Directory listing

Mary Jane McIlwain

Mary Jane McIlwain, Ph.D.

  • Associate Professor, Reading Education
  • Program Coordinator, Reading Education

Phone: (334) 844-8288
Campus Mail: 5040 Haley Center
Office Location: 5068 Haley Center

Academic Areas

Reading Education

Short Bio

Dr. McIlwain in the public school system in Northern Virginia for twenty years before entering academia in 2013. Research and practice inform her perspective on the ways the lack of equity inherent in our public education system impacts the disparity in literacy achievement among diverse groups across urban, suburban, and rural contexts.

Professional & Educational Experience

Dr. McIlwain received her B.S. in Elementary Education from Auburn University in 1989. After graduating she returned to the Washington D.C. area to work in the Alexandria City Public Schools system. She worked in first and fourth grade classrooms until her experience and drive led her to George Mason University, where she earned an M.Ed. in Reading in 1997.

She continued working in Alexandria as a Title I reading teacher and a Reading Recovery Teacher. In 2000 she began working in Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) as a reading specialist. Her tenure with FCPS (2000-2013) provided opportunities to be trained in Cognitive Coaching and Professional Learning Communities.

She earned her National Board Certification in Middle Childhood Reading Education in 2004. While still working, she returned to George Mason to earn a Ph.D. in Literacy in 2005. Dr. McIlwain began working with faculty at Auburn University in 2013.

Research Interests

  • Emergent literacy

  • Oral language, reading, and writing development PK-8

  • Cultrually relevant peadogy in language and literacy education

  • Professional development schools