The Donna Ford Attallah Academy for Teaching and Learning (DFAATL) was formed as a result of a $3 million gift from Donna Ford Attallah, a 1961 Chapman Alumna, who taught for 40 years as a kindergarten and first grade teacher in the Cypress school system in Orange County. The DFAATL will focus on developing future K-12 teachers with a special emphasis on civic engagement activities that will both serve our surrounding community and prepare our pre-service teachers to engage in their respective communities as they enter the teaching profession.
»The Donna Ford Attallah Academy for Teaching and Learning
- DFAATL Leadership
- DFAATL Board
Dr. Keith Howard – Director of the DFA Academy
Dr. Howard came to Chapman in 2008 and currently serves as the coordinator for the secondary teaching program. He is a former math and computer teacher for the Los Angeles Unified School District. He earned his PhD in Education from the University of Southern California and subsequently worked as a Senior Research Associate in the National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing (CRESST) at UCLA. At CRESST he has served as the co-lead of professional development for an Institute of Educational Sciences funded research study examining middle school mathematics achievement. He has conducted professional development for elementary and middle school teachers on various topics including metacognition, motivation, schema-based instruction, and working memory implications for academic performance.
Dr. Howard welcomes the task of directing the academy: “I am excited by this opportunity to make a difference in the lives of young people. Establishing and maintaining purposeful relationships with schools allows us, through meaningful engagement, to improve education for K-12 students and better prepare our future teachers for the classroom. The DFA Academy provides an incredible opportunity to change education for the better.”
Dr. Roxanne Miller – Donna Ford Attallah Professor in Teacher Education
Roxanne Greitz Miller, tenured Associate Professor with a joint appointment in College of Educational Studies and Schmid College of Science and Technology, holds the Donna Ford Attalah Endowed Professorship in Teacher Education. Before joining the faculty at Chapman University in 2005, Dr. Miller was a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Scholar at the University of California (UC) Riverside and taught secondary science at both middle school and senior high levels in the Florida public schools for ten years.
Dr. Miller has served as Principal or Co-Principal Investigator on state and federal teacher education research grants representing over $3.5 million in funding and has published numerous refereed articles, book chapters, and comprehensive historical abstracts. She is a frequent presenter at national conferences and from 2005-2009 served as Contributing Editor to NSTA’s journal for middle grades science teachers, Science Scope. In 2011-2012, Dr. Miller “went back to middle school” for a full year as Professor-in-Residence to explore, in-depth, recent changes to public schools, their teachers, and students.
In 2008, Dr. Miller was honored with Chapman’s Valerie Scudder Award for excellence in teaching, scholarship, and research and in 2012 was awarded the Donna Ford Atallah Endowed Professorship in Teacher Education.
Despite her research background and scholarly productivity, Dr. Miller considers herself first and foremost to be at teacher. As she emphasizes to her students, "teaching is not what you do; it is who you are."
The DFAATL Board has set forth a vision of “Changing the world by improving education through meaningful and reciprocal engagement among communities, schools and higher education”
Dr. Anaida Colon-Muniz
Anaida Colón-Muñiz earned her Ed.D. in Education from the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth. During her tenure at Chapman University she has served in various roles for the College of Educational Studies, including coordinator of the Multiple Subject and the Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) programs. She teaches the capstone teacher Action Research courses as well as serves on the faculty and committees for the doctoral program. She is currently on the Steering Committee of a teacher academy at Chapman University and on the International Committee.
Dr. Margie Sauceda Curwen
Margie Curwen earned her Ph.D. in Literacy, Language and Learning from the University of Southern California Rossier School of Education. She currently teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in literacy, language arts, children’s literature, and teaching methods. Research interests include qualitative approaches into the sociocultural resources accessed when individuals engage in reading and writing practices, out-of-school literacy contexts, and the teachers’ role in instruction. Her research is focused on the differential academic achievement for students from diverse backgrounds, particularly multi-generational Latinos. In 2012, Dr. Curwen was honored with Chapman’s Valerie Scudder Award for excellence in teaching, scholarship, and research. She is a former classroom teacher and reading specialist for elementary grades.
Dr. Michelle A. Samura
Michelle Samura earned her Ph.D. from the University of California, Santa Barbara. She primarily teaches in the Integrated Educational Studies (IES) Program and advises students in the community emphasis. Prior to joining Chapman, Dr. Samura served as the Academic Coordinator for the University of California Center for New Racial Studies and a Lecturer in UCSB’s Department of Asian American Studies. She also is a former public high school teacher and taught U.S. government, economics, and history in East Los Angeles.