CMLA Chapter-at-Large Faculty Advisors Named

Sarah Pennington and Kristie Smith accept the inaugural faculty advisor position to support aspiring teachers at universities without a collegiate chapter of AMLE

COLUMBUS, OH—The Association for Middle Level Education (AMLE) selected Sarah E. Pennington, Ph.D. and Kristie W. Smith, Ph.D. as the inaugural faculty advisors for the Collegiate Middle Level Association (CMLA) Chapter-at-Large. The CMLA Chapter-At-Large serves student members of AMLE who are enrolled full-time in middle level preparation programs that do not have a CMLA chapter at their university. Faculty advisors serve as a liaison to CMLA and during their three-year term provide guidance, advice, and access to resources to student leaders.

Sarah E. Pennington, Ph.D. is an assistant professor of K-8 language arts at Montana State University, Bozeman. She was previously a reading and language arts teacher at Challenger K8 School of Science and Mathematics, Springstead High School, and Powell Middle School. Pennington is the recipient of several academic awards and honors including the Timothy and Cynthia Shanahan Outstanding Dissertation Award Finalist (2018) and Outstanding Teaching and Learning Award from the College of Education, Health, & Human Development at Montana State University (2018). She is the western regional director for the National Association of Professors of Middle Level Education and serves on the editorial board for Middle School Journal, Current Issues in Middle Level Education, and Literary Research and Instruction.

Kristie W. Smith, Ph.D. is an assistant professor of curriculum and instruction at Gardner-Webb University, Boiling Springs, North Carolina. She is also a literacy instructional specialist at the Gwinnett County Public Schools, a large district outside of Atlanta, where she was previously a middle grades language arts teacher. Smith was an adjunct professor at Mercer University’s Tift College of Education, an assistant professor of communication arts and literature in the English department at Minnesota State University, and an adjunct professor at Georgia College and State University’s Lounsbury School of Education. She was recently appointed as a council member of the Middle Level Education Research Special Interest Group of the American Education Research Association.

AMLE CEO Stephanie Simpson commented, “AMLE is pleased to welcome Sarah and Kristie as our first ever CMLA Chapter-at-Large Faculty Advisors. They each bring outstanding leadership, enthusiasm, and professionalism that will be important in supporting and mentoring aspiring middle grades educators.”


About the Association for Middle Level Education (AMLE)
The Association for Middle Level Education helps middle school educators reach every student, grow professionally, and create great schools. A non-profit membership organization, AMLE members include teachers, principals, counselors, professors, researchers, and others focused on the education of 10- to 15-year-olds.

Media Contact
April Tibbles | AMLE Chief Communications Officer | 800-528-6672 |