On Point e-Newsletter: June 2021

Past-Present-Future Picture

Message From the Dean: To the next 100 years!

We live in a world that is always changing around us. How we respond to that change can be frustrating and depressing or it can be energizing and transforming. Sometimes when change comes we simply conform to it and let it control us. Accepting whatever it brings can compromise our values and beliefs. We can lose our identity and focus. On the other hand, we can embrace change and adapt in ways that allow us to remain true to our values and beliefs. The only way we can survive change while retaining our identity is to be adaptable while maintaining focus on where we want to go. Strategies should change but our goals should remain.

This has been the story of the School of Education — using what we know and adapting to changes to explore the unknown. Through this exploration, we see growth, innovation, and creativity flourish. We find ways to pursue our goals better or differently (e.g., flexible learning) and we imagine whole new enterprises (e.g., new programs and new majors).

We have been adapting and innovating for decades. This year marks 100 years of the School of Education certifying teachers. That’s right, a whole century! A hundred years seems so long ago, an era distant and different from ours. We have definitely come a long way, growing and adapting along the way, and yet some things have remained the same. A hundred years ago the world was going through a pandemic. Sound familiar?

The best way to celebrate this milestone is to showcase our incredible students, past and present. As this academic year draws to an end, about 200 students will be graduating from our graduate and undergraduate programs. I would love to share stories of all our graduates over the past century, but that would not be practical. You will notice that this special issue includes a lot more stories than usual. Hopefully the handful of stories here will give you a glimpse of what becomes of our graduates. As the stories will attest, our graduates go on to make positive contributions to society in wonderful and different ways. You will meet a range of graduates, from someone who lived through the depression and two pandemics to someone yet to graduate.

As we look to the future, we remain anchored in our core values. We are unwavering in our commitment to support and care for all our students. We reaffirm our mission to equip our graduates to effectively serve all students through our commitment to cutting-edge research, inclusive excellence, high-quality teaching, and leadership development. We strive to be the beacon on the hill as we continue to grow in our efforts to “act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” For 100 years God has entrusted his children to us. We will continue to work to demonstrate that we are worthy of that trust.

Here’s to the next 100 years!

Blessings to you,

Nyaradzo MvududuNyaradzo Mvududu, Dean

School of Education


This year the SPU’s School of Education is proud to present seven graduating Martinez Fellowship candidates:

Lauren DeHerrera - AMAT-O/ History
Meigan Luong – AMAT-O/ Special Education, English Language Arts
Kelly Maravilla – MAT (2nd Year) / Special Education, Elementary Education
Vinh Nguyen – AMAT/ Health and Fitness
Shanae Nicholson – AMAT-O/ Elementary
Chi Ta – AMAT/ Elementary
Dalia Tovar – AMAT-O/ Special Education, Spanish

Along with other universities and education programs, we are committed to supporting leaders and teachers of color throughout Washington state. Increasing recruitment and retention of BIPOC (black, indigenous and people of color) educators will slowly make schools a less isolating and more hospitable place for these educators to work and learn. SPU was one of the first university partners of the Martinez Fellowship, founded in 2008 and now supported through the Technology Access Foundation (TAF).

In addition to financial awards, candidates are introduced to a network of socially just-minded educators, all learning together on topics framed by liberation pedagogy. The ultimate goal is to provide educators of color with tools and behaviors that help sustain inclusive and equitable spaces for all students at all times.

Current Martinez fellow Lauren DeHerrera describes how the fellowship is achieving this goal of nurturing and sustaining its fellows: “The Martinez Fellowship has provided me with a space to be with BIPOC colleagues who are inspired to bring liberation pedagogy to their schools, classrooms, and communities. Teachers and leaders of color play the most impactful role in dismantling systemic racism in our educational system, but that responsibility is a heavy task which cannot be accomplished alone. The Martinez Fellowship has brought me to a community that nourishes, energizes, and provides educators of color with the necessary tools in the fight for the liberation and empowerment of our students and each other.”

