Donna M. Neary

Donna M. Neary

Newcomer specialist and social studies teacher

Brief Biography

Donna M. Neary is a newcomer specialist and social studies teacher in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where she teaches students who have been in U.S. schools for less than one year. Her teaching and research interests focus on immigrant-origin students and multi-language learners in the context of competency-based learning and instruction.

Neary is a 2022 ASCD Emerging Leader. She is a former Re-imagining Migration Fellow , which is a program of the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Project Zero. And she was awarded a Covid-19 Remote Learning Emergency Fund for Educators Grant from the National Geographic Society in 2020 to fund research around shifting perspectives in migration.

Neary formerly taught in Louisville, Kentucky where she and fellow educators innovated the Accelerate to Graduate pilot program, designed for immigrant-origin students in danger of aging out of high school before earning a diploma. The program–located in a Title I school—won an AdvancED Best Practices Award in 2018, and she was selected as Kentucky’s Outstanding Social Studies Teacher the same year. Her chapter on the importance of field trips to English learners was published in the book, “Knowledge Mobilization in TESOL: Connecting Research and Practice.”

Neary earned an Education Specialist degree in educational leadership from the University of Kentucky, and a Graduate Certificate in Leading and Learning in a Competency-Based Education System from Southern New Hampshire University in partnership with 2Revolutions. She has a Master of Arts in public history from Loyola University Chicago, and Bachelor of Arts degrees in history and journalism from Murray State University, Murray, Kentucky.

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