Sharon Nelson-Barber


Sharon Nelson-Barber, Ed.D., a sociolinguist, directs WestEd's Center for the Study of Culture and Language in Education. She combines expertise in qualitative research and culturally competent assessment and evaluation with years of experience providing equity assistance to schools, organizations, and service agencies serving diverse communities. Her research explores ways in which teachers can more effectively teach the full spectrum of students in today’s classrooms and centers on the teaching knowledge and abilities of educators in nontraditional contexts spanning indigenous settings in the USAPI, Hawai’i, the lower 48 states, and Alaska. Much of her work focuses on the study of cultural issues in the teaching and learning of mathematics and science. She is co-Editor and contributor to the 2009 book Culturally Responsive Mathematics Education and co-founder of POLARIS: Pacific/Polar Opportunities to Learn, Advance and Research Indigenous Systems, a research and development network that encourages social and educational transformation. She is also the Principal Investigator of the Pacific Climate Change Education Partnership and DRK-12 project: Investigating the Relationship Between Teacher-Level and Student-Level Factors and NAEP Mathematics Test Performance by American Indian and Alaska Native Students, both funded by the NSF. Dr. Nelson-Barber is of Rappahannock Indian decent and has life-long personal and professional experience in indigenous communities. She is active in major organizations and meetings in anthropology and education and serves on a number of national advisory boards. She holds a doctorate in Human Development from Harvard University.