Dr. Leslie Cavendish
Assistant Professor, Education
Literacy Coordinator Elementary Education
Dr. Leslie Cavendish came to High Point University in 2011. Dr. Cavendish has a M.A. in Developmental Reading and earned her Ph.D. in Language, Literacy and Culture from the University of Iowa. She taught literacy courses for 5 years at the University of Iowa in the Teaching and Learning Department and has enjoyed teaching both undergraduate and graduate level courses at High Point University for the past two years. She strives to support High Point preservice teachers opportunities to teach students who need additional support in their literacy development. She collaborates closely with Montlieu Elementary School in organizing book buddies and reading tutors for the children identified as needing additional support. Dr. Cavendish also organizes a community Literacy Night celebration for all the parents and students at Montlieu Elementary School every fall.
Prior to her graduate work she spent over 10 years as an elementary classroom teacher working overseas in Bahrain, Malaysia and China. She developed and implemented curriculum in different types of international schools including a bilingual school and a school that incorporated a blend of European, Australian and American curricular programs. She also taught in an American consulate school that followed a solely American-based educational program.
In addition to her international school experience, Dr. Cavendish taught elementary school in an urban Texas setting and in a small rural town in Iowa. She has also supervised a summer reading clinic established to assess and support literacy development for local elementary students. While working at the University of Iowa Dr. Cavendish earned an Excellence in Teaching Award and was a yearlong Ballard-Seashore Fellow. Dr. Cavendish presents at national educational conferences including AERA (American Educational Research Association), LRA (Literacy Research Association) and WLU (Whole Language Umbrella). Most recently she is inviting graduate students to co-present with her at the state NC Elementary Educators Conference in November of 2012.
Dr. Cavendish’s particular research interests include culturally responsive teaching, international educators and narrative inquiry. In 2009 she worked for 3 months in China conducting research which combined narrative and literacy pedagogy research. In Iowa, Dr. Cavendish also employed ethnographic research methods to study local immigrant students, their families, and preservice teachers who worked with them. This research focused on how the preservice teachers implemented literacy assessment and teaching methods with these children.
Based on her international teaching experience and her subsequent research, Dr. Cavendish recognizes the crucial role cultural diversity plays in classroom teaching pedagogy and literacy development. She strives to incorporate practicum work with pre-service teachers to ensure they have successful experiences teaching students with different cultural backgrounds than their own. She plans to continue her research alongside High Point University students and educators in the local community.