Photo of Jill M. Leafstedt

Jill M. Leafstedt

Associate Professor, Education

Contact Information

Biography

Jill Leafstedt received both her undergraduate degree in psychology and her Ph.D. in Education with an emphasis in special education, disability and risk studies and an interdisciplinary emphasis in Cognitive Science at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Between degree programs she worked as a special education teacher. In this position she was an inclusion specialist and a special day class teacher. However, her favorite teaching experience was teaching first grade in Guatemala. Dr. Leafstedt’s expertise in education rests in issues of early reading development for bilingual and monolingual students, instructional methods for teaching at-risk students and teacher education for special education teachers. Her specific research and teaching interests build directly from her K-12 teaching experiences. She has always been intrigued by how students learn or fail to learn, specifically students who are learning in a second language. She is presently working on a project in a low-income school examining how reading development occurs for Spanish-speaking Kindergarteners and how this development is effected by differentiated instruction. In addition to reading, she is interested in examining how teachers learn to teach and what methods effect teacher change. To this end she is working with a team to develop online training modules to train teachers. Specifically, she is developing a module designed to teach teachers how to use differentiated instruction with English Learners.