Fellows attend seminars where they meet and engage in discussions on various topics within the liberation pedagogy framework. This provides networking opportunities for new members. Candidates receive support during the first three years of teaching after graduating, with offerings such as site visits, network connections, and expert guidance from peer mentors. Kelly Maravilla notes how the community has been especially important during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“If I had to say one thing about the fellowship it would be the community. Moving from Illinois to Seattle for graduate school, it is hard to build a community of people, especially during these times. I'm thankful and appreciate the Martinez Fellowship for always checking in and making sure you are okay. They are always willing to help and answer any questions that you may have, whether it is about teaching, the Fellowship, or to just give advice.”

An additional benefit for Martinez Fellows is the relationship that TAF and the Fellowship staff enjoy with SPU. The program director and project manager gave a presentation at our School of Education Diversity Conference in March, thus extending the fellowship’s reach to the greater SPU community. Participants in the conference experienced a bit of what fellows receive. As Chi Ta writes, “I love my experience so far in the Martinez Fellowship program. I am so grateful to SPU and the fellowship for allowing me a space to meet people from all over Washington who share in the values of diversity and culture in our teaching and how to bring it alive. I have loved the opportunity to step out of my comfort zone to meet many Fellows who come from so many different ethnic backgrounds and how they have given back to their community of families and students. I am so appreciative of how everyone in the program has been so thoughtful and open to learning together and so accepting of all views. It is such an eye-opening experience to see how this Fellowship creates a foundation of trust, respect, and love.”

Read more about the Martinez Fellowship and SPU’s partnership.

Annie Group Photo

Annie Jameson was always interested in working with individuals with disabilities. In addition, Annie was also interested in opportunities to learn Spanish. Annie graduated from SPU in 2014 with a degree in special education, and she worked as a special education teacher for several years. While engaged in her work, Annie continued to dream about learning Spanish and supporting students with disabilities. After several thoughtful conversations with friends and educators, Annie decided to leave everything behind and go to Guatemala to work with adults with disabilities.

Edén is a social enterprise in Antigua, Guatemala, that was created in 2019 by a group of friends, both with and without disabilities. Edén facilitates opportunities for entrepreneurs to create all-natural wellness products using the best essential oils. Each Edén product is handcrafted by, and provides an accessible income to, a local entrepreneur with a disability. Edén prioritizes the individual strengths and abilities of each of the entrepreneurs so they can thrive in their work and succeed by building confidence and income. True wellness comes from body, mind, and community, and should be inclusive and accessible to everyone.

Each Edén entrepreneur creates, packages, and sells the products. They receive 100% of the proceeds and they reinvest a portion into the business, so each entrepreneur is also a part-owner of the project. They are breaking local stereotypes that negatively affect people with disabilities, and they are teaching their families and communities to see them with new eyes, for their full worth, potential, and individual contributions.

To follow Edén , go to: or

Ben photo 1

Benjamin F. Laughlin was born in July 1920 in a logging camp in Eufaula, Washington (near Longview). The camp was located a few miles north of the Columbia River. His parents both worked in the logging camp until they moved to Portland.

Ben lived in a large house in Portland with his sister, parents, grandparents, and extended family until he was 6 years old. His mother had two half-sisters who lived there, and they were in college in Monmouth preparing to become teachers. In 1926, Ben moved to St. Helens, Oregon, with his sister and parents. They lived in a small home for a while, and then his father had a large house built on a bluff overlooking the Columbia River. Ben attended grades 1–8 and two years of high school in St. Helens.

The Great Depression started three years later. Ben’s family rented out their large house and moved back to Portland. After he graduated from Washington High School, Ben studied at Northwestern School of Commerce in Portland for a year.

Ben was 19 years old when World War II started. He wanted to serve his country, so he enlisted in the U.S. Army Signal Corps in downtown Seattle. At the end of one year in Seattle, Ben was transferred to Adak, Alaska. He worked alongside others transmitting and receiving messages, some of which were urgent for the war effort. Ben returned to Seattle in December 1945.

By then his parents had a home in Wallingford and rented out a room to two young women who were students at SPU (then Seattle Pacific College). The students told Ben how much they enjoyed SPC, where classes were smaller and it was easier to know their professors. Ben started classes at SPC in September 1946.

