Michele Jean Sims , Ed.D.

UTEP Director

Michele Jean Sims is an associate professor in UAB’s School of Education, Department of Curriculum and Instruction Secondary Program. In January 2011, she was appointed as the director of the Urban Teacher Enhancement Program, an initiative of UAB’s Center for Urban Education. Her career in urban education spans more than three decades having worked as a teacher, consultant, grant coordinator and director, and board member.


She received her undergraduate degree in Elementary Education and Music from Herbert H. Lehman College, part of the City University of New York system and her master’s degree in Developmental and Remedial Reading from the City College of New York (CUNY). In 2003, Dr. Sims earned her doctorate in education from the University of Pennsylvania, Graduate School of Education in Reading/Writing/Literacy.

Research Interests

Dr. Sims’ research interests revolve around collaborative contexts that support the work of teachers and students, particularly in urban and diverse inclusive settings, Black female university faculty, and mentoring structures for undergraduate female students. Dr. Sims serves on the board of directors for A.H. Parker Academy for Urban Educators and NRSMBC Community Support Corporation in the Eastlake neighborhood of Birmingham. In addition, she is the founding director of UAB’s BWOMEN (Blazer Women Mentoring Network), an undergraduate mentoring program that connects UAB faculty and staff to facilitate the students’ reaching their maximum potential.

Selected Professional Experiences

  • Teaching at the elementary level in Harlem and the South Bronx for the New York City Board of Education.
  • Serving as a Chapter/Title I reading specialist at the middle/junior high school level in the Philadelphia School District and St. Francis Home for (adjudicated) Boys.
  • Providing professional development to teachers/administrators as a Teacher Consultant in the Philadelphia Writing Project and collaborating with K-12 and university colleagues in the Urban Sites Writing Network (Philadelphia).
  • Working as the coordinator/co-director of a school-university partnership with UAB’s Center for Urban Affairs, UAB School of Education, and a Birmingham City middle school.
  • Advocating as a liaison with the collaborative T.R.U.S.T. grant (Birmingham City Schools).
  • Co-creating with Tyler Bryant, Techspiration and STRIDE initiatives that assist UTEP Scholars with technology integration using iOS devices and with mentoring support that enhances their efficacy in providing students with greater access to the curriculum and learning.