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Susan Atkins

English Language Development (ELD) Coordinator; Lecturer III in Teacher Education; Research and Design Specialist, TeachingWorks


(734) 239-2151


Room 1302 A
610 E. University Ave.
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-1259

Susan Atkins in an instructor in the Educator Preparation Program and a research specialist in TeachingWorks. Most of her work centers on preparing teachers to work with multilingual learners. As a Marsal School lecturer, she teaches literacy and second language acquisition courses to students pursuing the MDE ESL teaching endorsement and contributes to the Ann Arbor Public School Summer ESL Academy (SESLA), which serves local youth and provides teaching interns with experience teaching multilingual students. In her role with TeachingWorks, Susan creates teacher education curriculum materials and tools to support novice teachers in developing their practice with multilingual learners. She collaborates on several projects with partners using high-leverage practices and frequently provides professional development in university and school-based settings. Susan also coordinates the sequence of ELD coursework for teaching interns who pursue the MDE ESL Endorsement. This additional certificate is open to undergraduate elementary and secondary interns, ELMAC, and SecMAC interns. 

Susan honed her own practice as a bilingual teacher in California. For 10 years, she taught brilliant Spanish and English speaking students of all different backgrounds and proficiency levels. It was imperative that Susan made content accessible to all of the students in her classroom, and now she has spent her career ensuring that other teachers can do the same. Susan believes all multilingual learners deserve high-quality access to a full education and are given the opportunity to showcase their assets in the classroom. She enjoys supporting novice teachers in this work so that they are adequately prepared to educate all students.

Upon moving from California to Michigan, Susan worked as a Title III program administrator, and English Language Development teacher, and then joined the staff at Mitchell Elementary School, where she collaborated with a U-M team through the Mitchell Scarlett Teaching and Learning Collaborative. Susan has presented at the TESOL International Convention, La Cosecha Dual Language Conference, and the California Association for Bilingual Education (CABE) Annual Conference. She is a consultant for the Center for Applied Linguistics, a national nonprofit in Washington, D.C., and for the Michigan Department of Education SIOP Trainer of Trainers program. She consults on various other projects related to instruction for multilingual learners. 

Susan holds a master’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley and received her teacher bilingual certification in California.


What is the core work of teaching, and what is required to learn it and to do it? Developing answers to these questions is at the center of our mission at TeachingWorks.