Ben recalls choosing to eat his lunch in the auditorium because it was quiet. He remembers one day in the auditorium a few minutes before noon, when the building shook and he got up and ran out. It was an earthquake, which damaged one of the building chimneys on April 13, 1949.

Ben Photo 2

In July 1949, Ben graduated from SPC with a double major in French and psychology. A year later he earned his third major — music theory and literature.

Ben had a close friend who was a teacher who had graduated from SPC a few years earlier. His friend (who later became a principal) thought Ben would be successful teaching elementary students, and he encouraged Ben to try it. Shortly thereafter, Ben decided to pursue a degree in Education. Some of his classes were in Peterson Hall (now home to the School of Education), though the SPC library occupied most of the second floor.

Ben completed his student teaching at North Queen Anne School and Roosevelt High School. Throughout its history, North Queen Anne maintained a cooperative relationship with SPU. In October 1954, Ben earned a “Provisional General Certificate” from SPC which allowed him to teach any grades, 1–12.

Ben taught in Seattle Public Schools for over 30 years, beginning at Crown Hill Elementary in 1955. After a few years of teaching, Ben decided to pursue a master’s degree in Library Science at the University of Washington, taking part-time courses in the evenings and during the summer. After teaching at Crown Hill for seven years, Ben took a sabbatical for one year to complete his master’s degree.

After earning his master’s degree, Ben decided to teach at the secondary level, beginning at Mercer Middle School where he taught in the library. Two years later, when Ben learned the librarian at John Marshall Junior High was retiring, he applied for the position. Ben taught at John Marshall for three to four years and then transferred to Whitman Middle School. Whitman was his favorite of all the schools, and he taught there for 20 years before retiring.

Over the years, Ben traveled to many countries, including England, Spain, Switzerland, Germany, Italy, and Yugoslavia. Ben also enjoyed visiting Japan, Denmark, and China.

Ben’s first trip to Hong Kong was in 1963, and he returned to China at least four or five times. In the 1990s, a friend organized summer tours and Ben traveled with a small group, many of whom were retired teachers. After Ben had traveled around China, his friend encouraged him to seek out a teaching position there. When Ben heard about an opening at a college in Shanghai, he took it and for one year taught English literature, reading comprehension, grammar, and vocabulary. Ben was also in Hong Kong in 1997 during the handover when the United Kingdom returned sovereignty over the British Dependent Territory of Hong Kong to China.

Last July, Ben turned 100 years old. Many of his friends and family joined a Zoom birthday party to celebrate with him!

Zak Photo 1

Dr. Zak Palsha serves as the director of Al-Bayan International School (BIS) in Kuwait. He played a significant role in the transformation that has taken place there. He is extremely passionate about the work they do at BIS and the speed at which the transformation has occurred is a testament to that passion and commitment.

Zak arrived at the school in 2015 and the school was named Fawzia Sultan International School (FSIS). It was a school for Kuwaiti nationals only and served students with mild-to-moderate learning differences. These students were served in schools segregated from what might be termed a regular school setting. The school had been in financial trouble for over a decade. As a result, the board of directors decided to close the school. After an extensive study in 2016, the board of directors voted to revamp the school. The proposal included a new school name, a change in programming, and a change in clientele.

Zak photo 2

In 2017 the school name was changed to Al-Bayan International School, and it was the first inclusion school in Kuwait. The K–4 new program opened in 2018 with 25 different nationalities represented. Each year the school adds a grade level to their new program while the old program is being phased out. In the 2018–19 school year, BIS received AAIE membership and CIS membership, both of which are competitive international associations that typically require schools to be open for a minimum of three years. In 2019–20 the Public Authority of Disabled Affairs in Kuwait recognized the concept of “inclusion.” Now PADA has authorized other schools in Kuwait to be inclusive schools. Additionally, despite the obstacles with the pandemic, the school is currently involved in a self-study process with the Council of International Schools. They have their last visit in November 2021 in order to obtain International Accreditation, which, if accomplished, would be done in record speed.

