Lea Ann Christenson


LeaAnn Christenson

Contact Info

Hawkins Hall, Room 413K


Ph.D., Curriculum and Instruction, University of Maryland

Areas of Expertise

Early Literacy
STEM and CT Education for Young Children
Young Multilingual Learners


Dr. Lea Ann Christenson is a Professor of Early Childhood Education at Towson University’s College of Education. She earned her Ph.D. from the University of Maryland in Curriculum and Instruction, with an emphasis on early literacy. In spring 2020, she was a visiting Scholar at DPU, Danish School of Education in Copenhagen.

At the beginning of her career, she taught kindergarten through second grade and ESOL and was an Assistant Principal in California public schools. Before coming to TU, she was a Reading Specialist at the Maryland State Department of Education, where she assisted with the development of Pre-K English Language Arts Standards and statewide professional development for implementation of these standards. Dr. Christenson continues to collaborate and conduct research with educators internationally (including Denmark, El Salvador, Zimbabwe, Nepal and China) to better understand and develop professional development for Early Childhood teachers.

Research Interests

Dr. Christenson's research interests include professional development for pre-service and in-service teachers in urban and international settings, early literacy, STEM and CT instruction for young learners, particularly dual language learners. 

Selected Publications

Laster, B. & Christenson, L. (2024). Zoom out to zoom in globally: Culturally sustaining pedagogy in professional development for literacy educators. In C. Finkbeiner, R. Zaidi, Z., Roy-Campbell, D., Pallais, C., Ikpeze & B. Buch (Eds.) Redirecting the Flow of Knowledge: From the Individual, to the Local, to the National, to the International Perspective. Literacy Research Association (LRA), International Study Group.

Christenson, L. & Makokoro, P. (2023) Teacher Professional Development in Zimbabwe: Bridging Resources to Serve Young Children. Educational Research and Reviews, 18(12), 425-435. 

Christenson, L. & James, J. (2022). Dig In, Outdoor Learning with STEM: 
Learning with Young Children. Gryphon House. 

Christenson, L., Cawley, H., & Daniels, J. (2021). Leveraging virtual learning environments to strengthen pre-service early childhood teacher preparation: Program pivots due to COVID-19 empowers future practice. Journal of the International Society for Teacher Education, 25(2)9- 25.  

Christenson, L. (2020). Strength in Diversity: A Positive Approach to 
Teaching Dual-Language Learners in Early Childhood. Gryphon House. 

Selected Grant Work

2024, 2023. Using Robotics and Scratch Jr to Cultivate Young Children's Creative Minds: Putting Theory into Action by Early Childhood Education Pre-Service Teachers. $45,073. Maryland Center for Computing Education (MCCE). Funds provide training opportunities for pre-service teachers on CT after which they will plan and deliver a CT summer camp for young children at the Towson Child Care Center and a Judy Center in Baltimore City, and Baltimore City School. 

2023. Family Engagement to Cultivate Young Children’s Creative Minds via CT. $7,999. Maryland Center for Computing Education (MCCE). Funds provided Family Engagement activities at the Towson University Childcare Center and professional development on CT for pre-service teachers.

2023, 2022, 2021, 2020, 2019. Kahlert Foundation’s English Language Learner Student Success Fund at Towson University. $1,000-$7,000 per year. Provided open ended materials for summer enrichment activities for MLL Baltimore City preK and kindergarten students. Pre-service teachers created a booklet of summer learning activities which were sent home with the materials.

Honors & Awards

Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, TU FACET, 2023

Equity Fellow, TU College of Education, 2018

Gloria A. Neubert Excellence in Teaching Award, TU College of Education, 2015