Kerry Soo Von Esch, PhD

PhD, Language, Literacy and Culture, University of Washington
MEd, Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), University of Maryland
BS, Biology and BA equivalence in Spanish, Bucknell University

Program Director, Educating Non-Native English Speakers (ENES)
Associate Professor, Educating Non-Native English Speakers (ENES)

Phone: (206) 296-5771

Building/Room: Loyola 410


Dr. Von Esch is an Assistant Professor in the College of Education at Seattle University. She earned her PhD in Language, Literacy, and Culture from the University of Washington, a master’s degree in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) from the University of Maryland, and a bachelor’s degree in both biology and Spanish. Prior to joining the faculty at Seattle University in 2015, Dr. Von Esch was clinical faculty at the University of Washington teaching in multiple teacher education programs and collaborating on research projects focused on integrating math/science and language. Dr. Von Esch is a former K-12 ESOL teacher and Spanish bilingual classroom teacher. She taught in public schools in Maryland and San Francisco for over 8 years before moving to Seattle to pursue her PhD at the University of Washington.

Research and Teaching Interests

My scholarship focuses on the teaching, learning, and educational equity for emergent bilingual (EB) students in K-12 schools. Specifically, my research examines how mainstream K-12 classroom teachers learn to become critical, reflective, and skilled educators in asset-based pedagogies that facilitate the learning of emergent bilingual students. Asset-based pedagogies validate and draw upon EB students’ racial, cultural, and linguistic identities, knowledge, and skills as assets to student learning instead of seeing them as barriers.


My current studies examine teacher learning of culturally and linguistically sustaining pedagogies through school- and classroom-embedded professional development, such as learning labs and modified lesson study, in content areas such as science, math, or literacy instruction. Building and maintaining research-practice partnerships (RPPs) with local schools and districts are central to this work, and I currently have RPPs with two local elementary schools.