Zak Photo 3

From 2017 until the current school year, the student population at BIS has tripled and it is now a true international school, with increasingly diverse nationalities. Transforming the school has led to a balanced budget for the new program, and the service to the community by offering a school that serves all students in the same class is commendable. Zak credits the success at Al-Bayan International School to the team, applauding their professionalism and ability to be flexible, inspirational, and “in the moment.” Although change has been accomplished in a short time, it has been done with the care and professionalism that is required to continue to grow and strive for greatness. According to Zak, “people in a variety of roles are given the flexibility to do their jobs but also the responsibility and accountability to achieve greatness. It sounds simple, but a lot of trust and faith goes into team leaders and the staff as a whole.” He is grateful for the support that he has received from the board of directors, which allowed him to do his job and allowed him to lead with his style and approach to get the most out of people. The relationship that he has with the board “has given [him] the confidence to actualize the vision in the best way that [he] sees fit.”

Zak Palsha graduated from Seattle Pacific University in 2017 with Executive Leadership credentials and an EdD.


Joneel Russell is currently finishing the Alternative Routes to Certification (ARC) program with an endorsement in elementary education. She is also the music and P.E. teacher of record for her school. Joneel brings 18 years of higher education teaching English as a second language to her classroom experience. This piece, in her own words, demonstrates her championing of teaching the whole child.

Our small rural school started the year in a hybrid model, with groups of four students attending for four hours each week. There was very little social interaction due to social distancing rules and the focus on academics. One new student made small notes to share with the three girls in her group after two weeks in this style of learning. These notes said, “Would you like to be my friend?” This was an “aha moment” for me as I realized we needed more focus on the social emotional health of our students. All of us were so worried about safety protocols and ensuring students completed their academic requirements that we never considered their needs to socialize and play. I took this to our school principal, and we immediately came up with ways to integrate social activities into our academic plan. For example, we added sit and stand getting-to-know-you activities, outside games like red light/green light and the “I Love” game (a version of musical chairs played on portable dots), and eventually we formulated a recess schedule in cohorts. It was amazing to see the change in the students as they went from timid, silent, unengaged learners to outgoing, talkative, and engaged members of a school community.

I knew we also needed to remain engaged with our families and communities. I started sending out sunshine letters to highlight different students from each grade in my PE class. These have been a highlight for students and parents. Winter and spring concerts are so important to the small rural community where I work, so I was very saddened that we could not do these this year. In 2019, I wrote and directed the elementary school winter concert. We also had an art contest for the cover of the program, and all entries were displayed at the entrance along with the contest winners. It was a wonderful opportunity to showcase our kids in their community. I cannot wait to do this again soon! 

Recently, I started a 5th grade “Kindness Initiative” to help discourage bullying and focus on being kind to others. We created a poster in the gym, and students get to sign their name each time they are “caught” doing something kind in PE. Parents are notified with an email or call when their child is recognized, and we make an announcement each morning with the names of students who displayed kindness the previous day. This is a great success! I hope to display our poster in the local grocery store at the end of the school year to share the students’ accomplishments with the community as well. Making Kindness Attractive.


Elizabeth Woods is a kindergarten teacher currently enrolled in the MAT program. She feels at home when she is working with kids. She is one of those dynamic teachers who makes learning fun. She loves to sing and play the ukulele with her students. Even in the remote learning setting, she managed to create the look and feel of the classroom community by transforming a nook area in her home.

From the beginning of her journey into the field of education, Elizabeth knew SPU was a good fit. At the back of her mind, she has always had an interest in teaching. She has a passion for working with kids and a love for music. After 16 years in marketing and media, it was a conversation with Director of Graduate Admissions Jason Chivers that finally propelled her to apply to the AMAT program. She later switched to the MAT program as it was a better fit for her schedule. She left the conversation “feeling inspired by what SPU had to offer.” 

Her first class in the program focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion. Elizabeth described it as an emotional journey that opened her heart and mind to the dimensions of diversity that characterize our student population. She left the class with definitions, language, and tools for growth, acknowledging implicit bias and the work that needs to be done. This kind of growth continued in each class she took.


