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, moving two years later to P.S. 25 in the Bronx, the first fully bilingual school in the Northeast. She later taught in the Puerto Rican Studies Department at Brooklyn College before moving on to the University of Massachusetts where she completed her doctoral degree and later taught preservice and practicing teachers 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), as well as a memoir, Brooklyn Dreams: My Life in Public Education (2015), published by Harvard Education Press. 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 books that helped define the field of education in the twentieth century. In addition to her books, she has written dozens of book chapters and journal articles on these topics, including in such journals as The Harvard Education Review, Educational Leadership, Language Arts, The New Educator, among others. She is editor of the Language, Culture, and Teaching Series (Routledge), currently comprising over twenty titles.
Dr. Nieto has received numerous awards for her scholarly work, teaching, activism, and advocacy, including six honorary doctorates. She has been a Visiting Scholar at various universities in the United States, as well as in Puerto Rico, and Spain. In 2000, she was awarded a Bellagio Residence by the Rockefeller Foundation, 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 and a granddaughter, and are the proud grandparents of 12 grandchildren.