Marist Welcomes New Assistant Dean of Teacher Education
April 10, 2023 — One of Marist’s newest faculty members brings a wealth of experience to help develop the next generation of school teachers. Dr. Olga DeJesus-Diaz has recently joined Marist’s School of Social & Behavioral Sciences as the Assistant Dean of Teacher Education and Associate Professor of Education. A native of the Bronx, Dr. DeJesus-Diaz brings an array of expertise in special education, bilingual education, language acquisition, and teacher preparation in higher education and from the New York State Education Department (NYSED).
Dr. DeJesus-Diaz holds two master’s degrees, one in Elementary Education and another in School Administration, both from Mercy College. She also has a doctorate in Educational Leadership from Liberty University. Her professional career has run the gamut in her field, working as a bilingual special education teacher, an associate professor and administrator in teacher preparation, an associate in the New York State Education Department (NYSED) advocating for English language learners with disabilities, and a leader on several local and national committees to improve education systems.
Dr. DeJesus-Diaz (far left) with faculty and teaching candidates from the University of Vienna
“One of my methods to support change and improve our educational systems is to educate and mentor future teachers on culturally and linguistically diverse methodologies for the classroom with the goal of assisting them in becoming effective change agents who provide quality educational programs for all students,” said Dr. DeJesus-Diaz. “At Marist, my work will support the preparation of teacher education candidates who will teach current and former English Language Learners including those with special needs, a population that continues to increase locally and regionally.”
Dr. DeJesus-Diaz has shared her work and expertise both nationally and internationally. In 2017, as an awarded Fulbright Scholar, she provided professional development to the faculty and teaching candidates from the University of Vienna under the theme “Empowering the Diverse Learner through Digital Storytelling.” She has also published several articles in peer-reviewed professional journals and a book titled “International Undergraduate English Language Learner’s Perception of Distance Learning.”
Dr. DeJesus-Diaz presenting at the Hawaii International Education Conference
Her professional expertise extends beyond her teaching, as Dr. DeJesus-Diaz has made strides in service in the field of education. She has served as an expert for the U.S Department of Education in initiatives to develop alternative assessments for English language learners, on the CEEDAR Taskforce with NYSED, as a member of the Women’s Leadership Council at Touro University, the Vice President of the NYS-Teaching English to Students of Other Languages (NYSTESOL) organization, and as a reviewer for the Association for Advancing Quality in Education Preparation (AAQEP).
“Truth be told, it was upon reading the Marist College and the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences' mission statements that made me want to join the Marist community,” said Dr. DeJesus-Diaz. “I wanted to be a part of an institution that is committed to helping students develop the intellect, character, and skills required for enlightened, ethical, and productive lives in the global community of the 21st century and that strives on preparing innovative, inclusive educators who promote success and social good. Although I have only been here a short time, I can already affirm that Marist is the right fit for me!”