About Rhonda López
Rhonda López has taught educators across the country how to effectively use Project GLAD in the classroom during her career as an educator.
In addition to serving as a Project GLAD trainer, López teaches teach in a third-grade Dual Language Education program class at Turtle Creek Elementary School and supports the district as an instructional strategy specialist.
Her Project GLAD training has made the Delavan-Darien School district a focal point for an educational method that has been shown to boost the academic achievement for all students.
In Delavan-Darien, about one in five students speak English as a second language, nearly four-times higher than the Wisconsin average.
López came to Delavan-Darien from Albuquerque, NM, where she has conducted action research in the integration of Project GLAD with a holistic biliteracy framework in a third grade dual language classroom at Valle Vista Elementary School, an all Project GLAD school. She returned to the classroom after spending several years as a school-wide instructional coach.
She sees her time in the classroom as her most important work, and the perfect opportunity to keep her teaching skills sharp, making her a more effective trainer and instructional coach. In addition to her work as a National Key Trainer for Project GLAD, she also consults with districts in dual-language curriculum development, and has conducted district leadership team-building sessions.
Her passion is providing positive, relevant professional development for teachers. This does not always involve “training” teachers as a consultant, but also coaching teachers to develop the skills they need to independently and effectively face their many instructional challenges. She particularly enjoys mentoring student teachers, her most recent student teacher receiving Student Teacher of the Year for her graduating class. She hopes to continue this type of mentoring in Delavan, contributing to the development of high-quality and well-prepared teachers for the district.
A National Board Certified teacher, López is fluent in English, Spanish and French, and has taught in international schools in Mexico and Costa Rica. She has been a Project GLAD trainer for nearly a decade and is a member of the 2015 Project GLAD Outstanding Training Team of the Year. She has taught most grade levels from pre-school to adult education.
Her master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction with a Bilingual Specialty is from New Mexico State University, as is her Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education. She was the first student teacher to complete her teaching practicum in Costa Rica from NMSU, where she also taught in both public and private schools. She has published several professional articles that provide support for dual-language teachers all over the world, and regularly presents at dual language conferences.
López also specializes in positive behavior management and cross-cultural understanding. She has many years of experience working with students in poverty and who have been victims of trauma and abuse.
López believes Project GLAD is not a curriculum you can physically unpack from a box and just give to kids. Based on the scientific model and extensive brain research, it’s more about the methods and skills that teachers develop to adapt to the needs of kids.
“The strategies are aimed to be responsive to what the teachers are observing and what is needed by the students,” López said. “It’s also a way of allowing teachers to do what we do well, and that’s design effective curriculum… GLAD units are standards-based and are highly rigorous and demanding, but they allow for high-achievement for kids.”
López cited several examples of schools in New Mexico where the Project GLAD strategies were used and the schools showed impressive achievement growth. Her last school, prior to coming to Delavan-Darien, went from a “D” rating by the state of New Mexico, to an “A” rating within a year, based on standardized test scores and other key growth factors.