The Department of Teaching & Learning

Meet the Faculty

Jill Allor, Professor

Ed.D., Vanderbilt University

Dr. Jill Allor received her Ed.D. in special education with an emphasis on reading and reading disabilities from Peabody College of Vanderbilt University in 1996. A former special education teacher, her research is school-based and focuses on reading acquisition for students with and without disabilities, including students with learning disabilities or intellectual disabilities. Learn More...



Stephanie Al Otaiba, Professor

Ph.D., Vanderbilt University

Stephanie Al Otaiba, Ph.D. joined Southern Methodist University in January 2012 as Professor of Teaching and Learning in the Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education & Human Development. Previously, she was an Associate Professor at the Florida State University (FSU) and was on faculty at the Florida Center for Reading Research. She received her Ph.D. in 2000 in Human Development from Peabody College of Vanderbilt University, and prior to that, she was a special educator for over a decade in the United Arab Emirates. Learn More...


Doris Baker, Assistant Professor

Ph.D., University of Oregon

Assistant Professor Doris Luft Santos Baker is engaged in developing and evaluating instructional tools and assessments in English and in Spanish designed to improve and monitor the academic performance of English learners. Dr. Baker’s research has been funded by agencies such as the Institute of Education Sciences, the National Science Foundation (NSF), the University of Oregon, and the Oregon Child Development Coalition among others. Currently, Dr. Baker is the Co-PI on a vocabulary grant examining the efficacy of a kindergarten vocabulary intervention, and on a study designed to improve the oral reading fluency and science knowledge of students in the elementary grades using an intelligent tutoring system. Learn more...


Ann Batenburg, Clinical Assistant Professor

Ph.D., University of Iowa

Ann Batenburg, Ph.D., serves as a clinical assistant professor in the Simmons School of Education and Human Development. Dr. Batenburg earned her doctorate in Teaching and Learning with a focus in Gifted Education from the University of Iowa in 2011. She also holds two master’'s degrees: one in Special Education from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Illinois, and one in Teacher Leadership from North Park College in Chicago. She teaches a variety of undergraduate and graduate teacher education courses with a focus on gifted education. Learn more...


Deborah Diffily, Associate Professor

Ph.D., University of North Texas

Deborah Diffily, Ph.D., joined the faculty of SMU in 2000 as Assistant Professor of Early Childhood Education. She was appointed to the position of Associate Professor when she was awarded tenure in the spring of 2006. Dr. Diffily earned her Ph.D. from University of North Texas, Denton, Texas, in 1994, with a major in early childhood education and a minor in reading. As a former prekindergarten, kindergarten, and first-grade teacher, Dr. Diffily has practical experience teaching and learning with young children. Learn more...


Sherril English, Clinical Assistant Professor

M.Ed., Texas A&M University

Sherril English joined the faculty of the Simmons School of Education and Human Development as an assistant clinical professor after serving in many roles throughout Simmons including Project Coordinator for the Early Learning in Mathematics kindergarten research study, member of the Department of Teaching and Learning faculty search and recruitment committee and student teaching/intern supervisor. Learn more...



Caroline Kethley, Clinical Assistant Professor

Ph.D., University of Texas at Austin

Caroline Ingle Kethley, Ph.D., has taught in the Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development at SMU since 2005, serving first as Project Coordinator for the IERI/Scale Up Project and Principal Investigator on the Foundations of Fluency Technology Project. She was an instructor in the Dyslexia Therapist Training Program at Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas before earning her Ph.D. in Special Education from The University of Texas at Austin in 2005. At The University of Texas, Dr. Kethley worked on a federally funded Model Demonstration Reading project at the Vaughn Gross Center for Reading and Language Arts. Learn more...


Patricia Mathes, TI Endowed Chair of Evidence-Based Education and Professor

Ph.D., Vanderbilt University

Patricia G. Mathes, Ph.D. is an internationally respected reading researcher and teacher educator whose life mission is to ensure all children succeed in school. She holds the Texas Instruments Endowed Chair of Evidence-Based Education and is a Professor of Teaching and Learning at Southern Methodist University’ Simmons School of Education. After graduating from Baylor in 1984, she entered the classroom where she taught middle and high school students with learning disabilities. While teaching, she earned her Master’s in Education at the University Houston in 1987. Learn more...


Nancy Montgomery, Clinical Associate Professor

Ed.D., Texas A&M University at Commerce

Nancy Vincent Montgomery began teaching in the Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development in January of 2008. She serves as a clinical assistant professor, teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) methods courses. Her career in education has included teaching in Illinois, Texas, and Jakarta, Indonesia and serving as an administrator in the areas of reading and curriculum. Before coming to Southern Methodist University she served as program coordinator of ESL special projects at Region 10 Education Service Center. Learn more...


