"We are delighted to have Dr. Pedro join our team," says College of Education Dean Mark Shermis. "Not only does she bring a wealth of expertise, but also a deep passion and total dedication to teacher education. Our university, our college, our students and faculty will all be served well by her."
Pedro arrived on campus in mid-July, assuming the role from Professor of Educational Leadership Larry Kajs who has been serving as the interim associate dean.
"I am really happy to be at UHCL," Pedro says. "It is a beautiful, scenic and very inviting place. I think, too, it is a place where you can do really innovative and creative things.
"Even though I've been here only a short while, I have seen the commitment of the faculty and staff. There is a lot of enthusiasm and a lot of passion, and that is what we need to be able to do our work. I want to be able to continue with them on this journey of building distinctive programs. I also want to ensure that our students’ needs, both at the undergraduate and the graduate level, are met, and that we are able to provide them with the best education possible."
Pedro confesses that from an early age she loved teaching, and although she was told that she would be good at many things — lawyer, politician — she chose the teaching profession. "I love to see people learn, and I believe that teaching is one of the most treasured professions —although not treated that way."
She first came to the United States on a scholarship from the Organization of the American States to complete a master degree in Special Education and Psychology at the University of Miami before returning to Trinidad. Several years later she was offered a fellowship at Virginia Tech, where she completed her Doctor of Philosophy in Curriculum and Instruction before accepting the position at the University of Hartford.
While in Trinidad and Tobago, Pedro was a pioneer and leader in the education system in the area of inclusive education. She says she was immersed in special education early in her career, working with hearing impaired children at a time when those with special needs were segregated. It was then that she became a strong advocate for inclusive education.
"I have an affinity for the less privileged, and people who are disempowered. I believe that it is important that there are advocates for people who need support," she says.
Pedro also served in collaboration with the University of Sheffield, England, as program director for one of the first distance learning initiative in Special and Inclusive Education in Trinidad and Tobago.
Today, her research is centered on teacher development, revolving around the themes of reflective practice, multicultural education, literacy practices, and online learning. She has published works in educational journals and has presented at National and International Education Conferences. She has also delivered national and regional workshops for educators in the Caribbean with support from CIDA, UNESCO and the University of Manitoba.