Elizabeth has fully embraced the opportunities offered in the SOE. For example, she helped with the National Book Club put together by Kris Gritter, professor of curriculum and instruction. Delving into literacy work made such a mark on her that she will be pursuing her MEd in Literacy, Language, and Equity. It is evident that the knowledge and expertise of the faculty are invaluable. In Elizabeth’s experience she “can’t talk to someone at SPU and not leave inspired.”

What she enjoys about being in the MAT program is the collaborative effort and the attitude of “if this is not working, what can we do to make it work?” She feels heard and appreciates the recognition of her hard work and the opportunity to talk about that work inside and outside of class. The time spent connecting with her cohort and the SOE community they have built together is invaluable.

Elizabeth describes the SOE faculty as the “people inspiring and helping us to get where we need to go.” She has felt supported, and this has remained consistent even when we all had to shift in response to the pandemic. When Elizabeth was asked if she would recommend the program to others she answered in the affirmative, adding that when you leave the program you are not leaving with just a certificate. You leave with a foundation of social justice, the knowledge and tools to support every student, and a love of learning.

As she so aptly put it, we know she will continue to “embrace this meaningful work by offering students the same opportunities [she] experienced in the SOE including a positive culture of learning and a community based on strong relationships, oh and a little bit of music.”


Neil Shupe graduated from SPU in 2006 with a degree in Biology and a teaching certificate. He was recently named Teacher of the Year for St. Vrain Valley School District in Colorado. As a student at SPU, Neil struggled with test taking and almost failed to complete his teaching certificate because he struggled to pass the Praxis test. Neil attributes his ultimate success to faculty members who “took a chance on [him].” They advocated for him on multiple occasions, allowing him to stay in the education program and continue his student teaching. Neil said he vowed to make them proud and he is “extremely grateful that [he] had a great education and strong professors that were passionate about [him]!”

Dr Scott

In a unanimous decision, the school board selected Dr. Scott Mauk as the new superintendent of Chimacum School District. Scott previously served in the Edmonds School District and he served as an assistant principal/athletic director at South Whidbey High School. Scott completed his doctoral work at SPU in 2009 and his superintendent certification in 2019.


The Sedro-Woolley School District Board of Directors has appointed Miriam Mickelson as the new superintendent of Snohomish School District beginning July 1, 2021. Miriam grew up in the Philippines. Her story includes using education to overcome poverty and she hopes to inspire students to understand that furthering their lives with additional training and skills will help them fulfill the district’s mission. Miriam completed her principal (2009), superintendent (2012), and doctoral (2016) work at SPU.

Liz Buffington (a doctoral student) and colleagues (Park, C. D., Rohlinger, N. H., & Bodie, K) published an article “Turning on a Dime: Implications of an Unanticipated Shift to Online Learning of a Multicultural Service-Learning Course: Lessons and Insights for Higher Education Administrators and Instructors on Student-Centered Learning Opportunities” in the Journal of Higher Education Management.

Liz Ebersole (another doctoral student) and colleagues (Yi Jin, Dan Mourlam, Teresa Foulger) presented their work at the Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education (SITE) 2021 conference.

Ebersole, E., Mourlam, D., Jin, Y., Foulger, T., Mehdi, T., Ortega Iglesias, J.M., Blankenship, R., Bower, M., Miles, C., Polly, D. & Mouza, C. (2021). TPACK Wikipedia Page Re-Authorship by a Community of Scholars Symposium. In E. Langran & L. Archambault (Eds.), Proceedings of Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference (pp. 1575-1577). Online, United States: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE). Retrieved May 6, 2021 from

Jin, Y., Mourlam, D., Foulger, T. & Ebersole, E. (2021). Accessibility and Dissemination of Research. In E. Langran & L. Archambault (Eds.), Proceedings of Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference (pp. 1596-1601). Online, United States: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE). Retrieved May 6, 2021 from

Have a professional success to share? Send it to On Point at for publication in the “Alumni & Current Students Highlights” section of our next issue.


