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 three years. She strives to support High Point preservice teachers as they learn to teach students who need additional support in their literacy development. She collaborates closely with Montlieu and Florence Elementary Schools in organizing book buddies and reading tutors for the children identified as needing additional support. Dr. Cavendish also organized a community Literacy Night celebration for all the parents and students at Montlieu Elementary School in the Fall of 2011, 2012 and 2013. Dr. Leslie M. Cavendish was awarded a 7,000 grant to develop a Summer Reading Institute for June/July of 2014. The goal was make a positive impact on the rising third grade students who are at risk of failing to achieve third grade level reading proficiency. Dr. Cavendish strives to meet the needs of the High Point Community while also offering School of Education graduate and undergraduate students the unique opportunity to develop and implement instructional programs based on their passions and interests.
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). She has invited graduate students to co-present with her at the state NC Elementary Educators Conference in November of 2012. Dr. Cavendish has also mentored undergraduate students in presenting at the HPU-Research and Creativity Symposium (High-PURCS), State of North Carolina Undergraduate Research and Creativity Symposium (SNCURCS) and at the National Conference of Undergraduate Research (NCUR).
Dr. Cavendish’s particular research interests include culturally responsive teaching, international educators and narrative inquiry. She has worked in southeast Asia conducting research which combined narrative and literacy pedagogy research. 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 continues her research alongside High Point University students and educators in the local community.