Dr. Ryan W. Pontier is a bilingual consultant, teacher educator, researcher, coach, trainer, keynote speaker, and advocate for bilingualism and bilingual education. He earned a Ph.D. in Language and Literacy Learning in Multilingual Settings from the University of Miami, an M.S.Ed. in Reading from the University of Miami, and a B.A. from Boston College in Hispanic Studies.
He began his career in education with Teach For America in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas where he taught third grade at a dual language bilingual education elementary school in Donna, TX. He then taught second grade at a dual language charter school in Miami, FL before working as the Dean of Students and Associate Site Director with Breakthrough Miami, an educational non-profit organization that prepares economically, linguistically, and culturally diverse students for rigorous high school and college entry.
While in graduate school, Dr. Pontier began to engage in research investigating the ways that young emergent bilingual students (i.e., preschoolers) used language on their path to becoming bilingual and biliterate. Specifically, he became interested in the ways that teachers use their own bilingualism (and/or knowledge of bilingualism) to support students’ language growth.
Currently, Dr. Pontier teaches in the School of Education at Miami Dade College, where he uses knowledge gained from his research to influence future teachers’ practice to create linguistically and culturally appropriate contexts for emergent bilingual students of all ages. Additionally, he is working with his students to explore whether their attitudes toward and knowledge of bilingualism and bilingual education change after taking a teacher preparation, two-course sequence that focuses on the ways that bilinguals use their language and are most appropriately supported in educational contexts. Dr. Pontier’s work has been presented at international, national, state, and local research- and practitioner-based conferences as well as published in a variety of peer-reviewed journals including International Multilingual Research Journal, Bilingual Research Journal, and Language and Education.
He serves as an expert in bilingualism and bilingual education for the United Way of Miami Center for Excellence in Early Education and for Noodle.com, President of Miami-Dade TESOL and Bilingual Education Association, President of the Early Childhood Bilingual Education Council for the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), Vice-Chair of the LULAC Florida Media & Government Relations Committee, and Fellow with the Miami Fellows program through the Miami Foundation. He and his wife are raising two bilingual daughters.