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Faculty in Rice University's Teacher Certification and Master of Arts in Teaching programs represent varied backgrounds and professional expertise.

Steve Amstutz, M.Ed., University of Houston

Mr. Amstutz began his career serving children in education as a 5th grade teacher in Houston, Texas.  He served as a principal for 20 years at both elementary and secondary schools. During those years, he founded Liberty High School, an alternative school designed specifically to meet the challenges faced by older, immigrant students, and DiscoverU, a non-profit providing novel learning experiences beyond the high school classroom that expand students’ aspirations and develop the confidence and skills essential for college success.  Since 2013, Steve has worked as Director of Measuring What Matters at the Institute for Research and Reform in Education supporting school improvement initiatives in urban and rural school districts across the country.  He is a lecturer in the educational leadership program at Rice University.


Shelah Crear, Ph.D., Texas A&M University

Dr. Crear is the director of Rice University’s First Year Programs, designed to successfully assimilate freshmen to college life and academics. Her responsibilities include the development of a week-long orientation week and the development and implementation of UNIV 110, a first year course designed to address the unique needs of freshmen students. Additionally, Dr. Crear provides leadership to the first year Common Reading program, and is currently developing support structures for Rice University “first generation” college students.


Linda McNeil, Ph.D., University of Wisconsin

Dr. McNeil is a leading figure in national school reform and the author of "Contradictions of Control: School Structure and School Knowledge" (1986), and "Contradictions of School Reform: The Educational Cost of Standardized Testing" (2000). Her writings analyze the tension between educational excellence and the increasing standardization of education in the U.S. Her research and work in urban school reform center on the policies and organizational factors shaping teaching and learning. She has taught at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education and was a visiting scholar at the Stanford University School of Education. She has been vice president of the Curriculum Studies Division of the American Education Research Association and editor of the Social and Institutional Analysis section of the "American Educational Research Journal." She is founding director of the Rice University Center for Education. Her research encompasses curriculum theory, urban schools, school organization and assessment, and educational policy, with a special focus on equity and the education of historically underserved youth.


Judy Radigan, Ph.D., University of Houston

Dr. Radigan spent more than 20 years teaching high school English, debate, speech, drama and ESL in Texas, and also served as an elementary school principal for five years. For the past ten years, Dr. Radigan has had joint appointments at Rice University and the University of Houston. She has been a lecturer in the Teacher Education Department at Rice University and the facilitator for the online Cultural Studies Program at the University of Houston. She has also served as an evaluator for the Even Start Programs in Houston ISD, Fort Bend ISD and Angleton, and has worked as a researcher with the Center for Education at Rice University.


Sheila Whitford, M.B.A., University of Houston-Clear Lake

Ms. Whitford is a retired educator from Furr High School in Houston ISD where she served as a literacy coach, School Improvement Facilitator and English teacher. She holds a B.A. in English and history from Texas Women’s University and her MBA from the University of Houston – Clear Lake. Sheila provides support to the Teacher Education program and works with team members on compliance, academic program changes, admissions, program evaluation, the development of innovative new courses and strategic planning.