Meet Elena Sada, Ph.D.
“I’m excited for this opportunity to witness how an education that is grounded on Christ’s principles of equity and identity affirmation can lead children to happiness." —Elena Sada, Ph.D.
Elena Sada, Ph.D., joined the Roche Center June 15 as TWIN-CS Program Director. In her role, Elena oversees a national network of 22 dual language Catholic schools that share research, ideas, techniques, and resources to support students in becoming bilingual, biliterate, and bicultural. With input from TWIN-CS regional coaches and school leaders and teachers, Elena is responsible for refining and designing curriculum and assessments; developing the program’s annual summer dual language academy; and strengthening schools’ Catholic identity, school culture, academic excellence, and operational vitality. She will also design and carry out research that enhances school and network performance.
“I’m excited for this opportunity to witness how an education that is grounded on Christ’s principles of equity and identity affirmation can lead children to happiness,” Elena said when asked what she most appreciates about her role.
Originally from Monterrey, Mexico, Elena sees her work in dual language as providing a bridge between her own reality as an immigrant and the realities of teachers and administrators who have not been exposed to immigrant populations.
“I’ve seen a lack of sensitivity in schools toward immigrants and refugees, and a lack of appreciation of their assets and backgrounds … almost as if they were not as smart just because they couldn’t communicate in English,” she shared. “Dual language research is important to provide teachers with alternatives for how to teach immigrant and refugee students, and how to help teachers see and believe in the students’ gifts and potential. I’m honored and grateful for the opportunity to contribute to the mission of TWIN-CS and the Roche Center through this important work.”
Elena comes to Boston College from Eastern Connecticut University, where she served as assistant professor of Dual Language and Social Studies Education. Her dissertation looked at how feedback-loops affect Latino male youth’s identities and self-advocacy in connection to career preparation, and her current research focuses on dual language education's third goal: sociocultural competence. She was recently awarded a grant from the U.S. Department of Education to collaborate with faculty at the University of Connecticut and investigate sociocultural competence in connection to equitable bilingualism. Throughout her 20-year career as an educator, she has served as supervisor of ESL, World Languages, and Dual Language Programs in New Rochelle, NY, and West Hartford, CT; as a board member for Upper-West Success Academy in NYC; and as a board member of New York's Brilla Prep Schools, a charter schools network with a Catholic approach. Elena has a master’s degree in Supervision and Administration of Schools and Districts from Hunter College, CUNY; a master’s degree in Theological Studies from the University of Dallas; and a doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction with a concentration in Bilingual and Multicultural Education from the University of Connecticut.
In her free time, Elena enjoys touching base with loved ones, and taking her family camping to remote places where together, they can experience nature.
“I believe nature can lead us to discover and foster wonderful and important sentiments in us: gratitude, contemplation and empathy,” she affirmed.