400 Seaport Court, Suite 222
Redwood City, California
Senior Research Associate
As a member of the Center for the Study of Culture and Language in Education, housed within the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Program at WestEd, Sexton is involved in school reform, teacher continuum professional development, and the use of technology in education.
Sexton's work focuses on research, evaluation, and development that impact English learners and other underserved minorities, including indigenous communities.
As a result of Sexton's leadership on the Culture and Context in STEM Education project, a network of teachers and administrators from New Mexico, Arizona, Alaska, and the Pacific has been established to support excellence in teaching indigenous students.
A nationally recognized teacher, Sexton supports standards-based exemplary practices, provides academic access for English learners, and enhances teacher quality training through research of assessment models, products, and professional development. As a result of these efforts, new partnerships and resources are being developed, along with presentations at state and national conferences serving as means of dissemination.
Sexton is also called to serve on review panels for projects of national scope and as evaluator of culturally based programs.
She is a published author in science education journals, teacher textbooks and guides, and serves as editor and advisor of children's science books and education modules.
As coauthor of WestEd's Making Science Accessible to English Learners: A Guidebook for Teachers, Sexton presents workshops in conjunction with the book, which succinctly and clearly describes highly effective strategies for teaching language within the content of science, offering many examples in grades 6–12. The book also offers adaptations for upper elementary levels.
In addition, Sexton coauthored Making Mathematics Accessible to English Learners: A Guidebook for Teachers in 2009 and a writer in the book Cultural Validity in Assessment: Addressing Linguistic and Cultural Diversity, 2010.
As a teacher leader and researcher, Sexton motivates and encourages people at all levels of the education system to reflect on their beliefs and practices, serving as a bridge between research and practice. Her projects have a national scope, and also extend to U.S. Territories and Native American nations.
As presenter at the 2011 Pacific Educators Conference, Sexton was published in the most recent proceedings publication by Pacific Resources for Education and Learning, addressing reflective practices in context with this region.
She was appointed as the educator representative by the White House for the Ocean Education Conference and Presidential Exploration Charter panels, a leader in the National Association of Presidential Awardees, and as a reviewer in the U.S. Department of Education's Mathematics and Science Expert Panels and the National Science Foundation programs.
Sexton served as evaluator for the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing on criteria for California teacher certification and cultural competency training, and as collaborator and trainer on Stanford University research projects for classroom and teacher certification performance assessments.
She collaborates across WestEd as advisor and active participant in the national initiative for Reading for Understanding, the LAUSD Master Plan, and professional development design and implementation for various projects. She also developed, translated, and scored large-scale science assessments for a multistate consortium.
Sexton is an advisor, presenter, and writer for state, national, and international science education projects and organizations; for example, she serves as advisor for math and science curriculum and professional development programs in Alaska, New Mexico, and California.
She is a California Presidential Awardee for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching and a National Science Teacher awardee. She also received the WestEd Paul Hood Award for Distinguished Service.
As a former bilingual/science teacher, Sexton coordinated and developed science programs, led professional development and curriculum reform, and taught K–14 students and teachers.
Sexton received a BA in biological sciences from Holy Names University, and both a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential with Bilingual Emphasis (Spanish), a Life Science K–12 Certification from California State University, East Bay and graduate coursework on Science Education Leadership certification.