Dr. Elena Izquierdo has a wealth of credentials to her name. She is a linguist by training and an educator in practice. She is the HMH author of our newest comprehensive program for long-term English learners, Escalate English. She is on faculty in Literacy/Bilteracy/Dual Language/ELL Education at UTEP (University of Texas, El Paso). Her academic research has won awards. She is also the principal investigator of Project LEAD (Leadership in English Acquisition and Academic Development), a National Professional Development grant from the U.S. Department of Education. And, if these responsibilities don't keep her busy enough, she also directs a camp for K–12 public school students that focuses on supporting literacy for English learners.
More critical than any of her academic credentials, though, is Dr. Izquierdo's ebullient presence on campus. A few months ago, HMH was fortunate to spend two days with her at the university. We observed her with her students in one class and talked with them afterwards. We were moved as they told stories about how Dr. Izquierdo is not only an ace teacher and researcher, but also their strongest role model and advocate. One student shared an anecdote about facing financial struggles that meant she had to drop out of school. She happened to mention it to Elena, who, without hesitating, got on the phone and worked her connections to help her find a part-time job. Now, this student is working on her doctorate.
Observing an elementary classroom taught by one of Elena's former students, we saw her mentorship in action, as she and Ms. Robles, shoulder-to-shoulder, discussed students' academic growth needs, while also talking passionately about the tremendous assets our English learners bring to their schools and communities.
A Fitting Tribute for Teacher Appreciation Week
At HMH we are honored to work with authors and experts who are also tireless advocates for the cause of improving education in today's schools. We hope you will be as inspired as we are when you view this video of Dr. Elena Izquierdo in action, as she describes coming full-circle—providing professional learning for teachers in the very elementary school she lived across from as a young bilingual student.