Michaela Colombo is the Faculty Chair, Professor, Leadership in Schooling in the School of Education at UMass Lowell

Michaela Colombo, Ed.D.

Professor Emerita of Leadership in Schooling

Fine Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences
School of Education, FDC Steering Committee

Research Interests

Culturally responsive schools and pedagogy, preparing mainstream teachers to teach students who differ from them in culture and language, family and community involvement


B.S. Fitchburg State College

M.Ed., Ed.D., University of Massachusetts Lowell


Honors and Awards

Recipient of Rubovits Award (best paper presented at the New England Educational Research Association (NEERO); Preparing Mainstream Teachers to Work Effectively with English Language Learners, 2006

Faculty Teaching Excellence Award, presented by the Graduate School of Education faculty in recognition of outstanding teaching, 2006

Outstanding Dissertation Semi-Finalist, National Association of Bilingual Education, 2004

Outstanding Dissertation University of Massachusetts Lowell Graduate School of Education, 2002

Recent Publications and Papers Presented


Colombo, M. & Furbush, D. (November, 2008). Teaching English Language Learner: Content and Language in Middle and Secondary Mainstream Classrooms Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.


Colombo, M. & Colombo, P. (2007). Blogging to Improve Instruction in Differentiated Science Classrooms. Phi Delta Kappan 89(1), 60-63.

Colombo, M. (2007). Developing cultural competence: Mainstream teachers and professional development. Multicultural Perspectives 9(2), 10-17.

Colombo, M. (2006). Bridging the gap through family and school partnerships. Phi Delta Kappan 88(4), 314-318.

Colombo, M. (2005). Empathy and cultural competence: Reflections from teachers of culturally diverse students.

Young Children: Beyond the Journal.

Colombo, M. (2004). Family literacy nights and other home-school connections. Educational Leadership

Colombo, M. (2004).  Literacy for all students: Professional development for cultural continuity. New England Reading Association Journal.

Rodriguez, J. & Colombo, M. (October, 2002). Opening doors and minds with educational technology and integration. NABE News.

Selected Juried Presentations

Colombo, M. & Furbush, D. (2008, February). Preparing Mainstream teachers to work with English language learners. National Association of Bilingual Education (NABE).

Nehring, J., Lohmeier, J., & Colombo, M. (2008, March). Converting a large, urban high school to small schools:  Leadership challenges and opportunities. American Educational Research Association (AERA), New York.

Colombo, M., Shestok, C., & McMakin, D. (2007, May). Professional development for mainstream Teachers to Work Effectively with Culturally, Linguistically, and Economically Diverse Learners. University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT.

Colombo, M., Jacobs, C., Shestok, C., & McMakin, D. (2007, April). Teacher Preparedness for Working with Diverse Student Populations. New England Educational Research Organization (NEERO), Portsmouth, NH.

Jacobs, C. & Colombo, M. (2007, April). Development and Validation of the Cultural, Linguistic, and Economic Diversity Teaching Effectiveness Indicator (CLEDTEI). New England Educational Research Organization (NEERO), Portsmouth, NH.

Colombo, M., Laboy, W. Boccia, J., Nehring, J., & Torres, H. (2007, April). The Lawrence Public Schools Transformation Project: Cultivating University and School District Partnerships. Committee on Industrial Theory and Assessment (CITA). Lowell, MA.

Colombo, M. & Nehring, J. (2006, November).  The Urban School Transformation Project Study (Lawrence High School and the University of Massachusetts Lowell.) (Association of Latino Administrators [ALAS]), Austin, TX.

Colombo, M. (2006, April). Preparing Mainstream Teachers to Work Effectively with English Language Learners. New England Educational Research Organization (NEERO), Portsmouth, NH.

Colombo, M. (2006, March). Mainstream Teachers of ELLs: How Much Preparation is Enough? Massachusetts Association for Teachers of Other Languages - Massachusetts Association for Bilingual Education- (MATSOL- MABE). Leominster, MA.

Colombo, M., Pellegrino, T. Shaw, S., Szettella, K. Webster, P. (2006, March). English Language Learners: Building Best Practices. Massachusetts Association for Bilingual Education-Massachusetts Association for Teachers of Speakers of Other Languages (MABE-MATSOL). Leominster, MA.

Colombo, M. (2006, January). Involving linguistically and culturally diverse parents and communities. National Association of Bilingual Education (NABE). Phoenix, AZ.

Colombo, M. (2004, February). Professional development: Increasing teachers’ awareness of the culture, strengths, and needs of second language students. Presented at the NABE, Albuquerque, NM.

Colombo, M. & Rodriguez, J.C. (2000, March). Effective instructional practices In bilingual education and second language acquisition, Community centered PBTIL Presented at the Massachusetts Association for Bilingual Education (MABE).

Grants - PI

Parent Partnership for Achieving Literacy (PAL) Methuen Public Schools - United States Department of Education (2000), $417,921

21st Century Community Learning Centers (CCLC) - After-School and Out-of-School Programs, Methuen Public Schools, Author, Administrator -Massachusetts Department of Education (2004), $299,999

21st Century Community Learning Centers After-School and Out-of-School Programs ; Pilot after-school program for the Timony Grammar School in Methuen MA

Author, Administrator - Massachusetts Department of Education (2003), $100,000

21st Century Community Learning Centers ; Enhancement Grant Author (with C. Ingrassia), Administrator - Massachusetts Department of Education (2003), $19,600

A Self-Study of Programs for English Language Learners in Burlington, Massachusetts (2008)

Perceptions of Successful Cambodian American Students, Institute for Asian American Studies (2008), $3,420.

Improving Academic Literacy for Fourth Grade English Language Learners, Principal Investigator, Joseph P. Healey Foundation (2008), $4,250

Improving Educational Opportunities for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students in an Urban School: Choosing Small, Principal Investigator, Council for Diversity and Pluralism, University of Massachusetts Lowell (2006), $3,000.

School Leadership for Cultural Diversity, Principal Investigator Joseph P. Healey Foundation (2005), $8,000

Advisory Boards

English Language Learner Bilingual Advisory Council, 2005 ; present

Selected Memberships

American Education Research Association (AERA), since 2004 - proposal reviewer for Divisions K & G, 2005, 2006 

National Association for Bilingual Education (NABE), since 1998 - proposal reviewer 2005, 2006

National Association of Multicultural Education (NAME) since 2004 ; proposal reviewer 2007, 2008

TESOL, since 2004

Related Consulting

Educational Testing Services: Reviewer of text transformation reading tool for English Language Learners, 2008

Idaho English Language Learner Assessment ; Expert reviewer of test items for grades K-12, 2006

Self-Assessment for Programs for English Language Learners ; Burlington Public Schools

English Language Acquisition Services ; Methuen Public Schools

Book Reviewer, Taylor, L.S. & Whittaker, C.R. Bridging Multiple Worlds: Case Studies of Diverse Educational Communities (2nd ed.). Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 2006

Manuscript Reviewer, Multicultural Perspectives