DeRicci in Summer

Meet Your Faculty and Directors

All programs in the School of Education at Edgewood College are offered within the context of a liberal arts educational framework and in keeping with the Dominican values of truth, compassion, justice, partnership and community. We invite you to learn about our faculty and directors here and, better yet, to contact them if you have questions or wish to get to know them.


Timothy Slekar, Ph.D.  
PhD: University of Maryland-College Park

Timothy D. Slekar is the Dean of the School of Education. He began his career in education as a second grade teacher in Williamsburg, VA and later taught fifth grade in York, PA. He attended the University of Maryland at College Park where he earned his Ph. D. in social studies education. During his studies, Dr. Slekar worked with seventh and eighth grade teachers in the city of Baltimore. He has published his research in some of the top educational research journals including Teacher Education Quarterly, Theory and Research in Social Education, and the Journal of Thought. Prior to coming Edgewood College, Dr. Slekar was at Pennsylvania State Altoona for ten years where he was responsible for building an elementary education program and leading the Division of Education, Human Development and Social Sciences. His wife, Michelle, is the CEO of the Slekar household. She and he are the parents of Luke and Lacey.

Associate Deans, Directors and Faculty Members

Sara Jimenez Soffa, Ph.D.
Associate Dean

PhD: University of Wisconsin-Madison
Teaches: ED 701: Introduction to the Doctoral Program
ED 801: Foundations of Research Methods
ED 830: Research Design and Methodology
ED 910: Dissertation Preparation Seminar
ED 920: Dissertation Writing
ED 930: Dissertation Defense

Sara Jimenez Soffa is the Director of Research for the Edgewood College Ed.D. program. She holds a Bachelors Degree in Psychology from Ripon College, a Master’s Degree in Instructional Design and Adult Education from Alverno College, and a Ph.D. from UW-Madison in Educational Leadership specializing in higher education administration. Sara is an accomplished researcher specializing in research design, data analysis, and outcomes-based assessment. Sara began her work in the doctoral program as the Coordinator for the Higher Education concentration of the program. Since 2010, Sara has been the Director of Research responsible for developing and teaching the research sequence of the program, both in blended and online formats. Her research interests include exploring research self-efficacy in students navigating the doctoral experience, cultivating inclusive collegiate classrooms through the implementation of multicultural pedagogical approaches to teaching and learning, and exploring features of quality graduate programs that prepare leaders in all educational settings (PreK-20). Outside of the classroom, Sara lives in Madison with her husband Gerardo and three beautiful boys, and is a fitness enthusiast who enjoys running marathons and triathlons. She believes by modeling her commitment and enthusiasm for education, her boys will become lifelong learners as well.

Julie Luecke, Ph.D.
Associate Professor

PhD: University of Wisconsin-Madison

Julie C. Luecke is an Associate Professor and Associate Dean of Graduate Programs in the School of Education. She received her BS in Elementary Education from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, her M.Ed. in Curriculum from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and her Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She was an elementary classroom teacher for nine years before moving into higher education. During her graduate studies, she took a year off to volunteer at Ongwediva College of Education in Namibia, and joined the Edgewood faculty in 2006. She teaches undergraduate courses in educational foundations, courses in children's literature for the undergraduate program and Advanced Certification Elementary (ACE) graduate program, and a course for the Edgewood College COR program, The Conception of Gender. This class grows out of Julie's research interests in building support structures for gender creative students and their peers, both through educational policy and practice and through children's and young adult literature.

Dana Hagerman, Ph.D.
Associate Professor

PhD: UW-Madison Curriculum and Instruction with Literacy Emphasis
Teaches: ED 201: Teacher as Inquirer
ED 435: Literacy I
ED 436: Literacy II
ED 624: Reading Diagnosis and Intervention
ED 683A: Literacy I (ACE Program)
ED 683B: Literacy II (ACE Program) 608-663-3259

Dana Hagerman is an Assistant Professor and Associate Dean of Undergraduate Programs in the School of Education. She earned her PhD from the University of Wisconsin- Madison in December of 2013 from the Department of Curriculum and Instruction. Her research interests include early language and literacy practices, teacher education, and teaching literacy with a social justice emphasis. Her dissertation is a longitudinal case study of a Nepali immigrant student’s language and literacy learning that spans across three years of data collection. Dana also serves on a task force for the Department of Public Instruction for the edTPA Teacher Performance Assessment.

Annette Hemmings, Ph.D.

PhD: University of Wisconsin-Madison
Teaches: ED 603: Introduction to Educational Research
ED 692: Research Capstone Project

Annette Hemmings is a Professor and Director of the Professional Studies Program in the School of Education. Before joining the Edgewood College faculty in 2011, Dr. Hemmings was a professor and researcher at the University of Cincinnati where she conducted several studies in public high schools on adolescent coming of age processes, teachers’ classroom authority, urban high school reform and other topics. She has numerous publications including refereed journal articles, adjudicated book chapters, and a co-edited book entitled Classroom Authority: Theory, Research and Practice.  Dr. Hemmings also wrote two other books entitled Coming of Age in U.S. High Schools: Economic, Kinship, Religious, and Political Crosscurrents  and Urban Public High Schools: Foundations and Possibilities.

