Monica Billen is a doctoral candidate in Literacy Studies at The University of Tennessee within the Theory and Practice in Teacher Education department. As a former elementary school teacher, her research interests include elementary literacy instruction, pre-service teacher development, and international literacy comparisons. She holds a B.S. in Elementary Education, an M.A. in Teacher Education, and a certificate in Evaluation, Statistics, and Measurement. Monica is a member of the International Reading Association, American Educational Research Association, and is co-president elect of the Smoky Mountain Reading Council. She teaches reading methodology courses, co-teaches teacher development courses, and mentors elementary interns. She is currently conducting a year-long study on the reflective development of intern teachers for her dissertation.
Christy Evans is a doctoral student in the Literacy Studies program at the University of Tennessee with a concentration in Reading. She has a B.S. in Multicultural Studies K-8, a M.S. in Reading Education, and an Ed.S. in Reading Education. She has a teaching license for Elementary Education K-8, English as a Second Language PreK-12, Early Childhood PreK-4, and Reading Specialist PreK-12. Christy is currently working as a K-4 English as a Second Language teacher. She is a member of Tennessee Teachers of Speakers of Other Languages, the International Reading Association, the National Education Association, and the National Council of Teachers of English.
Kim McCuiston is a PhD candidate in Literacy Studies at The University of Tennessee. Kim earned a B.A. in English with licensure from Maryville College in Maryville, Tennessee, and a M.A. from Tusculum College in Curriculum and Instruction. She has 13 years of experience teaching reading/language arts in middle schools. Kim’s research interests include factors that can influence reading motivation in students, effects of voluntary reading on student achievement, and effects of education policy on teacher attrition. Kim is a member of the International Reading Association, Literacy Research Association, and the National Council of Teachers of English.
Amanda Vining is a doctoral student in Literacy Studies at the University of Tennessee. She has a B.S. in Geography with minors in History, Elementary Education, and Secondary Education from the University of Tennessee. Also from UTK, Amanda gained an M.S. in Teacher Education. Her teaching experience is in the middle grades. Amanda taught 7th grade geography for several years before moving into 8th grade American history. Most recently, Amanda has worked as a 7th grade English language arts teacher and is currently the TOP Coach in charge of curriculum at Clinton Middle School in Clinton, TN. Amanda is a member and regular presenter at the National Council for the Social Studies. She is also a member of the International Reading Association. Her research interests include using children’s books in the middle school setting, student thinking, and questioning techniques used in the classroom.
Natalia Ward is a doctoral student in Literacy Studies at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. She earned her BA in English as a Foreign Language Education from Kaluga State Pedagogical University, Kaluga, Russia and her MS in English as a Second Language Education from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Natalia has taught ESL in an elementary school setting. Her research interests include bilingual and biliteracy practices, policy, equity in education, discursive psychology, and multiliteracies. Natalia is a member of the American Educational Research Association, the Literacy Research Association and TESOL International Association.