frameworks relating to justice, inclusion, and equity, and he designs his courses to support pre-service teacher candidates who will work in diverse school environments.  From a research perspective, Dr. Soodjinda has worked on research projects that have focused on the intersections between the racial, ethnic, gender, and sexual identities of LGBT students of color, and his work in this area has been disseminated in the Journal of Race, Ethnicity, and Education (REE) with an article titled, Invisible Asian Americans: the intersection of sexuality, race, and education among gay Asian Americans.

For the past four years, Dr. Soodjinda has also worked closely with California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CCTC), while serving on the California Teaching Performance Assessment (CalTPA) redesign and leadership team, and he has just launched a project that investigates how well the CalTPA functions from an asset-oriented framework that is grounded in equity. At CSU Stanislaus, Dr. Soodjinda also serves as co-chair to the “President’s Commission on Diversity and Inclusion” where he has taken the lead in developing, drafting, and implementing the institution’s first “Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan,” which will hold each facet of the university accountable to the principles of equity, justice, and inclusion.

Dr. Cristian Aquino-Sterling

Associate Professor and Associate Dean for Diversity and International Affairs, San Diego State University

Dr. Aquino-Sterling is currently engaged in two lines of research. The first examines 21st century innovations in language/bilingual teacher education theory, curriculum and pedagogies devised for preparing P-12 teachers capable of meeting the educational needs of minoritized linguistically diverse students across programmatic approaches (general/mainstream and bilingual/dual language). The second employs contemporary social theory and discourse analytic methods to understand the logics of “ideology critique” in advocacy and critical discourses of education emerging as resistance to neoliberal, hyper-capitalist, and post-truth dynamics. Dr. Aquino-Sterling is passionate about facilitating opportunities for prospective and current teachers across programmatic approaches to development knowledge, competencies, and dispositions where fostering human diversity is seen as vital for advancing relevant educational projects and more just world societies.