Education Dept


Cathy Smeltzer Erb
Undergraduate Department Chair and Professor

Cathy Smeltzer Erb is chair of the undergraduate teacher education program, Jesse T. Byler Endowed Chair, and professor of teacher education. Cathy earned a Ph.D. and M.Ed. in curriculum, teaching, and learning from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto (OISE/UT), and a B.S. in vocational home economics education from Eastern Mennonite University. Prior to entering teacher education in 2002, Dr. Smeltzer Erb spent over 15 years as a middle and high school family studies teacher and guidance counselor in Kitchener/Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. She teaches undergraduate and graduate curriculum and methods courses with an emphasis on student-centered pedagogy, constructivism, and equitable classroom environments. She has provided consultation services to pre-service, in-service, and university faculty in the U.S., Canada, Indonesia, and Vietnam in the areas of curriculum development, beginning teacher induction, teacher development, instructional practices, and action research. Her research explores the emotional dimension of beginning teaching, auto-ethnography and personal narrative of the calling to teach, teacher development, equitable instruction, and action research. She has presented at local, national, and international conferences. Cathy received the AILACTE Scholar Award in 2004.

Kathy Evans
Assistant Professor

Katherine Evans has been an Assistant Professor of Education at EMU since 2011. She teaches courses in special education and educational theory and is particularly interested in school and classroom climates, school discipline procedures, and the ways in which restorative justice is applied to educational contexts. She holds a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology and Research from The University of Tennessee in Knoxville where her dissertation research employed phenomenological interviews with middle school students about their experiences with in-school suspension. Prior to graduate school, Evans was a middle and high school special educator for students identified as having learning, behavioral, and emotional challenges. Her research, teaching, and scholarship focus on ways in which teachers participate in creating more just and equitable educational opportunities for all students, including those with disability labels, those who exhibit challenging behavior, and those who are marginalized for a variety of reasons.

While at EMU, Evans has been active in furthering the field of Restorative Justice in Education (RJE) both through scholarship and teaching and by working collaboratively with the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding to develop an interdisciplinary concentration in RJE within the current Masters in Education degree program. Beginning in the Fall of 2014, the EMU Education Department began offering both a concentration and a certificate in RJE. For more information, please refer to the website:

Evans has published several articles and book chapters related to zero tolerance policies, restorative justice, and school discipline practices and regularly presents at professional conferences. Most recently, she and Dr. Dorothy Vaandering published The Little Book of Restorative Justice in Education through Skyhorse Publishing. She is a member of several professional organizations including the National Association of Community and Restorative Justice, the American Educational Research Association, and the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education. In addition, she is involved in local organizations that are promoting restorative justice in Harrisonburg and in Virginia.

Tracy Hough
Assistant Professor

Tracy Hough, assistant professor in teacher education. Tracy earned a BA in liberal studies from University of California, Santa Barbara with teacher credentialing PreK-8 and a M.A. in Education from Eastern Mennonite University. She is currently working on her PhD. in Reading at the Curry School of Education, UVA. Her research interests focus on global literacy and supporting teachers in Lesotho, Africa improve their reading instruction. She teaches in our graduate and undergraduate programs focusing on literacy. She is also our PK-3 coordinator. Her previous teaching experiences include being a Title I Reading Specialist for grades K through 5 as well as a regular elementary teacher in grades K through 6. She has taught not only in Virginia, but California, Oregon, Nevada, and Rhode Island. Tracy holds professional membership in the International Reading Association and the Shenandoah Valley Reading Council where she is coordinator for the Young Author’s Celebration.

Lori Leaman

Lori Hostetler Leaman, Professor in Teacher Education. Lori earned a BS in Special Education with a minor in psychology from Eastern Mennonite University, a Master of Education in Secondary School Administration from James Madison University, and an Ed D in Higher Education Leadership from Nova Southeastern University with an emphasis on faculty and student learning. Lori has 14 years of teaching and school administration experience in rural, urban, and international settings. Lori served as a teacher and then as Middle School Principal for 11 years in Nairobi, Kenya at Rosslyn Academy, an international Christian school with at least 32 ethnicities and a diversity of world religions. Lori’s scholarly research interests and publications include differentiation of instruction for diverse learning and cultural needs, co-teaching, teacher/professor efficacy, formative assessment, and the distinctive characteristics of an Anabaptist pedagogy. In addition, she is also involved in an inter-departmental collaborative research study with EMU’s chemistry and biology departments funded by an NSF grant, to assist in the development of several assessment tools for collegiate student learning. She has numerous professional presentations and holds membership in the Council for Exceptional Children, National Association for Multicultural Education, and the Association for Conflict Resolution. Lori serves as the Coordinator of Special Education, Waynesboro M.A. Education Cohort Administrator, and as Assessment Coordinator for the department. Lori thoroughly enjoys her interactions with students and “assisting students and teachers in discovering and strengthening their gifts and faith for serving Christ in this increasingly interconnected world.”

