Back to School 2020: FIU experts are available

Students in class wearing masks

As students set to return to school across the country and in many places in Florida, FIU’s experts in education, counseling education and school psychology are available to provide insights into the challenges facing school systems during the pandemic.

Teaching and Learning

Elizabeth D. Cramer, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Teaching and Learning
Elizabeth D. Cramer is a special education professor with expertise in teacher education, culturally and linguistically diverse students with disabilities and effective practices in urban special education. She is a past president of the Division of Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Exceptional Learners of the Council for Exceptional Children of the Florida Council for Exceptional Children. Her research focuses on preparing teachers to work with culturally and linguistically diverse students with disabilities in inclusive settings and the intersection of culture and disabilities. She has been a recipient of 12 federal grants totaling over $19 million. Her grants and publications aim to better prepare culturally and linguistically diverse special educators and academic leaders to be highly effective in educating all students in inclusive urban settings. This work is put into practice with close collaboration with Miami-Dade County Public Schools both on advisory boards and through funded collaborative research projects.

Daniela Fenu Foerch, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Department of Teaching and Learning
Daniela Fenu Foerch is an associate professor of early childhood education with expertise in pre- and in-service teacher education, innovative effective behavioral practices, emotional intelligence and emergent literacy. She has experience teaching face-to-face, hybrid, and fully online courses using different platforms. She is the former program director of the Early Childhood Fully Online Undergraduate Program. Her research focuses on the nurturing of emotional intelligence in young children. She is active in program and curriculum development. Foerch has presented her research to the local, national and international community and published several articles in the area of early childhood education. She has been awarded four grants accumulating over $3 million. She currently serves as the principal investigator for the WeFEEL and the RULER Programs at FIU.

Ryan W. Pontier, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Department of Teaching and Learning
Ryan W. Pontier is an assistant professor with expertise in bilingualism, biliteracy, bilingual education and teacher education. His research interests include authentic instructional practices for emergent bilingual learners, teacher education preparation for working with emergent bilingual learners and teachers’ language ideology. Pontier serves as an expert in bilingualism and bilingual education for the United Way of Miami Center for Excellence in Early Education, Immediate Past President of Miami-Dade TESOL and Bilingual Education Association, Member-at-Large for Sunshine State Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), Co-Chair of the Advocacy Committee for the Florida Association for Bilingual Education (FABE), Co-Chair for the Research and Evaluation Special Interest Group within the National Association for Bilingual Education (NABE), Co-Moderator of the Sunshine State TESOL advocacy group, Chair of the Early Childhood Bilingual Education Council for the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) Florida, and Co-Chair of the Government & Media Relations Committee for LULAC Florida. He recently won a Spencer Foundation Conference Grant to realize the Inaugural Conference on Emerging Hispanic-Serving School Districts. Pontier began his education career with Teach For America in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, where he taught 3rd grade in Spanish at a dual language elementary school one mile from the Rio Grande River.

Counseling and School Psychology

Maureen C. Kenny, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Counseling, Recreation and School Psychology
Maureen C. Kenny is trained as a clinical psychologist and spent the early part of her career working with abused children and their families. As part of a research team that examined the effects maltreatment and abuse had on children, she also worked to help these children heal from these traumatic experiences. Over time, she became involved in prevention efforts, first in the area of abuse reporting. Her efforts were spent educating mandated reporters of child abuse to identify, recognize and report abusive situations early so that intervention could be sought for the child, and healing could begin. With external funding from the Children’s Trust of Miami Dade County, she founded KLAS: Kids Learning About Safety, which provided safety education to preschoolers and their parents throughout Miami-Dade County. Presently, Kenny continues her efforts to educate the public and the university community about mandatory child abuse reporting roles.

Sandra Logan-McKibben, Ph.D., NCC, NCSC, BC-TMH
Assistant Professor, Department of Counseling, Recreation and School Psychology
Sandra Logan-McKibben is a Nationally Certified Counselor, Nationally Certified School Counselor, and Board Certified Telemental Health professional. She is the program director of the Counselor Education program at FIU, and serves as the School Counseling Track coordinator. Her expertise is in the areas of school counselor supervision and promoting comprehensive school counseling programs that address the academic, career, and social-emotional needs of all students. Currently, she is the chair of the Board of Directors for the Florida School Counselor Association.

Andy V. Pham, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Department of Counseling, Recreation and School Psychology
Andy V. Pham is a state and nationally certified school psychologist. His expertise includes diagnosis and treatment of learning disabilities, ADHD, autism and anxiety-related disorders. Pham has also conducted workshops for teachers and parents on promoting children’s social skills, organizational and study skills, and conflict resolution in school settings.