Dr. Brenda Custodio is retired from Columbus City Schools (Ohio) where she served as a middle and high school ESL teacher, a district-level coach for secondary ESL teachers, and a building administrator of a newcomer secondary academy. She worked with the school district to help establish a newcomer program for middle and high school students with a large refugee population, most of whom had limited prior schooling.
Dr. Custodio developed the program for use by Ohio State University to train alternative license candidates through a federal grant and served as a coach for several years for the teachers enrolled in the program. She has served as an educational consultant for several school districts in Ohio, and has worked as a teacher trainer for the Ohio Department of Education on the topics of refugee education and unaccompanied minors. She has developed curriculum and programming for both high school and adult refugee students with limited home language literacy.
Her professional responsibilities have included president and conference chair of Ohio TESOL, chair of the Secondary Schools Interest Section and the Refugee Concerns Interest Section of TESOL, Inc., and membership on the international Professional Development Committee. She has been awarded the Winston Churchill Traveling Fellowship Grant to visit Australia, The Moira McKenzie Literacy Grant to work with Dr. Gay Su Pennell, and is a five-time recipient of the Ameritech Impact II Grant. She received the Ohio TESOL Outstanding Achievement Award twice, and also the 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award by the same organization.
She is currently preparing pre-service and in-service teachers at the Ohio State University to work in second language classrooms. As a frequent presenter at both the state and national level, she has presented on the topics of: literacy development for adolescents, unique needs of refugee students, culturally diverse classrooms, newcomer programming, and students with interrupted formal education. Her first book on the topic of Newcomers has led to site visits in Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland, Florida, Minnesota, Washington, California, Texas, Ohio, and Toronto, Ontario.