Matthew Knoester is a Professor and Chair of the Educational Studies department at Ripon College. Previously he served as an Assistant and then Associate Professor of Education at the University of Evansville and is a former teacher in the Boston Public Schools, primarily at the Mission Hill School, founded by Deborah Meier.
His research analyzes teaching practices and focuses on literacy development, education for democratic citizenship, equity and anti-racism, bilingualism, and authentic assessments. Books he has written or edited include: Democratic Education in Practice: Inside the Mission Hill School (Teachers College Press, 2012); International Struggles for Critical Democratic Education (Peter Lang, 2012); Teaching in Themes: An Approach to Schoolwide Learning, Creating Community, and Differentiating Instruction (co-edited with Deborah Meier and Katherine Clunis D'Andrea, Teachers College Press, 2015); Beyond Testing: Seven Assessments of Students and Schools More Effective than Standardized Tests (co-authored with Deborah Meier, Teachers College Press, 2017); and Learning to Cross Divides: Examining Critical Multicultural and Bilingual Schools (co-authored with Assaf Meshulam, Routledge, 2023).
In addition, he has written many peer-reviewed articles for journals such as Educational Policy, international Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, Journal of Literacy Research, Journal of Research in Reading, Journal of Social Studies Research, and Race Ethnicity and Education.
At Ripon and the University of Evansville he has taught various courses at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. They generally focus on literacy development, social studies, elementary curricula, assessment, and research methods. In 2023 he was honored to receive the May Bumby Severy Award for excellence in undergraduate teaching at Ripon College.
Although he is a native English speaker, he has been a (nearly) life-long student of the Spanish language and the varying difficulties people experience learning multiple languages. Following extensive study in Colombia and other Spanish-speaking locations, he taught for several years in a bilingual school in Boston, he and his partner sent their two children to a bilingual school in Milwaukee, and he continues to conduct research about bilingual education.
He was born into and raised by a family of Dutch immigrants (he is second-generation) in Grand Rapids, MI and received a Bachelor of Arts degree from St. Olaf College, Master of Education from Harvard University, and Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he wrote his dissertation under the direction of Michael W. Apple. He is a former National Board-certified teacher (NBPTS) in the area of middle childhood-generalist.
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