Dr. Sonia Nieto has devoted her professional life to questions of diversity, equity, and social justice in education. A native of Brooklyn, New York, she began her teaching career in 1966 in an intermediate school in Brooklyn, later moving to P.S. 25 in the Bronx, the first fully bilingual school in the Northeast. Her university career started in the Puerto Rican Studies Department at Brooklyn College. She and her family moved to Massachusetts in 1975, where she completed her doctoral degree at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, returning a year later to begin her long academic career there. She taught preservice and practicing teachers, and doctoral students for 26 years before retiring in 2006.
Dr. Nieto’s research focuses on multicultural education, teacher education, and the education of students of culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. She has written or edited eleven books, including, most recently, Why We Teach Now (2015), and Finding Joy in Teaching Students of Diverse Backgrounds: Culturally Responsive and Socially Just Practices in U.S. Classrooms (2013). Her first book, Affirming Diversity, is now in its 6th edition (the 2008 and 2012 editions were co-authored by her friend and colleague Patty Bode). Affirming Diversity is used widely in teacher education courses in the United States and abroad, and the first edition (1992) was selected for the Museum of Education’s Education Readers’ Guide as one of the 100 books that helped define the field of education in the twentieth century. Dr. Nieto has also written dozens of book chapters as well as articles in such journals as The Harvard Education Review, Educational Leadership, Language Arts, and The New Educator, among others. She is editor of the Language, Culture, and Teaching Series (Routledge), currently comprising over twenty titles. Her memoir, Brooklyn Dreams: My Life in Public Education (Harvard Education Press) was published in 2015.
Dr. Nieto has received numerous awards for her scholarly work, teaching, activism, and advocacy, including six honorary doctorates. In 2016, she was ranked among the top 35 university-based education scholars in the RHSU Edu-Scholar Public Influence Rankings (http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/rick_hess_straight_up/2016/01/the_2016_rhsu_edu-scholar_public_influence_rankings.html) In 2000, she was awarded a Bellagio Residence by the Rockefeller Foundation. She has served as a Visiting Scholar at various universities in the United States, as well as in Puerto Rico and Spain, and in 2012 she was selected as the Wits-Claude Distinguished Scholar at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. She was elected as a Laureate of Kappa Delta Pi (2011), a Fellow of AERA (2011), and a member of the National Academy of Education (2015), and she has been profiled in Inside the Academy http://insidetheacademy.asu.edu/sonia-nieto
Sonia Nieto is married to Angel Nieto, a poet, children’s book author, and former middle and high school teacher. They have raised two daughters, Alicia and Marisa, and a granddaughter, Jazmyne, and are the proud grandparents of 12 grandchildren.