University of Vermont

Vice President for Human Resources, Diversity and Multicultural Affairs

Sonia Nieto Biography

Sonia NietoDr. Sonia Nieto is Professor Emerita of Language, Literacy, and Culture, School of Education, University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, she was educated in the New York City Public Schools. She attended St. John’s University, Brooklyn campus, where she received a B.S. in Elementary Education in 1965. Upon graduation, she attended New York University’s Graduate Program in Madrid, Spain, and received her MA in Spanish and Hispanic Literature in 1966. A junior high school teacher of English, Spanish, and ESL in Ocean Hiil/Brownsville, Brooklyn, in 1968 she took a job at P.S. 25 in the Bronx, the first fully bilingual school in the Northeast. Her first position in higher education was as an Instructor in the Department of Puerto Rican Studies in Brooklyn College, where she taught in a bilingual education teacher preparation program co-sponsored with the School of Education. Moving to Massachusetts with her family in 1975, she completed her doctoral studies in 1979 with specializations in curriculum studies, bilingual education, and multicultural education.

She has taught students at all levels from elementary through graduate school and she continues to speak and write on multicultural education, teacher preparation, the education of Latinos, and other culturally and linguistically diverse student populations. Her book Affirming Diversity: The Sociopolitical Context of Multicultural Education (5th ed, 2008, with co-author Patty Bode), is widely used in teacher preparation and inservice courses. Other books include The Light in Their Eyes: Creating Multicultural Learning Communities (1999, 2010), Language, Culture, and Teaching  (2002, 2010), What Keeps Teachers Going? (2003) and three edited volumes, Puerto Rican Students in U.S. Schools (2000), Why We Teach (2005), and Dear Paulo: Letters From Those Who Dare Teach (2008).She has received many awards for her advocacy and activism, including the 1997 Multicultural Educator of the Year Award from the National Association for Multicultural Education, an Annenberg Institute Senior Fellowship (1998-2000), the Outstanding Language Arts Educator of the Year from the National Council of Teachers of English (2005), the 2008 Social Justice in Education Award from the American Educational Research Association, and honorary doctorates from Lesley University (1999), Bridgewater State College (2004), DePaul University (2007), and Manhattanville College (2009).

Last modified October 21 2009 12:43 PM

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