SAPLI Consultants


Nicole M. Joseph

Dr. Nicole M. Joseph is an assistant professor of Mathematics Education at Vanderbilt University. Overall, Dr. Joseph advances Inclusive Excellence research and practice around issues related to access, equity and achievement for underrepresented students. Her work focuses particularly on social justice for African American females in math education. In addition to her research, Dr. Joseph is strongly committed to teaching, employing transformative practice to co-construct deep learning experiences for her students. During her 2014 National Academy of Education Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship, she examined the origin and development of STEM education for Blacks attending historically Black colleges and universities during De jure segregation. She uses intersectionality to frame this work in order to illuminate problems and possibilities in the evolution of race work in STEM including structural, pedagogical, and environmental spaces—from both a historical and contemporary perspective.

Doris Luft Baker

Dr. Doris Luft Baker is currently an assistant professor at Southern Methodist University, and the chair of the Master in Bilingual Education and English as a Second Language committee. Her main research areas are: (a) developing effective vocabulary and reading interventions that improve academic outcomes for English learners (ELs) in Spanish and in English; (b) examining the validity and reliability of formative assessments to screen and progress monitor the performance of ELs in Spanish and in English; and (d) developing effective professional development modules for teachers, and workshops for parents to increase the quality of instruction and the academic parental support at home. Dr. Baker is currently the PI on an Institute of Education Sciences (IES) vocabulary grant designed to teach academic vocabulary to second grade Spanish English learners using an intelligent tutoring system. She has also been the PI or Co-Pi on other grants funded by IES, the National Science Foundation, the Oregon Child Development Coalition, the Knight Foundation, the University of Oregon, and Southern Methodist University. Dr. Baker has also provided professional development and consultation on the development of children’s vocabulary and reading skills to parents, teachers, and researchers in Chile, Argentina, Mexico, Spain, Finland, and Qatar. Her work has been published in the Journal of School Psychology, School Psychology Review, Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal, Teaching Exceptional Children, Exceptional Children, and Learning Disabilities Quarterly among others. Dr. Baker received her Ph.D. in Educational Leadership from the University of Oregon in 2007. She holds an M.S. in Latin American Studies from San Diego State University, and a B.S. in Psychology from the Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City. She was born in Brazil, and grew up in Colombia and Mexico. She is fluent in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and German. To learn more about Dr. Luft Baker’s research go to:

Elsa Cárdenas-Hagan

Dr. Elsa Cárdenas-Hagan is a Bilingual Speech Language Pathologist and a Certified Academic Language Therapist. She holds a doctorate degree in Curriculum and Instruction. She is the President of Valley Speech Language and Learning Center in Brownsville, Texas and is an Associate Research Professor for the Texas Institute for Measurement Evaluation and Statistics at the University of Houston. Dr. Cárdenas-Hagan research interests include the development of early reading assessments for Spanish-speaking students in addition to the development of reading interventions for bilingual students. She was the co-principal investigator of a longitudinal study funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the Institute for Education Science, examining the oracy and literacy development in English and Spanish of Spanish-speaking children. She is the Co-Founder of Brownsville READS! a nonprofit organization to promote literacy. Elsa currently serves as the Vice President of the International Dyslexia Association, Chairperson of the State Dyslexia Board and board member of the National Joint Committee on Learning Disabilities. She is a past board member of the National Academic Language Therapy Association. She has also authored curricular programs, book chapters, and journal articles related to oracy and literacy development for English language learners.

Lillian Durán

Dr. Lillian Durán has a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from the University of Minnesota and is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Special Education and Clinical Sciences at the University of Oregon. She holds a B.A. in Elementary Education from Antioch College and a M.A. in Education and Human Development from the George Washington University. Her research is focused on improving instructional and assessment practices with preschool-aged dual language learners (DLLs). She is currently a Co-Principal Investigator on an IES Goal 5 measurement grant to develop a Spanish version of the Individual Growth and Development Indicators (S-IGDIs) an early language and literacy general outcome measure for screening and progress monitoring in preschool. Dr. Durán frequently delivers presentations nationally on the topic of recommended practices in assessment and intervention with young DLLs with and without identified disabilities. Prior to Dr. Durán’s work in higher education she worked for 9 years as an early childhood special education teacher both in Prince George’s County, Maryland and in rural south central Minnesota.