December 2020
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Dr. Brenda Custodio is the Assistant Newsletter Editor for RCIS and is retired from Columbus City Schools in Columbus, Ohio. She worked as an ESL classroom teacher at the middle and high school level for 15 years. She then became a district-level resource teacher for the ESL department and later a building administrator for the Columbus Global Academy, an all-ESL middle and high school for new arrivals. The population of ESL students in Columbus City Schools has always been predominantly refugee-background students, initially from Southeast Asia, then Ethiopia and Somalia, and now from Bhutan and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Columbus has the second-largest population of Somali students in the US and the largest Bhutanese/Nepali population. Brenda helped to create the newcomer program and the sheltered content courses for secondary level English learners for the district.

Brenda is a frequent presenter at both the state and national level on topics of literacy development, refugee resettlement, newcomer programs, trauma-informed teaching for immigrants, and SIFE. She has written three professional books:

  • How to Design and Implement a Newcomer Program by Allyn and Bacon (2010)
  • Students with Interrupted Formal Education: Bridging Where They Are and What They Need by Corwin Publishing in 2017 (Co-authored with Judith O’Loughlin)
  • Supporting the Journey of English Learners with Trauma (co-authored with Judith O’Loughlin) by the University of Michigan Press

Dr. Custodio received her master’s and doctorate degrees from The Ohio State University and currently serves as an adjunct professor for both Ohio State and Ohio Dominican Universities in their TESOL endorsement programs. She is past president of Ohio TESOL and has served as chair for both the Refugee Concerns Interest Section and the Secondary Schools Interest Section of TESOL, International. She received a travel grant in 1998 to visit Australia and study their ESL programs, has worked with teachers in Mexico and Japan, and worked one summer in China preparing undergraduate students to attend graduate school in the United States. In 2019 and 2020, she visited Rwanda with the refugee resettlement organization USTogether, where she worked with various non-profit groups and also conducted workshops with public school teachers.

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