About Us


Jennifer Waddell, Ph.D.

IUE Director and Sprint Foundation Endowed Professor for Urban Education

Jennifer Waddell currently serves as the Director of the Institute for Urban Education (IUE) and Sprint Foundation Endowed Professor in Urban Education at the University of Missouri Kansas City. In this role, she works collaboratively with Kansas City partner school districts and the community to prepare educators who are committed to social justice and educational equity.

Dr. Waddell has been with the IUE since its inception, first serving on the IUE Program Design Team and Executive Committee during the initial planning phases of the IUE. In 2005, when IUE launched, Dr. Waddell served as the IUE Associate Director and was responsible for the day-to-day operations of the IUE including IUE recruitment, curricular programming, IUE internships and school partnerships, and student support and mentoring. Dr. Waddell served in the role of IUE Associate Director until 2017, when she was named Director.

Dr. Waddell teaches courses in diversity, working with communities and families, curriculum design, effective instruction and teacher leadership. Both nationally and internationally, Dr. Waddell has presented her work around teacher preparation and educational equity in a variety of forums, including a session at the US Department of Education on preparing culturally competent teachers and professional presentations at conferences such as American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, American Educational Research Association and Association for Educational Studies.

Dr. Waddell is active in research and scholarship pertaining to teacher preparation for diverse communities, social justice education, and diversity and educational equity. Dr. Waddell also serves the School of Education, Social Work and Psychological Sciences as the Director of Teacher Education, with a focus on leading programs that prepare culturally relevant and responsive teachers for Kansas City schools. Dr. Waddell’s faculty webpage contains more information about her role as a faculty member and leader within the School of Education and UMKC, including information about select publications.

Brad Poos, Ph.D.

IUE Associate Director and Coordinator of IUE Curriculum and Pipeline Programming

A career educator, Dr. Poos is currently the Associate Director in the Institute for Urban Education (IUE). As Associate Director, Dr. Poos is responsible for teacher pathway programs, community partnerships and engagement, and student support. Dr. Poos has experience in both k-12 and higher education. Having started his career in education as a middle and high school social studies teacher, Dr. Poos then moved into school counseling before going into academia and higher education.

Dr. Poos has particular expertise in high school pipeline programming and teacher recruitment having spent the last 5 years involved in GYO design and implementation. As well, Dr. Poos’s research focuses on issues related to the historical and social context of schooling. In particular, Dr. Poos is interested in the history of urban education, urban teacher preparation, social justice education, and diversity and educational equity. Dr. Poos has written and published broadly in these areas and has presented his work around the country.

Dr. Poos has long been committed to work around equity and justice in education and the community at large. Most notably, Dr. Poos has been involved in Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity (National SEED Project: https://nationalseedproject.org/about-us/about-seed) programming and has served on the board of directors for the AdHoc Group Against Crime and currently sits on the board of directors for the Center for Conflict Resolution.

Anya Arnold

Coordinator of Community Programming/Instructor

Anya Arnold has over 20 years of experience in urban education. Her career started as a middle school math teacher in the Kansas City Kansas Public School district, and after eight years in the classroom, moved into an instructional coach role. Anya joined UMKC in 2011 as an instructor and supervisor with Project CAUSE. Since joining UMKC, Anya has partnered with schools and cooperating teachers to support and prepare teacher candidates. She has also taught multiple courses focusing on restorative discipline, culturally responsive teaching, and mathematics methods. Currently, Anya serves as the Coordinator of Community in the Institute for Urban Education, in which she facilitates student led leadership teams who collaborate with community partners.

Reggie Berry

IUE Affiliate and Seminar Instructor

Reggie Berry

Loyce Caruthers, Ph.D.