Beth Lehman
Assistant Professor

Beth Lehman is an Assistant Professor of Teacher Education. She earned her PhD in Literacy, Culture and Language Education at Indiana University, an MA in English Education at Indiana University, and an MA in English at Butler University. Beth’s past work in education includes teaching middle school language arts, middle school literacy coaching, consulting in the teaching of writing, and working within urban high school reform as a teaching and learning coach. Participation in the Hoosier Writing Project, a site of the National Writing Project, deeply influenced Beth’s professional concerns. Additionally, Beth’s work with equity-focused urban school reform impacts her educational priorities. Beth’s research and teaching interests include: the teaching of writing and critical literacy, the development of teacher identities and teacher discourses, and the roles of narrative in school reform and educational research. Beth enjoys teaching, learning and researching within and across educational settings as a means for building partnerships, exploring multiple meanings, and seeking equity and inclusion within richly diverse learning communities.

Ron Shultz

Ron Shultz is an instructor in Teacher Education and the coordinator for the PK-6 program. He earned a B.S. degree in Liberal Arts studies from Eastern Mennonite University with a PK-8 teaching certification, and a M.A. in Education from Millersville University. His previous teaching experiences include one year as a middle school teacher and five years as a fourth grade classroom teacher in Pennsylvania. Ron also taught fourth grade for two years in Virginia. He has served for six years as a teacher and administrator while helping to begin a Christian school in Cusco, Peru, working with students from preschool through sixth grade. Ron has been teaching in the Education Department at EMU since the fall of 2011. He also began his doctoral studies in 2012 at George Mason University with a focus on teacher education and multicultural/multilingual education.

Bonnie Yoder

Bonnie serves in various capacities as an adjunct professor in EMU’s education department. She earned a M.Ed. in School Administration from James Madison University and a BA in Early and Middle Education from Eastern Mennonite University. For almost twenty years, Bonnie worked as a teacher and assistant principal in Rockingham County Public Schools. She was named the National Economics Teacher of the Year for work she did in creating a year-long economics curriculum for second graders that focused on integration and differentiation. Bonnie serves on the children’s ministry leadership team at Eastside Church in Harrisonburg. She is the chair of a college ministry support team for Virginia Mennonite Missions and has participated in several short term mission assignments. She is a past board member at Roberta Webb Child Care Center. Bonnie lives in Broadway with her husband and two teenage daughters.

Paul Yoder
Assistant Professor

Paul J. Yoder is an assistant professor of teacher education. Paul earned his Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction with a concentration in social studies education from the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia. Paul is an EMU graduate with a B.A. in history and an M.A. in education. Before studying at UVA, Paul taught history at Thomas Harrison Middle School and English as a Second Language at Dayton Learning Center. Paul’s scholarship interests include the teaching and learning of history among culturally and linguistically diverse student populations. Paul’s publications and conference presentations have additionally addressed issues related to language, student identity, and the enacted curriculum (see attachment below). He is a member of the American Educational Research Association and the National Council for the Social Studies.

Adjunct Faculty


Erika Gascho
Office Assistant

Erika grew up in Lancaster, PA before moving to Harrisonburg to attend EMU. After graduating with a degree in Elementary Education and Special Education, she taught in Harrisonburg City Public Schools for 4 years. Currently she is taking time off from teaching to spend more time with her young children. Outside of work Erika enjoys camping, baking, and spending time with her family and friends.

Sara Halteman
Administrative Assistant

Sara is a native of the Shenandoah Valley and has been involved with EMU since age 5 when she began taking music lessons in the preparatory music program. Following high school she received a Certificate in Biblical Studies from Rosedale Bible College and a B.S. in Business Administration from EMU. Sara spent 4 1/2 years managing a fair trade retail store in Harrisonburg before returning to EMU to work in the education department. Outside of work Sara enjoys spending time with her husband and two young sons, connecting with friends and family, and playing violin.

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