Faculty Recognition


Six SOE faculty members presented at the 41st Annual AILACTE Conference. David Denton led a breakout session entitled “The Effects of Reflection on Middle School Student Learning and Perception.” Kirsten Koetje led a session based on her dissertation work titled “Integrating Video Analysis as a High Impact Practice in Teacher Education” and with colleagues Nalline Baliram and Emily Huff co-led a breakout session using work done to support student learning in a virtual setting titled “Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) and Needs Assessment for K–12 Teaching.” Jill Heiney-Smith and Megan Hamshar presented together on “A Blueprint for Success: Curricular Differentiation for the Social-Emotional Wellbeing of Graduate Teacher Candidates” in a breakout session that drew from their experience implementing wellness plans into the teacher education curriculum at SPU.

John Bond and Kathi Weight had their article titled “Metacognition as a Mental Health Support Strategy for Students with Anxiety” published in the Journal of Education. This was based on Kathi’s dissertation research, for which John served as her committee chair.

Andrew Lumpe and Robin Henrikson had their article titled “Implementation of a Pilot Elementary Mathematics Specialist Endorsement Program” published in Education Sciences.

Robin Henrikson’s article titled “Reflections on School Board Evaluation Practices to Support Meaningful Feedback for Superintendent Growth and Improvement” was published in the Journal of Research on Leadership Education.

David Denton, Nalline Baliram, and Lara Cole had their article “Understanding why math and science teachers quit: Evidence of cognitive errors” published in the International Journal of Education in Mathematics, Science, and Technology (IJEMST).

Nalline Baliram and Robin Henrikson gave a presentation titled “Evaluation of Student Engagement in Online Learning Courses” at the Northwest Council for Computer Education (NCCE) conference.

Krystle Jalalian-Chursky gave a presentation titled “Family Experiences and Language Choices in Bilingual Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)” at the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) Virtual Live conference.

Munyi Shea along with her collaborator Joel Jin presented their intervention study “Everyday Mindfulness: A Pilot Study of a Mindfulness-Based Seminar to Promote Resilience Among First-Generation College Students” at the 2021 Annual Convention of Western Psychological Association.

Staff book recommendations

Sabrina and Corina by Kali Fajardo-Anstine
The Art of Leaving (Memoir) by Ayelet Tsabari
The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd
Traveling Mercies by Anne Lamott
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Blood Water Paint by Joy McCullough

Dr. Julie

Ten Things About Neurodiversity with Julie Antilla

1. The term neurodiversity describes variations in the human brain
Neurodiversity includes AD/HD and autism, among other brain differences. These variations are naturally occurring in humans. From a Christian perspective, we can affirm that all humans, neurodivergent and neurotypical are made in the imago Dei (the image of God).

2. Neurodiversity includes disabilities that can be viewed either through a medical model or a social model
The Office of Developmental Primary Care at the University of California, San Francisco aptly describes the differences between the two:

The medical model views disability as a defect within the individual. Disability is an aberration compared to normal traits and characteristics. In order to have a high quality of life, these defects must be cured, fixed, or completely eliminated.

The social model distinguishes between disabilities and impairments. Disabilities are restrictions imposed by society. Impairments are the effects of any given condition. The solution, according to this model, lies not in fixing the person, but in changing our society.

3. There are differing opinions about using identity-first or person-first language to describe neurodivergent individuals
A traditional preference from within educational circles has been to use person-first language (child with autism) in an attempt to recognize the humanity of the person described. However, in the autistic community, most people prefer identity-first language (autistic person) for two reasons: first, autism is a core part of one’s identity for autistic individuals, and second, if there is a need to point out that a person is fully human, there is an implied lack of recognizing the humanity of neurodivergent individuals to begin with and this is offensive to many autistic individuals.

4. Neurodiverse children grow up to be neurodiverse adults
You are most likely around neurodiverse adults whether you are aware of it or not. Recent estimates from the CDC indicate that 2.2% of American adults have autism.

5. Hyper-focus is a common strength in autistic individuals and those with ADHD
There are many workplace strengths that neurodivergent adults possess, but one of the greatest is the ability to intensely focus on a project or topic of interest. This deep concentration allows for extensive research, task engagement, and extraordinary knowledge of particular subjects.