Professor, Educational Leadership, Policy, and Foundations

Loyce Caruthers, Professor of Educational Leadership, Policy and Foundations at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, teaches courses related to education administration and qualitative research. She also serves as Coordinator of the Educational Doctorate (Ed.D.) in Education Administration. Her previous professional experiences include middle school teacher, Staff Developer, Special Projects Coordinator, and Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction. Loyce also served as a Director of Educational Equity which involved the development and implementation of the professional development model, Power Teaching, to support school desegregation in Region 7 of the Department of Education. Loyce’ s research involves the use of voice through narrative, Critical Race Theory, and Black Critical Theory for exploring phenomena related to race, class, language or national origin, gender and other differences that may influence educators’ beliefs and perceptions, and ultimately their work in schools. Recent publications include an edited book, Womanish Black Girls/Women Resisting the Contradictions of Silence and Voice that received the 2019 Critics Choice from the American Education Studies Association and 2020 Society of Professors of Education Outstanding Book Award as well as the co-authored book, Great Expectations: What Kids Want from Our Urban Public Schools with a forward by Gloria Ladson-Billings. Her recent publications have appeared in the Northwest Journal of Teacher Education, Educational Studies, Multicultural Perspectives, Urban Education, and The Journal of Negro Education. Loyce is also recipient of the 2019 UMKC Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Graduate Mentoring and the 2020 Kofi Lomotey Outstanding Reviewer Award for Urban Education.

Sarah Eblen

IUE Affiliate and Seminar Instructor

Sarah Eblen

Jen Fergerson

Coordinator of Professional Development and New Teacher Support

Jen Fergerson is currently in her 20th year in urban education. She worked in Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools for 15 years as a classroom teacher, instructional coach, and district ELA curriculum coach before joining the Institute for Urban Education in 2018. She is the Coordinator for Professional Development and New Teacher Support. Among the responsibilities for this role are providing services to new teachers such as coaching and mentoring; alumni seminars and continued learning; and professional development opportunities for teachers serving in Kansas City’s urban schools. In addition, she supervises student teachers and teaches the Early Childhood Literacy Methods course. Jen is also a current doctoral student. Her research interests include the development of cultural competence, culturally relevant pedagogy, and teacher retention.

Ryan Fitzpatrick

IUE Field Instructor

Ryan Fitzpatrick worked for 10 years as an International Baccalaureate (IB) teacher at Lincoln College Preparatory Academy in Kansas City, Missouri. He taught IB English, Philosophy, and Theory of Knowledge. While teaching at Lincoln, Ryan completed both a building and a district level field experience for administrator certification. He is currently pursuing a PhD in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies program at the University of Kansas. His research interests include critical pedagogy, social justice education, and student engagement.

As a Field Instructor for the IUE, Ryan supports new teachers by mentoring and coaching on the best practices of progressive education in their classrooms. Additionally, Ryan facilitates a seminar on teacher identity, local historical contexts, and racial inequities in education. He strives to connect the IUE’s mission and philosophy with the daily practices of urban educators.

Marquis Hall

IUE Affiliate and Student Mentor

Marquis Hall graduated from the University of Missouri-Kansas City in May of 2016 with a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education. Hall participated in the Institute for Urban Education while studying at UMKC. In 2018, Marquis began teaching at the African Centered College Preparatory Academy (ACCPA) in Kansas City Public Schools, where he would stay for 3 years and ultimately earn the title of Teacher of the Year for ACCPA, as well as gain recognition a as district finalist for teacher of the year in 2021. While teaching at ACCPA Hall also earned a Master of Arts from UMKC in Educational Administration (pk-8). At the end of the 2020-2021 school year, Marquis was promoted to Manager of Student Diversity and Inclusion Programs for KCPS. In this role, he works tirelessly to increase the number of mentors for KCPS students as well as cultivate ways in which student voice and belonging is amplified. His research interests include advancing equity in K-12 education, mentoring, and cultural responsiveness.

Miriam Maqsood

IUE Affiliate and Student Mentor

Miriam Maqsood graduated with a B.A. in Elementary Education in May 2020. She was a member of the IUE program while at UMKC. After graduating from UMKC and the IUE, Miriam received a job at the Kansas City International Academy teaching fifth grade. Miriam is currently working on getting her Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction.

