Donna P. Leake, Ph.D., has been a teacher since the age of seven when she “taught” her dad to read. She believes that teachers ultimately have the potential to improve the quality of lives for students of all ages. Since receiving her first teaching certificate Donna has provided over 30 years of service to public school students in Connecticut. She served as a teacher at the elementary, middle and high school levels. Believing that all children provided with high quality culturally responsive educational programming are able to learn, she widened her potential for impact through service as a public school administrator in rural, urban and suburban areas. Her administrative roles include: Curriculum Coordinator for the areas of Mathematics, Science and Technology, Elementary Principal, Assistant Superintendent and Superintendent. In these roles she is most proud of her work in designing K-12 curriculum programs for students correlated with professional development programs for teachers and administrators.
Through years of experience in providing professional development programs for staff, Donna recognized that providing good models of professional practice to teachers early in their careers leads to the greatest benefits, As a result she became an adjunct instructor over 10 years ago at the University of New Haven. More recently, she became the Coordinator of the Internship Program at UNH, which provides her with multiple opportunities to affect the professional career development of new professionals.
Donna attempts to model through her own actions the importance of continued personal growth by engaging in new and challenging learning experiences. Believing that to better understand the learning challenges children encounter, an educator should participate in learning experiences that are uniquely different from any prior learning experiences, she has been engaged in a study of the Arabic language. Driven by her desire to provide culturally responsive instruction for all students, Donna also participates in the educational outreach programs offered through Yale and NYU. She recently served as a co-Primary Investigator of a Fulbright Study Abroad project in Morocco that allowed her to combine and further pursue many of her beliefs and interests.
Donna was recently awarded a 2015 Teachers Educating Across Cultures in Harmony (TEACH) fellowship by the Bilateral US-Arab Chamber. She will be visiting classrooms and educators and meeting with business leaders in the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, and Bahrain. TEACH was launched in 2009 as a vehicle to provide US educators an opportunity to visit the Middle East and gain insight into the culture, challenges, and opportunities experienced by their peers.