Biographical Sketches of Planning Committee Members and Staff
Kenji Hakuta (Chair) is Lee J. Jacks professor of education at Stanford University. An experimental psycholinguist by training, he is best known for his work in the areas of bilingualism and the acquisition of English in immigrant students, and he is also active in education policy. Previously, he held appointments at Yale University and the University of California at Santa Cruz, and he helped start the University of California at Merced as its founding dean of social sciences, humanities and arts, on leave from Stanford. He currently serves on the board of the Educational Testing Service, and is vice chair of the board of the Spencer Foundation.
Donna Christian is president of the Center for Applied Linguistics in Washington, DC, where her work has focused on the role of language in education, including issues of second-language learning and dialect diversity. She serves as a board member for the International Research Foundation for English Language Education and for Senior Service America, and is a member of the advisory committee of the Hispanic Family Literacy Institute. She has taught linguistics and education courses for George Mason University, Georgetown University, the George Washington University, the University of California at Santa Cruz, and the University of Virginia.
Jill de Villiers is Sophia and Austin Smith professor in the Psychology Department and the Philosophy Department at Smith College and an adjunct professor at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Her
current research centers on how children learn about the language of mental events—verbs such as think, know, believe, want, intend—on how deaf children develop a representation of other minds, and how children acquire African American English. She serves as a consultant for Laureate Learning Systems, COST (a European Foundation project), and has authored a test (DELV) for Pearson, Inc.
Fred Genesee is a professor in the Psychology Department at McGill University. He has served as a board member and president of Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages, Inc., and as a consultant on second and foreign languages and bilingual education around the world, including in Estonia, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Russia, and Spain. His current research interests include language acquisition in preschool bilingual children and cross-language adopted children and in the language and academic development of at-risk students in bilingual programs.
Claude Goldenberg is a professor of education at Stanford University. Previously, he was executive director of the Center for Language Minority Education and Research in the College of Education at California State University at Long Beach. He has taught junior high school in San Antonio, Texas, and first grade in a bilingual elementary school in Los Angeles. His research focuses on literacy development and academic achievement among Latino children, home-school connections, and processes and dynamics of school change. He is coauthor, with Rhoda Coleman, of Promoting Academic Achievement Among English Learners: A Guide to the Research (2010, Corwin).
William Labov is a professor of linguistics and psychology and the director of the linguistics laboratory at the University of Pennsylvania. His research interests within sociolinguistics include the development of African American vernacular English, the effects of dialect differences on reading success, and the causes of increasing diversity among American dialects. He is a senior author of the remedial language arts program PORTALS, which is designed for struggling readers who are speakers of African American vernacular English. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Lynne Vernon-Feagans is William C. Friday distinguished professor of early childhood intervention and literacy and professor of psychology at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. She has a long-standing interest in young children at risk for school failure, particular interest in
children who live in poverty, children with learning or language disabilities and children with hearing loss due to otitis media (ear infections). Her teaching focuses on an ecological and contextual framework of learning that affect children at home, in childcare settings, at schools, and in the community.
Melissa Welch-Ross is a senior program officer at the National Research Council’s Center for Education in the Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education. Previously, she served as a special expert in research and policy analysis at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and as the developer and director of the Early Learning and School Readiness Research Program for the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development at the National Institutes of Health. She has held faculty appointments at George Mason University and Georgia State University in Atlanta.