Abigail Bartoshesky Pruitt, Clinical Professor

Ed.D., The George Washington University

Abigail Pruitt, Ed.D., serves as a clinical associate professor in SMU's School of Education and Human Development. Dr. Pruitt is delighted to return to SMU where she earned a she earned a B.A. in Political Science and Italian Area Studies in 1994. She teaches a variety of undergraduate and graduate teacher education courses with a focus on applied linguistics, cross-cultural communication and human development. Dr. Pruitt earned her doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction with a focus on Second Language Acquisition from the George Washington University and an M.A. in Applied Linguistics from Georgetown University. Learn more...



Nancy Roberts, Clinical Assistant Professor & Director of Undergraduate ProgramsNancy Roberts

M.Ed., University of North Texas

Nancy Roberts has been an educator for many, many years. Beginning her career in an inner city school, she held many positions in Dallas ISD as a curriculum writer, grant writer, instructional facilitator, and public relations specialist. Serving as a counselor in for Allen ISD, she concluded her public school career as an elementary principal for Plano ISD. Highlights of her career include being named Principal of the Year by the citizens of Plano in the local Star Courier newspaper, elected Principal of the Year by the Plano ISD nutrition department and being responsible for opening a new elementary school. Learn more...


Dr. Ken Springer

Ken Springer, Associate Professor

Ph.D., Cornell University

Dr. Springer is a developmental psychologist. After receiving his Ph.D. from Cornell University in 1990, he served on the faculty of SMU's Psychology Department before moving to the Simmons School of Education and Human Development in 2002. Currently Dr. Springer is part of the school's Department of Teaching and Learning. Dr. Springer currently teaches graduate classes in research methods, statistics, and program evaluation. Dr. Springer is active as a researcher, with more than 60 scientific publications and presentations, as well as 3 books.
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Karen Vickery, Program Director and Adjunct Lecturer

Karen VickeryEd.D., Texas A&M Commerce

Dr. Vickery has taught in the public schools of Missouri, Arkansas, and Texas for 35 years—teaching grades 2-6 in elementary school and reading to all levels. Dr. Vickery has been active in the field of dyslexia and related written-language disorders in the capacity of teacher, therapist, public school administrator, and University Program Director. Dr. Vickery is a nationally respected dyslexia specialist; she currently teaches graduate-level courses at SMU through the Learning Therapist Graduate Certificate Program. Learn more...



Candace Walkington, Assistant Professor

Ph.D., University of Texas

Dr. Candace Walkington is an Assistant Professor in Teaching and Learning at Southern Methodist University, specializing in mathematics education. She holds a B.S. and M.S. in Mathematics from Texas A&M University, and she is a former NSF-GK12 Fellow and college mathematics professor. She received her Ph.D. in Mathematics Education from University of Texas at Austin. She was also an IES Postdoctoral Fellow in Mathematical Thinking, Learning, and Instruction at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Learn More...


Paige Ware, Associate Professor & Department Chair


Ph.D., University of California at Berkeley

Associate Professor Paige Ware is Chair of the Teaching and Learning Department at Southern Methodist University. Prior to earning her doctorate in Education, Language, Literacy, and Culture at the University of California at Berkeley, she was an English as a Second Language (ESL) and English as a Foreign Language (EFL) teacher. Fluent in Spanish and German, she was a Fulbright scholar in Germany before moving to Spain, where she taught in a bilingual Spanish-English elementary program. Learn More...


Beverly WeiserBeverly Weiser, Research Assistant Professor

Ph.D., Southern Methodist University

Dr. Beverly Weiser received her Ph.D. in Education from Southern Methodist University in 2010 with an emphasis on education research and statistics. A former third grade teacher for 11 years, she also has over nine years of experience as an educational consultant specializing in instructional curriculum and implementation, coaching teachers and reading specialists, completing statistical analysis, working on computer assisted technology curriculum, participating in educational leadership research, and testing of students with reading, spelling, writing, and mathematics difficulties. Learn more...


Anne Wilhelm, Assistant Professor

Ph.D., Vanderbilt University

Dr. Annie Wilhelm is an Assistant Professor of Mathematics Education in the Department of Teaching and Learning at Southern Methodist University. She holds B.S. degrees in Mathematics and Computer Science from Santa Clara University, an M.A. degree in Mathematics from the University of Washington, and an M.Ed and a Ph.D. degree in Curriculum and Instructional Leadership and Mathematics Education, respectively, from Vanderbilt University. Prior to attending Vanderbilt University, Dr. Wilhelm taught high school mathematics, ranging from Algebra 1 to AP Calculus, for four years in the Seattle area. Learn More...


Paul Yovanoff, Professor

Ph.D., University of Oregon

Dr. Paul Yovanoff completed his Ph.D. in Educational Psychology with an emphasis in psychometric theory, statistical decision analysis, and behavioral research methods. Prior to receiving his Ph.D. in 1992, Dr. Yovanoff was a special education teacher and received a master's degree in special education. He has remained active in the field as a professor of educational research and measurement methodologies applied in special education contexts. Learn More...