6. Explicit communication aids neurodivergent individuals’ understanding
Discourse that is vague, filled with implications, or tacit expectations can be difficult to interpret and can make conversations stressful for those with neurodivergence. It is best to be clear, concise, and direct when speaking with neurodivergent individuals.

7. While some people think autistic individuals lack empathy, double empathy is more common
Double empathy is when neurodivergent and neurotypical individuals fail to understand each other. Laura DeThorne explains that “It’s not that autistic people lack empathy. Rather, their different neurotypes and experiences may make it harder for nonautisic people to understand them — and vice versa.”

8. Some people with ADHD have Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria
This bit of information makes it to this list of 10 because it is important to know in the workplace and in school and personal relationships. Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria (RSD) as described by William Dodson is “extreme emotional sensitivity and pain triggered by the perception that a person has been rejected or criticized by important people in their life. It may also be triggered by a sense of falling short — failing to meet their own high standards or others’ expectations.” A person with RSD might give up taking initiative or might become a people pleaser as a result of RSD.

9. Workplaces, by law, must provide reasonable accommodations
The Job Accommodation Network website lists many accommodations categorized by specific disabilities. Needed accommodations vary by individual. There is a traditional saying by Stephen Shore that applies here: “If you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism.” Some individuals require workplace accommodations at all times, some only at certain times, and some not at all.

10. Environmental stimuli can be distracting to neurodivergent individuals
Scans of neurotypical brains and neurodivergent brains show differences in the ability to prioritize some sensory input while filtering out others. Some neurodivergent individuals receive all simultaneous sensory input at the same level of intensity. This can be processed as an oversensitivity to light, sound, or touch and can impact the ability to listen or comprehend during times of sensory overstimulation.


Dr. Jomeline Balatayo and Dr. Wona Lee

EdTalks Series

On April 22, the School of Education hosted another installment of our EdTalks series event with a focus on long-term English language learners, dual language learners, and raciolinguistics. Our guest speakers, Jomeline Balatayo and Wona Lee, addressed the linguistic and academic demands of long-term English language learners and language proficiency as a notion of communicative competence.

Dr. Omo Moses

On May 6, our EdTalks dialogue event focused on building numeracy skills through community partnerships. Our guest speaker, Omo Moses, reflected on his experiences learning and teaching math and his experiences working with students, families, and teachers employing math skills as a catalyst for upliftment, liberation, and systemic change.

Dr. Sophia Rodriguez

In our last EdTalks event for the year on May 19, Dr. Sophia Rodriguez discussed how school-based personnel such as school social workers engage in equity work for immigrant students. She discussed how the U.S. policy context affects immigrant students’ educational experiences, mobility, and belonging, and she offered strategies for school-based personnel to promote equity and advocacy for immigrant students.

Virtual Event

In April, the School of Education hosted a virtual student exchange with our Japanese partner, Seirei Christopher University. More than 60 teacher education faculty and students from both institutions discussed life in their countries, academic programs preparing them to serve as teachers, and how they were coping with the pandemic.

In February some of our faculty attended the two-day virtual CCCU Conference on Faithful Leadership: Race, Politics and Evangelism in America. The conference was designed to equip individuals and teams to think critically about topics like critical race theory, Christian nationalism, and systemic racism, and how to move forward in truth and grace.

Together with Krida Wacana Christian University, our partner institution in Jakarta, Indonesia, SOE will be co-hosting the 2021 International Multidisciplinary Virtual Conference on Productivity & Sustainability on December 9 and 10. The conference will bring together experts, emerging researchers, and professionals in various disciplines — including science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), behavioral sciences and language studies, economics and business, medicine and health sciences — to share their investigation and interpretation of global issues and higher education practices. For further information, contact Munyi Shea (


Like you, we believe in our mission to engage the culture and change the world … starting in the classroom. That’s why SPU’s School of Education is always looking for new ways to help you connect with the future of education in our state and beyond. And there’s more than one way you can get involved. In fact, here are four ways to give.


Do you have news or know of any faculty, staff, or alumni that should be featured in the next issue? Please contact On Point at