Skip to content

Faculty Biographies

Photo of Dr. Samantha L. StrachanDr. Samantha L. Strachan serves as Associate Professor and Program Coordinator of Secondary Education. She has an earned doctorate in Science Education from Morgan State University (Baltimore, MD), a Master of Secondary Education (Biology) degree from Alabama A&M University (Normal, AL), and a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Mount Allison University (New Brunswick, Canada). Prior to becoming a faculty member at Alabama A&M University, Dr. Strachan served as a science education research assistant where she conducted research focused on improving how urban students, particularly those of African descent, are taught science. As a teacher educator, she has served as a faculty representative for NASA’s MSI TEN Network and a faculty mentor for NASA’s MUREP Educator Institutes. She is a certified AMSTI (Alabama Math, Science and Technology Initiative) trainer for pre-service educators, and has sat on the Board of the Alabama Science Teachers Association (ASTA). Dr. Strachan’s current research is focused on improving African American males’ participation in the teaching profession. Her work also focuses on pedagogical practices in science classrooms. In addition to publishing her work, she serves as Project Director of the M.AL.E. (Males for Alabama Education) Initiative, a state-sponsored program, and as co-Principal Investigator on a grant funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). She has presented her research, both nationally and internationally, at several professional education conferences. She is two-time Jhumki Basu Scholar, a 2018 Association of Teacher Educators (ATE) Clinical Fellow, and the 2019 recipient of Alabama A&M University’s Excellence in Faculty Advising/Mentoring award.

Photo of Dione Jordan-HamiltonDr. Dione Jordan-Hamilton, Assistant Professor of Reading, completed her BS degree in Early Childhood Education from Valdosta State University. She earned her M.Ed. and Ed.S. degrees from Alabama A&M University in Early Childhood Education as well as her Ph.D. in Reading.  Dr. Jordan-Hamilton taught for Huntsville City Schools for twenty years. She currently teaches courses in early childhood and elementary education in the undergraduate and graduate level programs. Her course emphasis is in Reading Education.

Photo of Kimberly White-Glenn, Ph.D.Kimberly White-Glenn, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Reading, began her academic career at Alabama A&M University. Dr. Glenn continued her academic work as an assistant professor in the College of Education at Stillman College. During her tenure at these institutions, she taught methods and educational courses, and served on various committees. Her specialization is teaching reading.

In addition to her role as a faculty member, she has worked as an educational consultant for school districts, an instructional coach, and an intervention specialist in secondary schools. Her professional development workshops demonstrate how teachers can utilize popular culture, youth culture, and critically-relevant pedagogy to increase reading attitudes and abilities. Her passion is reversing underachievement in urban educational settings.

Dr. Glenn was awarded as an emerging leader for ASCD. She also writes and shares motivational messages to colleges, churches, and universities. Her most recent publication is the book Secure the Bag.

Photo of Johanna MasseyDr. Johanna Massey, Assistant Professor of Elementary Education, has BS and MA degrees in Elementary Education from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and a PhD in Elementary Education from the University of Alabama.  Dr. Massey teaches courses in early childhood and elementary education in both undergraduate and graduate programs. Her course emphasis are STEM methods courses. The undergraduate pedagogy courses include embedding Alabama Math Science Technology Initiative (AMSTI) approaches in science and mathematics methods courses.  Dr. Massey’s scholarly work includes presentations at state and national conferences and serving as Co-PI for the NASA STEM Educator Professional Development Collaborative project.

Photo of Dr. Takisha DurmDr. Takisha Durm, Assistant Professor of Elementary Education, has a diverse background. After a brief career in criminal justice, she pursued a career in elementary education. In that capacity, she has served as Teacher of the Year, a Jenice Riley Scholarship Recipient, and a leader of various professional development courses.  She has a BA in Political Science, Master’s Degrees in Elementary Education and Educational Leadership, an Educational Specialist degree in Elementary Education, and a PhD in Elementary Education. Over the years, she has presented at various national conferences and has published within peer-reviewed journals.  Her research interests are centered on using social studies and social justice education to empower marginalized urban and rural youth. She spends most of her free time enjoying nature with her family (3 beautiful daughters).

Photo of Dr. Sha LiDr. Sha Li, Professor of Instructional Technology, graduated from Oklahoma State University in 2001. Dr. Sha Li has taught instructional technology courses in the Department of Teacher Education and Leadership since 2001. He has also taught other courses such as educational assessment, qualitative research, and educational research. His research interests are in instructional design with technology, multimedia in education, and distance education.

Dr. Sha Li often actively participates in community service activities, and has participated in many local multicultural events by playing the Chinese flute and accordion and singing in choirs.

Photo of Dr. Adrain Christopher-AllenDr. Adrain Christopher-Allen, Assistant Professor of Special Education, obtained her bachelor’s degree in Science and Human Behavior from the University of Tennessee-Martin, and her master’s and doctorate degrees in Special Education from the University of Memphis. She taught Special Education for 4 years in Haywood County Schools and has worked with preschool through post-secondary aged students with disabilities (and has loved every minute of it). She is an Army veteran and the child of two Army veterans. She is a mother of 3 children and enjoys traveling and spending time with her family.

Photo of Dr. Nathan Blom             Dr. Nathan Blom, Assistant Professor of Secondary Education, earned a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and Piano Pedagogy from Michigan State University. He served for two years as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Himalayas of Nepal teaching elementary English, conducting teacher trainings, and trying not to get lost in the remote mountain ranges. After his Peace Corps service he received Americorps and Peace Corps Fellowships to attend Teachers College, Columbia University in New York City where he simultaneously worked as a full-time teacher and earned his Master’s and Doctoral degrees in English Education. He taught for sixteen years as an English teacher in the New York City Department of Education.

Dr. Blom has published in The Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy and presented at numerous conferences on multimodality and arts-based instruction as tools for social justice and equity. He is a founding developer and facilitator of Literacy Unbound, a professional development institute at Columbia University for secondary humanities teachers. Currently, Dr. Blom serves as the Education Co-Director of the AAMUTeach Program. He is also the Director of the National Endowment for the Humanities K-12 Summer Institute From Alabama to New York: How the Great Migration Shaped the Harlem Renaissance.

Outside of his professional interests, he learns guitar, practices CrossFit, and does his best to collaborate with his partner in raising their insatiably curious and vivacious five-year-old daughter.

Photo of Dr. Tamar F. RileyDr. Tamar F. Riley, Associate Professor of Special Education, holds master’s and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in special education from the University of Florida (UF). Dr. Riley teaches in both the undergraduate and graduate programs in Special Education and has more than 20 years of experience in higher education. She is a Board-Certified Advocate in Special Education (BCASE), a Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA) Instructor, and a Blackboard Certified Specialist. Recently, she has received training in Trauma Informed Care. Dr. Riley served for 5-years on the Florida State Advisory Committee for special education as the Institutions for Higher Education representative as well as represented the State Advisory Committee as a reviewer of the new Florida Standards (BEST). She has extensive experience in working with teachers on research-based instructional strategies, particularly intensive interventions, to improve the academic and behavioral success of students with disabilities. Additionally, she has worked as a grant competition reviewer and stakeholder member for the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP). Dr. Riley has secured more than $6M in external funds to help support the recruitment and retention of minority teachers in special education. She is a proud parent of a twice exceptional son, who was adopted from foster care.