Gerardo Mancilla, Ph.D.
Director of Education Administration and Leadership
PhD: University of Wisconsin-Madison
Teaches: ED 201 Teacher as Inquirer
ED 601 Foundations of Instruction
ED 602 Curriculum Planning
ED 668 Introduction to U.S. schools
(608) 663-3329

Gerardo Mancilla is the Director of Education Administration and Leadership in the School of Education. Prior to working at Edgewood College, Gerardo was working for the Madison Metropolitan School District where he was a Dual Language Immersion teacher at Cherokee Heights Middle School.  Gerardo teaches both undergraduate and graduate courses at Edgewood College. Gerardo’s research interests include Critical Race Theory, LatCrit, the school-to-prison pipeline, bilingual education, and immigration.  Gerardo has also been active in the Madison community for many years.

Cynthia Perry, Ed.D.
Associate Professor

Teaches:  ED 306: Exceptional Children and Youth
ED 425: Methods: Reading/Language Arts
ED 635: Diversity in the Classroom
ED 681: Child Development

Cynthia Perry is an Associate Professor in the School of Education. She teaches undergraduate special education and methods courses and graduate-level courses for the Advanced Certification Elementary (ACE) program. Dr. Perry has served as a consultant for home-school teachers and provided staff, curriculum, instructional and assessment development for teachers of special needs children. Additionally, she has spoken to women throughout the country at churches, women's ministry conferences, and other venues on such subjects as ministry, training and development of teachers and parents of special needs children, and spiritual growth. She also speaks, along with her husband, Dwight, at Becoming One, their increasingly popular national conference on marriage. She has written in such areas as prayer, women's ministry, and special education. Her chapter, "Kids in Constant Motion: How Can the Church Work More Effectively with Children with ADD/ADHD," in Building Unity in the Church in the New Millennium (Moody Press), is a landmark work in the area of the church reaching out to those with special needs

Donna Vukelich-Selva, Ph.D.
Associate Professor

PhD: University of Wisconsin-Madison
Teaches:   ED 330 Teaching and Learning
ED 383 Literature for Adolescents and Young Adults
ED 605B Issues in Bilingual/Bicultural Education: Paradigms of Multicultural Education
ED 605F Paradigms of ESL/Bilingual Education (Language Arts/Social Studies) [predominantly online]
ETHS 150B Rethinking the Border: Racial Fault Lines in the History of US Immigration [COR1]
ED 200 / 201 608-663-3235

Donna Vukelich-Selva is an Associate Professor in the School of Education. Before she began teaching at Edgewood College, Dr. Vukelich-Selva founded and ran a study abroad program for US college students in Nicaragua, and taught at a K-12 bilingual school in Managua, Nicaragua. Donna teaches both undergraduate courses in the School of Education, as well as graduate courses in the CTELL/TESOL program. She also teaches in Edgewood’s COR program for freshman students, offering a course on the history of immigration in the United States that is cross-listed with Ethnic Studies. Among her college responsibilities, Donna serves on the advisory board for Edgewood’s Center for Multicultural Education. Donna’s research interests include critical race theory, education and immigration, bilingual education and restorative justice. She has been active in the Madison community for many years.

Jesslyn Hollar, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Director of Accelerated Secondary Education Program (ASP)

PhD: University of Washington
ED 200 Education in a Pluralistic Society
ED 402 The Reflective Practitioner
ED 660B Reflection in Practice
ED 660A Education Policy and the Reflective Practitioner
ED 601A Foundations of Instruction

Jesslyn Hollar is an Assistant Professor and Program Director of the Accelerated Secondary Education Program (ASP) in the School of Education. She teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in the School of Education. Prior to working at Edgewood College, Jesslyn directed an Alternative Pathways to Teaching program at Central Washington University. She also taught secondary English at James Madison Memorial High School and Operation Fresh Start in Madison. Jesslyn’s research interests include place-based and community-driven teacher education, democratic schooling and processes of knowledge mobilization in educational policymaking.

Sharon Besser, PhD
Associate Professor
Ph.D.: University of California at Berkeley
Teaches: ED 435 Literacy I and ED 436 Literacy 2
ED 624 Reading Diagnosis and Intervention
ED 605A: Applied Linguistics

Sharon Besser is an Assistant Professor in the School of Education specializing in literacy and language development. She teaches graduate courses in the Reading Program and undergraduate classes in literacy methodology. Her teaching explores ways to integrate language learning and literacy development.  This focus grew out of her teaching both in the US and overseas.  She taught middle school in San Francisco and third grade in Hong Kong.  She earned her Ph.D. in 2002 from the University of California at Berkeley.  Prior to coming to Edgewood, Dr. Besser was an instructor at the Hong Kong Institute of Education where she taught Hong Kong teachers how to teach English literacy development in a foreign language context.  Her research is grounded in sociocultural theory and systemic functional linguistics.  Particular areas of interests are boys' literacy development and applications of genre pedagogy in the elementary classroom

Talonda Lipsey, PhD
Assistant Professor

Ph.D.: University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Teaches: ED 200 Education and Identity in a Pluralistic Society
 ED 201 Teacher as Inquirer I  

Talonda Lipsey earned her doctorate in Urban Education at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.  She was a student and teacher in Milwaukee public schools and as an Assistant Professor at Edgewood brings a strong commitment to preparing K-12 teachers able to guide, support and advocate for students.  Her dissertation is a qualitative case study on teachers' identities, ideologies and commitment to teaching in urban and suburban schools.

