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 herding dogs, sheep, show cattle, golden retrievers, and barn cats. I am a first generation college graduate and a proud alumna of Middle Tennessee State University and Teachers College, Columbia University. I taught middle grades English/Language arts and Social Studies in Athens, Tennessee, Skillman, New Jersey, and Brooklyn, New York. In 2004, I left the east coast and began my 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 since.

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 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.

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

  • Middle Level General Methods
  • Building Learning Communities in Middle and Secondary Classrooms
  • Reading and Writing Across the Curriculum

Research Interests

  • Middle Level Teacher Preparation
  • Policies related to Middle Level Teacher Certification
  • Clinical Teacher Preparation
  • Social Justice and Teacher Education


  • Qualitative Research
  • School-based teacher education

Honors & Awards

  • Distinguished Faculty Award for Teaching- University of Louisville, 2016
  • Kappa Delta Pi Honored Educator—University of Louisville, 2009
  • Sarah Zoch Dewey Scholar—Teachers College, Columbia University, 2002

Professional Memberships

  • American Educational Research Association
  • American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education
  • Association for Middle Level Education

Selected Publications

  • Howell, P., #Gnau, A., #Peavely, L., & #Workman, C. (2021) Field experiences in the ether: The pandemic-induced realities of learning to teach. Current Issues in Middle Level Education
  • Howell, P., Laman, T., #Gnau, A., Bay-Williams, J., Brown, S., Finch, J. (2021). Exploring perspectives across multiple partnership schools: One university’s work to design mutually beneficial partnerships. School University Partnerships
  • Crosby, S., Howell, P., Thomas, S., (2020) Teaching through collective trauma in the era of COVID-19:Trauma-informed practices for middle level learners. Middle Grades Review, 6(2), Article 5.
  • Howell, P., Faulkner, S., Jones, J., & Carpenter. (2018). Preparing middle level educators for 21st century schools: Enduring beliefs, changing times, evolving practices. The Handbook of Research for Middle Level Education, Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publications.
  • Howell, P., Carpenter, J. & Jones, J. (2016). Clinical preparation and partnerships at the middle level: Practices and possibilities. The Handbook of Resources for Middle Level Education Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publications. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publications.