The UAB School of Education has named Associate Professor Tonya Perry, Ph.D., as the new director for the UAB Center for Urban Education (CUE), effective Jan. 1, 2015. She succeeds Associate Professor Tondra Loder-Jackson, Ph.D.

Perry will oversee the Center’s instructional research, professional development, and service programs that promote high-quality education for minority and underserved students in urban school districts.Dr. Tonya Perry

Perry says she plans to continue the work of Loder-Jackson by encouraging community involvement and collaborations between the Center and urban schools in the Birmingham metro area.

“We’ll also continue to build partnerships with community members and companies who share our vision that recruiting and retaining teachers to work in urban contexts is important,” she says. “We’re also going to actively search for federal monies and philanthropic participation that will support this mission.

“I also want to extend the role of the Center to a hub of theoretical and practical understanding and dialogue about children and families of color in education, health, government, the justice system, communities, and others spaces,” she says.

Perry teaches English language arts methods courses and young adult literature in the UAB Department of Curriculum and Instruction’s Secondary Education Program. Her research focus is literacy instruction in the secondary schools, writing, urban education, and teacher preparation. She is a principal investigator for the Red Mountain Writing Project. Her most recent publication is a chapter, “Generative Critical Pedagogy in English Language Arts Methods for Urban Schools,” for the book Reclaiming English Language Arts Methods Courses by Jory Brass and Allen Webb.

Perry earned her bachelor’s degree in English education from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She earned her master’s degree in English education from the UAB School of Education and a doctorate in Education Leadership with a concentration in English and secondary curriculum from the University of Alabama and UAB.

The UAB CUE is a partnership between the School of Education, the Birmingham City Schools and other school districts in the city’s metro area to support the training of teachers and administrators to work in urban school districts. The CUE develops, implements, and assesses models of urban teacher development and retention, promotes the recruitment and retention of urban school leaders, and offers professional development courses that examine issues of race, class, and culture.