Dr. Tracy Spies, who graduated from the bilingual education doctoral program in 2011, will start as Assistant Professor in TESOL at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas in the fall.

She began teaching in 1997 as a bilingual teacher in Aldine ISD. In 2004, she became assistant principal of Ben Milam Elementary School in Bryan, where she now serves as principal.

Her dissertation explored academic language development and its impact on reading comprehension.

“My time at Texas A&M University has allowed me to explore the issues of educating English language learners (ELLs) from a more global perspective,” Dr. Spies said. “As a classroom teacher, I looked at the issues pertaining to the ELLs sitting in the seats of my classroom. The bilingual program taught me how to look at the myriad of issues and decisions (policy, politics, leadership, etc.) that impact the success of students in the classroom.”

Dr. Tracy Spies

Assistant Professor in TESOL, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Dr. Spies said Milam’s teachers and students have been essential to her development as an educator.

“Milam was where I was able to experience all that I was learning about. It gave me such a perspective on the immense undertaking it is to ensure that ELLs get a high-quality education. Milam especially taught me about the socio-cultural perspective of educating ELLs, everything beyond the curriculum that is critical for the success of students.

“I also learned how to be a good teacher here. Milam houses some of the best in Bryan. What I learned from being able to walk in their classrooms can never be taken away from me.”

Dr. Spies received the 2010 Milken National Educator Award, which recognizes exemplary K-12 educators and emphasizes the connection between quality classroom instruction and student achievement.

“Working at Milam while getting my Ph.D. made everything very, very real,” she said. “As a result, I am excited about taking what I have learned from the incredible teachers and amazing students at Milam to a broader platform.”