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Teacher Education

Sara Exposito

Assistant Professor

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Rogers Hall

Dr. Sara Exposito has worked as a teacher, consultant and professor in education for the past twenty years. Her area of expertise is language, literacy and culture.

Sara began her teaching career as a classroom teacher in bilingual elementary and middle schools in Southern California. Later she became an administrator and worked in Montebello Unified School District’s Bilingual Office.  She was Regional Director for the California Reading and Literature Project at California State University, Los Angeles where she directed Language Arts Institutes in Spanish, Cantonese, and English (K-12). Sara was hired as a Master Practitioner for the Advanced Management Program at UCLA leading professional development with leadership teams from Los Angeles Unified School District. She became Educational Director for the California Association for Bilingual Education, a non-profit organization that promotes quality bilingual education. For the past eight years Sara has been consulting with districts in California, Costa Rica, Chicago, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Oregon, Washington, and Kauai on Professional Learning Communities.

Sara taught at Claremont Graduate School and Pacific Oaks College in Southern California. She currently Co-Directs and teaches in the ESOL Endorsement at Lewis and Clark College.

Personal Statement

I was born in Santiago, Cuba and am the grand daughter and daughter of immigrants. My father was Cuban and my mother is Spanish and they immigrated to the US in the 1960’s. As a child and young adult I was constantly crossing multiple linguistic and cultural realities. These experiences generated a life long interest in how culture, language and ethnicity intersect and impact identity.

As an educator working with diverse populations I know how crucial it is to create inclusive environments where first and second generation immigrant children and families feel welcomed. By understanding and engaging student’s private and public self educators can create teaching and learning environments that honor the many assets diverse families bring.  Through the use of culturally relevant literature and personal narrative students can read about themselves and create stories that reflect their lived reality.

I believe strongly in the power of learning several languages. I know that communities that promote a child’s heritage language; help a child learn a new language or reclaim a language are generally dynamic places for learning.

Areas of Expertise

Language, Literacy and Culture Studies, School District Consultant, Bilingual Education and Reform, Immigrant Issues and Studies

Current Research

Dr. Exposito research is focused on the social and cultural capital immigrant students bring into the classroom. Her work centers on establishing partnerships between schools, students and parents that promote the language, history and culture of diverse students. The following are areas of research interest:

  • Literacy that incorporates narrative writing to bridge the public and private lives of immigrant students 
  • Social networks that access funds of knowledge and cultural capital.
  • International immigration 
  • Reclaiming language 


  • Exposito S. & Bernheimer S. (Summer, 2012). Institutions of Higher Education and the Non-traditional Student. Journal of Early Childhood Education. 
  • Exposito S. & Favela A. (2009). Reading the World in L1 and L2, Explorations in Second Language Reading, Virginia:TESOL. 
  • Exposito S. & Barillas M. (2009). Top-Notch Support for Language Learners; Writing their way to success, Educational Leadership, April, Vol. 66-No.7. 


  • Chicago Public Schools, Program Design for English Language Learners. Chicago, Ill. February, 2011
  • Oregon Association of Teacher Education, Targeting the Achievement Gap: A Parent, School, and University Partnership. Western Oregon University in Monmouth. March, 2010
  • Re-Conceptualizing Early Childhood Education Conference, Dalton State College, Georgia–Institutions of Higher Learning and the Non-traditional Student: A Theoretical Frame. October 12-16, 2010.

Academic Credentials

Ph.D. 2004, M.A. 2001 Claremont Graduate University, B.A. 1984 California State University, Los Angeles

  • Dissertation: Immigrant Dreams: A Study of Mexican Mothers and Language Choice
  • Master’s 
Thesis: Proposition 227 and Literacy in California Schools
  • Bachelor’s Thesis: Liberation Theology in El Salvador

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