ReadOregon - Faculty

Todd Cherner, PhD, is an assistant professor of education in the College of Education’s Curriculum and Instruction Department. Cherner specializes in using instructional technology to develop students’ literacy abilities across the content areas, and he is committed to the purposeful use of technology to promote students’ reading and writing in the classroom. Before entering higher education, he taught 10th grade English and journalism courses at Leesburg High School in Central Florida. While at LHS, Cherner served on the school’s literacy committee, mentored first year teachers, and coached the varsity bowling team. Cherner earned his bachelor’s degree in English education from the University of Central Florida, his master’s in secondary education from Clemson university, and his doctorate in teacher education from the University of Tennessee. Previous to coming to Portland State University, he taught in and coordinated Coastal Carolina University’s Master of Arts in Teaching program.

Susan Lenski, EdD, is a professor in the PSU Department of Curriculum and Instruction, where she teaches graduate courses in reading, writing, and language arts. She brings 20 years of experience as a public school teacher to her work as a professor. Dr. Lenski is a popular speaker for professional development programs and has consulted in the United States, Canada, Panama, and Guatemala. She has been recognized for her work by a variety of organizations, including the International Reading Association, the Illinois Reading Hall of Fame, and Illinois State University. Dr. Lenski has authored 11 books, including Improving Reading: Strategies and Resources (with Jerry L. Johns), and has published over 65 articles in state and national journals. Her research interests include incorporating reading and writing strategies into classroom practice, content area reading, and preparing culturally responsive teachers. She also volunteers as a consultant in Latin America and is currently co-authoring a book for Spanish-speaking students that will be sold in the United States and a book for Spanish-speaking teachers that will be sold in Latin America.

Dot McElhone, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in the PSU Department of Curriculum and Instruction. She teaches courses on elementary literacy instructional methods, assessing and instructing struggling elementary readers, paradigms of research, and children's literature. Dr. McElhone earned her doctorate in Curriculum and Teacher Education with a focus on literacy at Stanford University in 2009. She won a National Academy of Education/Carnegie fellowship to support her dissertation research, which explored relationships between patterns of teacher talk and student reading engagement and achievement. She is currently researching an approach to helping teachers improve classroom talk through examination of video and the use of conceptual tools for analyzing discourse. Dr. McElhone earned her teaching credential at Vanderbilt University, served as an AmeriCorps member in a rural elementary school, and taught for several years in Oregon before pursuing her doctorate. She is a board member for the Portland Reading Council.

Leanne Moll, MA has worked as a high school and middle school language arts teacher, a reading teacher, a writing coach, a literacy curriculum developer, and a college writing instructor. Prior to her career in education, Leanne was a PhD Candidate and college instructor in musicology and comparative literature. Currently, Leanne teaches English and works as a Learning Specialist focusing on adolescent literacy at Catlin Gabel School, and teaches literacy courses through ReadOregon. She earned a BA from Mills College, an MA in musicology from Cornell University, and an MAT from Lewis & Clark College. Leanne completed her ReadOregon Reading Endorsement in 2011.

Rebecca Olien, MET, spent 18 years in elementary education and 9 years in adult education and online course design. She has developed and authored educational materials and coordinated programs for various art and sciences museums. She earned her BS at Michigan State, her MA at the University of Wisconsin. and her MET at Boise State.

Donna Shrier, MA, Assistant Professor of Practice, College of Education, Portland State University. Literacy Program faculty and cohort leader and faculty for the Graduate Teacher Education Program. She has taught grades K-9 in Colorado, Washington and Oregon, including serving as a reading specialist and TAG specialist. Her areas of expertise include working with struggling readers and writers, gifted learners, literature study and differentiated curriculum. Certifications include Oregon Teaching License (K-9), Reading Endorsement (K-12), Administrator License (BA, MA, University of Northern Colorado).

Frances Verbruggen, MAT, MA, is a doctoral student in the College of Education at Portland State University, where her research interests include instruction for struggling readers and writers and English language learners. She currently holds an early childhood/elementary teaching license with a reading endorsement, and has taught reading at both the elementary and college levels. Her educational background includes coursework in literacy development, language acquisition, and communication sciences and disorders. She earned a BA in Spanish from the University of Maryland Baltimore County, an MA in teaching French from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, and an MAT from George Fox University.

Maika Yeigh, EdD, co-leads a cohort of teacher candidates in the College of Education at PSU. She teaches research and assessment courses and elementary and secondary literacy courses. Prior to teaching adult learners, Maika taught both middle and high school Language Arts and Social Studies in high-poverty schools. She has also worked as a Reading Specialist at the elementary level. Her research interests include literacy practices with English Language Learners, as well as the relationship between time to read and reading achievement.