Penny Howell

Penny Howell
Professor and Middle Level Teacher Education
Department of Elementary, Middle & Secondary Teacher Education
Room 290 - College of Education and Human Development
penny.howell @

Dr. Howell's curriculum vitae [PDF]


The road that led me to the University of Louisville began on a small sheep farm in Athens, Tennessee where my family raised and trained sheep dogs, show cattle, golden retrievers, and random barn cats. I am a first generation college graduate and a proud alumni of Middle Tennessee State University. After graduating from college, my husband and I moved to the northeast to complete graduate school. In 2004 we began our grand adventure in the state of Kentucky. While I do not often speak of the Big Blue school 70 miles east of Louisville, it is responsible for bringing me to the Bluegrass State. I started my work at the University of Louisville in 2007 and have enjoyed every moment.

There are many things I love about the University of Louisville! My colleagues are top-notch and challenge me to work hard. I also value the intellectual freedom and space that I have to explore innovative approaches to prepare teachers and build strong partnerships with our public schools. I am passionate about young adolescents and how to best prepare teachers to engage them in learning experiences that are developmentally responsive, rigorous, and meaningful. My research focuses on middle level teacher education and policies related to middle level certification.

I have three children—two middle school boys and a second grade daughter—and a large, goofy, silver Labrador Retriever named Amos. In my free time, you will always find me with my husband and children. We love to play any sport that involves a ball, ride bikes, take long walks with our dog, and plan our next trip. Our family hobbies include traveling, hiking, camping, and binge watching Outrageous Acts of Science and America’s Funniest Videos.

Educational Background

  • EdD, Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, NY—Curriculum and Instruction-Teacher Education
  • EdM, Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, NY—Curriculum and Instruction
  • BS, Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, TN—Elementary Education

Teaching Areas

  • Adolescent literacy
  • Literacy across content areas
  • Oral literacy

Research Interests

  • Middle School Teacher Education
  • Social Justice and Teacher Education
  • Middle School Curriculum
  • Oral Literacy in the Middle School
  • Standards of Discourse in the Classroom
  • School-University Partnerships
  • Trauma informed/sensitive/responsive practices


  • Qualitative Research
  • School-based teacher education

Honors & Awards

  • 2016 University of Louisville Distinguished Faculty Award for Teaching
  • University of Louisville Faculty Favorite, 2008-13, 2015-17
  • Kappa Delta Pi Honored Educator, University of Louisville, 2009

Professional Memberships

  • American Educational Research Association
  • American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education
  • National Middle School Association
  • Kentucky Middle School Association

Selected Publications

  • Howell, P., Carpenter, J. & Jones, J. (2016). Clinical preparation and partnerships at the middle level: Practices and Possibilities. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publications.
  • Rintamaa, M. & Howell, P. (2017) "Drawing on the Layers of a Partnership to Prepare Middle Level Teachers," Middle Grades Review: 3(3), Article 2.
  • Howell, P., Rintamaa, M., Faulkner, S., & DiCicco, M. (2017) Four faculty members, three universities, two modes of technology, and one eighth grade classroom: Collaboration in middle level teacher education. Middle School Journal. 48 (5), 14-20.
  • Howell, P., (2016). Accreditation and Middle Level Teacher Preparation Programs. In Mertens, S., Caskey, M. & Flowers, N. (eds.). Encyclopedia of Middle Grades Education (2nd Volume).
  • Howell, P. & Gnau, A. (2018) Experiences and Engagement: Teachers’ Perspectives on a School-University Partnership. Paper to be presented at the annual meeting of the American Research Association (AERA). April 12-17, New York, New York.