Frances M. Johnson, M.S.
M.S.: University of Wisconsin-Madison
Teaches:  ED 625 Inclusive School Law (PK-12 & Higher Education) Education Leadership Program
ED 635B Diversity in Education Mid/Secondary Schools: Culturally Responsive Practices (Accelerated Secondary Program)
ED 660A Education Policy Seminar & edTPA (Accelerated Secondary Program)
ED 675 Diagnosis of Specific Learning Disabilities (Special Education) 608-663-3417

Fran Johnson is the Director of the Accelerated Secondary Program and Cross-categorical Special Education Program. She earned her Master’s from the University of Wisconsin Madison Department of Rehabilitation Psychology and Special Education while teaching in the Madison Metropolitan School District where she served as a Special Education teacher, Program Support Teacher, and Positive Behavior Support Team Middle School Teacher. Fran was an investigator on several Federal Grants, designed and implemented administrator and faculty staff development on K-12 Language Arts Standards, changes in IDEA (1991,1997,2001 & 2004) and developed and taught multiple Professional Development courses for general educators and special educators. During her public school career, Fran served as Cooperating Teacher, Teacher Trainer and Supervising Teacher to many students and teachers. In addition to her work at Edgewood, Fran serves as a trainer and consultant in the area of Positive Behavior Supports for area school districts. Current research focus is on Brain Targeted Teaching, Executive Function Strategy Instruction, and Culturally Responsive Teaching Practices.

Katie Glass, M.Ed, CCLS
MEd:  Norwich University
Teaches:  ED 301 Introduction to Child Life
ED 360 Medical Terminology for Child Life
ED 370 Psychosocial Care of the Hospitalized Child/Adolescent
ED 372 Child Life Material and Methods
ED 375 Pediatric Conditions
ED 376 Crisis Intervention
ED 475 Child Life Internship
Faculty Advisor of Edgewood College student Child Life Association 608-663-4433

Katie Glass, an Edgewood graduate, is the Director of the Child Life Program. She has been apart of the Edgewood College faculty since 2008. She is Certified Child Life Specialist and has practiced clinically both at the Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth in Lebanon, New Hampshire and the American Family Children’s Hospital in Madison, WI. She is an active member of the Child Life Council and sits on multiple national committees promoting the profession and national academic standards. Katie has created several liaison programs which provide actual experience within the Child Life Program for students at American Family Children’s Hospital in Madison as well as various community health organizations.

Lisa Carey, MEd
MEd: Loyola University 608-663-6718

Lisa Carey is the Director of the Advanced Certification Elementary program. She holds a BS in Elementary Education which she earned at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Master of Education in Instructional Leadership from Loyola University. She teaches social studies methods courses and other courses for graduate and undergraduate education programs.

Emily Evans Fanaeian, PhD
Interim Director of TESOL/Bilingual Programs
Ph.D. (Curriculum and Instruction) - University of Wisconsin-Madison
ED 604A: Second Language Acquisition
ED 604F ESL Curriculum Design and Assessment
ED 604G Bilingual Curriculum Design and Assessment
ED 605A: Language for Teachers I
ED 605B Paradigms of ESL/Bilingual Education
ED 686 Genre, Knowledge, and Pedagogy

Emily Evans Fanaeian is the Interim Director of the TESOL and Bilingual Education Programs. She earned her Ph.D. at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2018, focusing on Teacher Education and ESL. She is certified to teach K-6, Spanish K-12, and English as a Second Language (K-12 and Adults). After teaching language learners for several years in PA and VA, she began working in the field of educational research, first at the Center for Applied Linguistics in Washington DC and later with WIDA in Madison Wisconsin. Dr. Evans Fanaeian has taught and supervised teacher candidates in multiple states, at both the Elementary and Secondary level, as well as offered mentoring and coaching to experienced educators taking graduate coursework or professional development offerings. Her research focuses on the intersection of language policies and teacher education, particularly with regards to the preparation of mainstream classroom teachers to serve ELs. Additional areas of interest include: language assessment, practice-based research, and issues related to clinical practice.

Tom Holub, Ph.D.

Teaches: ED 306: Exceptional Children and Youth
ED 614: Cross-categorical Children and Youth
ED 671A: Introduction to Cognitive, Emotional and Learning Disabilities
ED 616: Cross-categorical Transitions

Tom Holub is a professor in the School of Education.  He routinely teaches Education 306, 614, 671A, and 616. Dr. Holub facilitates the partnership with Cabrini Green, in Chicago, IL and hosts two WDPI grants at Edgewood. Tom recently returned from a visiting scholar experience at the U.S Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC and is interested in patterns of oppression toward individuals with disabilities.