Dr. Carrie Symons is the Executive Director of Teaching & Learning at Summers-Knoll School in Ann Arbor, MI, USA. Prior to joining the administrative team at Summers-Knoll, Carrie was an Assistant Professor of Language and Literacy in the Department of Teacher Education and an affiliated faculty member in the Second Language Studies Program at Michigan State University. She holds a BFA in Theatre (University of Colorado, Boulder), an MA in Curriculum and Instruction (University of Colorado, Boulder), and a PhD in Educational Studies: Literacy, Language, and Culture (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor). Formerly an elementary classroom teacher of 10 years, Carrie has taught undergraduate and graduate courses in elementary literacy instructional methods, K-12 literacy instruction for emergent bilinguals, action research, and English language development across content areas. As a community-engaged scholar, her research focuses on the development of, and inquiry into, innovative instructional practices that amplify multilingual, immigrant-origin youth’s voices, promote additive acculturation, and dismantle xenophobia. In her current projects, she is exploring how culturally and linguistically diverse young adults foster interculturality, empathy, and global meaning-making through the telling of first-hand personal narratives in transnational educational contexts.
Carrie’s work has been published in journals such as Pedagogies: An International Journal, English Journal, Linguistics and Education, Journal of Research in Childhood Education, and Learning and Instruction and has been featured in MSU’s Engaged Scholar E-Newsletter and MSU Today: Voices and Viewpoints. Her research has been funded by the American Educational Research Association, the International Literacy Association, Michigan State University’s Diversity Research Network, and the Residential College in the Arts and Humanities’ Network for Global Civic Engagement. Carrie was the recipient of the 2018 American Reading Forum Gary Moorman Early Career Literacy Scholar Award and the 2019 Malala Award for Dedication to Education awarded by the Refugee Development Center in Lansing, Michigan. Carrie was also a 2019-20 Re-Imagining Migration Fellow and was awarded a 2020-2021 MSU Lilly Fellowship for her project, Apprenticing Teacher Education Doctoral Students into Community-Engaged Scholarship. She is currently a 2022-2023 Witness Fellow with The Witness Institute, founded and directed by Rabbi Dr. Ariel Burger.
Alongside her work in the field of education, Carrie has been practicing yoga for the past 20 years. In 2005, she became a certified yoga teacher and has taught all levels of students from beginners to pre-service yoga teachers. At the intersection of education, the arts, and yoga, Carrie is compelled to further explore how teachers can cultivate a teaching practice that is sustainable and nurturing for both themselves and their students.