All About Adolescent Literacy

All about adolescent literacy. Resources for parents and educators of kids in grades 4-12.
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AdLit.org's Research Advisors

AdLit.org is guided by an advisory panel made up of leading researchers and experts in the field of adolescent literacy.

Donald Deshler, Ph.D.

Dr. Deshler is the director of the Center for Research on Learning (CRL) and a professor in the School of Education at the University of Kansas. He is also a co-principal investigator with the National Research Center on Learning Disabilities (NRCLD). Dr. Deshler's work addresses ways to close the large "achievement gap" and to reduce the escalating drop-out rate for struggling adolescent learners. His work focuses on designing instructional routines that can be used by secondary teachers to help them more effectively teach subject-matter content to academically diverse classes in secondary schools. The work of CRL focuses on the validation of academic strategies for adolescents who struggle with becoming good readers, writers, and learners. Dr. Deshler serves as an advisor on adolescent achievement to several organizations, including the Carnegie Foundation, the National Governor's Association, the Alliance for Excellent Education, the Council on Families and Literacy, and the U.S. State Department. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the J.E. Wallace Wallin Award from the Council for Exceptional Children and the Learning Disabilities Association Award from the Learning Disabilities Association of America for outstanding research and service for at-risk populations.

Rafael Heller, Ph.D.

Rafael Heller has worked in education for 20 years as a writing teacher, researcher, and policy advocate. From 2005-2007, he directed the adolescent literacy work of the Alliance for Excellent Education and served on the steering committee of the National Adolescent Literacy Coalition. He has held positions at the Association of American Colleges and Universities, the Universidad San Francisco de Quito, and elsewhere. Heller has extensive experience in strategic communications, working as a contractor for leading education public relations firms Lipman Hearne and CommunicationWorks, and through his own firm, Blue Pencil Consulting. Heller earned his Ph.D in English and Education from the University of Michigan in 2002, and he also holds degrees from Oberlin College and the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Andrés Henríquez

Andrés Henríquez is Program Officer and Manager, Adolescent Literacy Project in Carnegie Corporation of New York’s national program where he oversees the Corporation’s Advancing Literacy initiative. Prior to joining the Corporation, Henríquez served as the Assistant Director for Strategic Planning, Center for Children and Technology (CCT) at the New York offices of the Education Development Center, Inc. He has also worked at the National Science Foundation (NSF) in Washington, D.C. as an Associate Program Director, responsible for monitoring the Network Infrastructure for Education and assisted with the Research in Education Policy and Practice program. He has served as a Research Coordinator at the Children’s Television Workshop and as a Senior Research Analyst at MTV Networks. Henríquez is also a certified teacher and taught for five years at a public elementary school in East Harlem.

Henríquez received his undergraduate degree from Hamilton College and a master degree from Teachers College, Columbia University. He is currently a Ph.D. candidate at the City University of New York Graduate Center.

Kathleen Leos

Kathleen Leos is the President and CEO of The Global Institute for Language and Literacy Development (GILD). The company provides professional expertise to state and district departments of education and higher education institutions to transform education into high-quality, integrated, comprehensive systems that ensure English Language Learners (ELLs) achieve academic success. Previously, Leos served for six years (2002-2007) as the Assistant Deputy Secretary and Director to the US Department of Education’s Office of English Language Acquisition (OELA). In that position, Ms. Leos was principal advisor to the U.S. Secretary of Education on all matters related to ELL students and developed regulations, policies and procedures to create a national education and accountability infrastructure for Limited English Proficient students.

Denise Ousley-Exum, Ph.D.

Dr. Denise Ousley-Exum is an assistant professor at the University of North Carolina Wilmington where she teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in secondary teacher education. A former high school English teacher, Dr. Ousley-Exum specializes in interdisciplinary teaching methods, alternative assessment, and young adult literature. Dr. Ousley-Exum's work been published in English Journal, Focus on Middle School, and Teaching and Teacher Education.