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Michelle Szpara, PhD

M.Ed. in Teaching & Learning Coordinator
Associate Professor, Graduate Education

Michelle Yvonne Szpara, Ph.D., chose Cabrini College for its specific focus on social justice advocacy and action in educating teacher leaders.

Szpara brings to Cabrini decades of experience in teaching and research on multicultural education, differentiated instruction and supporting diverse populations in schools.

“Combining an intentional focus on social justice with the practice of multicultural education is crucial if we are going to achieve systemic change in our schools,” Szpara says.

Upon arriving at Cabrini College in 2012, Szpara launched an initiative to revitalize and update the Master of Education non-certification program.

Now titled the Master of Education in Teaching and Learning, the program links new learning outcomes and signature assignments to teachers’ daily practice; the program was shaped by input from current and former K-12 educators and school administrators.

Previously, Szpara served as associate professor of curriculum and instruction in New York for 10 years, working with both pre-service and in-service teachers to enhance their skills in supporting diverse student populations. Prior to this, she taught English to speakers of other languages (TESOL) for more than a decade, working with teens, college students and adult English language learners.

Szpara is certified to teach chemistry at the secondary level, and she completed her student teaching in the Reading School District, teaching in English, Spanish and Vietnamese.

She has lived in Argentina, Spain, and the former Soviet Union, and taught in Mexico through the Rotary Exchange program.

Szpara earned two bachelor’s degrees from Pennsylvania State University, in the physical sciences and in secondary education/chemistry, and a doctorate of philosophy in educational linguistics from the University of Pennsylvania.


  • Contributed book chapter titled, “Changing staff attitudes through leadership development and equity teams,” which is in press, to be published in the upcoming Diversity, equity, and social justice handbook for practicing educators: Leadership, by Rowman and Littlefield Education and the National Association for Multicultural Education (NAME).


  • “Defining social justice in teacher action research” at the American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting (AERA) in Chicago, Ill., in April 2015.

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