Hilary McNeil, Ph.D.

Coordinator of Clinical Experiences and School Partnerships

Hilary McNeil has over 20 years of experience in the field of education. After various elementary teaching roles in different areas of the United States, she came to UMKC in 2011 to teach and supervise in the elementary education program. During her early years at UMKC, McNeil worked with a team in the School of Education to reform the teacher preparation model which involved field-based coursework and increased involvement in clinical experiences. In addition to teaching and supervising in the elementary program, she currently coordinates all of the clinical experiences and facilitates/enhances/oversees partnerships with school districts, principals, and educational institutions.  McNeil received her PhD in Curriculum & Instruction and Educational Leadership, Policy, & Foundations from UMKC in 2019. Her research interests include urban teacher preparation and elementary literacy teacher preparation.

Asha Moore

IUE Affiliate and Seminar Instructor

Asha Moore graduated from UMKC with a degree in Elementary Education and was a member of the inaugural Institute for Urban Education cohort. She returned to UMKC to earn a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership and was a member of the second KC PLUS cohort. Asha taught for nine years before becoming the Dean of Students at Academy for Integrated Arts (AFIA) and is currently the Assistant Principal at AFIA.

Dayonne Richardson

IUE Affiliate and Student Mentor

Dayonne Richardson is a local Children’s Book Author and Educator of over 10 years. She is the proud product of the Kansas City, Kansas public school district and the University of Missouri Kansas City (Institute for Urban Education), where she received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. Dayonne began her teaching career in 2012, teaching in both the United States and China, and has had the unique opportunity to teach elementary, collegiate, and professional educators. In May 2022 she released her second children’s book, Our Gift Grace, “the story of siblings learning the gift of grace you give to each other and yourself.” Dayonne hopes to share her story and children’s books with families and schools alike, while fostering a love for reading. Throughout Dayonne’s educational career she has been inspired by all of her scholars, families, and peers, and she believes a classroom of 24 scholars is the same as a room of 25 educators. Her core belief is “We are blessed to teach them, learn with them, and from them.”

Sara Saunders

Pathway Programs Specialist/Field Instructor

Sara Saunders joined the Institute for Urban Education (IUE) in August of 2021 as the Pathway Programs Specialist and Field Instructor after completing her eighth-year teaching mathematics in the Kansas City Kansas Public School District. Her primary role is working the Grow Your Own Pipeline, where she coaches and assists high school teachers leading teacher pipeline programs in Kansas City High Schools. Within this role, Sara facilitates co-curricular experiences in culturally relevant pedagogy, anti-racism, social justice, and college and career readiness, as well as mentors beginning teachers and providing support for first-generation college students.

Sara was a graduate of the fifth IUE Cohort during her undergraduate studies, and a graduate of the second IUE Master’s Program Cohort. She holds an undergraduate degree in Middle School Mathematics Education and graduate degree in Urban Teacher Leadership, both from the University of Missouri, Kansas City (UMKC).

In 2023, Sara began doctoral studies at UMKC in pursuit of an Interdisciplinary Ph.D. with a primary focus on Educational Leadership and Policy, and a co-discipline in Curriculum and Instruction.

Janita Webb

IUE Affiliate and Seminar Instructor

Janita Webb has served as vice principal in the Kansas City Public Schools district since 2019. She is a member of the inaugural class of the Institute for Urban Education and a two-time UMKC graduate, earning her BA in 2009 and MA in Higher Education Administration in 2014.

During her years as a classroom teacher, Janita was named Teacher of the Year at Dobbs Elementary in Hickman Mills in 2012 and was recognized as an Outstanding Beginning Teacher by the Missouri Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (MACTE).

After earning her Masters degree, Janita became an instructional coach for Kansas City Kansas Public Schools for 5 years. While serving in this capacity, she supported K-5 grade teachers through collaborative coaching cycles and reflective instructional practices. In 2015, Janita was recognized as District Employee of the Month after her 2nd year as an instructional coach.