Dr. Leslie W. Schmidt is a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Reading and Elementary Education Department at UNC-Charlotte. She attended East Carolina University where she received a Bachelor of Science and a Masters Degree in Elementary Education (K-6). Prior to completing her doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Leslie taught at the elementary level for 11 years as a first grade, third grade, and reading resource teacher across the Southeast. Her research interests center on equitable literacy practices, such as culturally responsive teaching, and preparing preservice teachers for increasingly linguistically, culturally, and racially diverse elementary classrooms. Publications include topics such as centering equity within the gradual release model and preservice teachers’ understandings of culturally responsive teaching within an elementary literacy context. She currently teaches elementary literacy courses that emphasize research, theory, and instructional practices related to phonological awareness, phonemic awareness, phonics instruction, assessment-based instruction, vocabulary, fluency, and reading comprehension.