Mariana Castro, Ph.D. is Director of Standards for WIDA at the Wisconsin Center for Education Research, University of Wisconsin- Madison, where she has also served as Director of Academic Language and Literacy Initiatives and Director of Teaching and Learning. Mariana is, foremost, an educator, having taught science, ESL courses, and bilingual classes in K-12 systems. As an educator, she also lead professional development for ESL and bilingual educators at her district. Mariana has also taught undergraduate and graduate courses at UW-Whitewater and Edgewood College in Madison, Wisconsin, where she lives with her husband, Andy, and three children, Amy, Andrés and Diego. During her career as an educator, she worked with multilingual students, students with significant cognitive disabilities, and students with limited or interrupted formal education, and collaborated with educators and administrators in and out of the classroom. It was this work that has provided the foundation and inspiration for her career.
Over the last ten years, Mariana has worked with in-service teachers and administrators across the US and abroad on building capacity related to instruction and programming with a focus on language development. She has also presented at national conferences, including TESOL, Learning Forward, NABE, La Cosecha, ASCD, AERA, AAAL and at many regional and local conferences across the country. Internationally, she has worked with educators in Mexico, Dubai, Thailand, and Argentina in designing spaces for meaningful participation and multilingual development for language learners.
Mariana’s service to the field include serving as an expert in policy and theory-to-practice panels related to the education of English learners, being an active member of the Second Language Research Special Interest Group at the American Educational Research Association, and serving as a reviewer for the South African Journal of Education and the TESOL Journal. She participated in the development of the Framework for English Language Proficiency Development Standards corresponding to the Common Core State Standards and the Next Generation Science Standards and in the development of a variety of standards, including WIDA English Language Development Standards, K-12; WIDA Spanish Language Development Standards, K-12; and WIDA Early Language Development Standards for children 2.5 through 5.5 years old, in English and Spanish. She has also lead the development of multiple publications derivative of the aforementioned standards. Mariana has also served as Principal Investigator for a variety of grants and research related to early language development, English language development, Spanish language development, data literacy, and family engagement. Mariana’s research interests also include translanguaging and social justice in education.
Mariana’s publications include a co-edited volume Common core, bilingual and English language learners: A resource for educators (Guadalupe Valdés and Kate Menken), Formative language assessment for English learners: A Four-Step Process (MacDonald, Boals, Cook & White), a chapter in Intersectionality and urban education: Identities, policies, spaces, and power (Mancilla & Boals), and articles in Language Magazine, Soleado, and the WIDA Focus Bulletin series.