Leah van Belle

Leah  van Belle
Director of School Partnerships and Clinical Practice for the Office of Clinical Experiences
College of Education, #221, 5425 Gullen Mall, Detroit, MI 48202

Office Hours: Call or email for an appointment

(313) 577-1644
(313) 577-4091

  • Ph.D. Educational Studies: Literacy, Language, and Culture - University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
  • Advanced Training in Quantitative & Qualitative Research Methods - Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
  • Master of Arts in Teaching Reading - Oakland University, Rochester, MI
  • Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education - Oakland University, Rochester, MI                           


As a first-generation high school and college graduate, Dr. Leah van Belle is deeply committed to supporting urban schools and believes that education is one of the most powerful tools for educational access, equity, and social justice. Leah serves as the Director of School Partnerships and Clinical Practice at Wayne State University. In this role she develops and maintains partnerships between the college and PK-12 schools, with emphasis on co-constructing clinical models of urban teacher preparation. She designs and leads professional development for university clinical instructional coaches, teaching interns, and PK-12 mentor teachers. She is part of the team co-designing The Dream Keepers, an urban teacher residency program in partnership with Detroit Public Schools Community District and the Michigan Dept. of Education. Leah teaches clinical literacy methods in an elementary school in Detroit in collaboration with a grade 5 teacher; interns in the course develop their teaching skills in a meaningful clinical context. Leah is the lead instructor for Becoming an Urban Educator, which includes apprenticeships and social justice inquiry projects in Detroit schools. Among Leah's research interests are urban education; culturally sustaining pedagogy, literature, and curriculum; clinical models of teacher preparation; PK-12 teacher preparation and professional development; university-school-community partnerships; and literacy education.

Area Of Expertise

  • Urban education
  • Culturally relevant curriculum, texts, & instruction
  • Education as a tool for social justice
  • Transformative teacher education
  • Evidence-based best practices in teaching and learning
  • Literacy education
  • Children's texts as tools for social and cultural reproduction and resistance


Courses Taught

  • Becoming an Urban Educator
  • Analysis of Elementary Teaching
  • Analysis of Secondary Teaching
  • Directed Teaching 





 The impact of microaggressions in higher education. Workshop.
*van Belle*, L., Miles, B., Kos, P., & Salemassi, F. 2014 Madonna University, Livonia, MI.

Take guided reading to the next level: Coaching readers. Presentation at Michigan Reading Association’s 58th Annual Conference.
*van Belle, L.A.* 2014 Grand Rapids, MI.

Beyond narratives: Teaching persuasive reading & writing. Presentation at Michigan Reading Association’s 58th Annual Conference.
*van Belle, L.A.* 2014 Grand Rapids, MI.

Invited panelist for Reclaiming the conversation: Teacher preparation and induction: Exploring current and future trends in teacher training.
*van Belle, L.A.* 2014 Metro Bureau of Schools, Metro Detroit, MI.

“What do you mean I’m going to co-teach with another intern for student teaching?”: Paired internships as a model for the preparation of effective urban educators: Learning from clinical medical education.
*van Belle, L.A.*, Lucas, L.L., Frankel, B., Pitt-Sykes, G., & Frankel, K. 2015 Urban Education Summit, Eastern Michigan University

Asking ourselves the tough questions: Reimagining teacher preparation through clinical practice. Paper presented at the 69th Annual Conference of the American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education.
Jackson, C.L., & *van Belle, L.A.* 2016 Las Vegas, NV

TeachDETROIT: Partnerships for preparing teachers and supporting student achievement. Presentation at the 60th Annual Conference of the Michigan Reading Association.
Crawford-McKinney, K., McIlhagga,, K., & *van Belle, L.A.* 2016 Detroit, MI.

Invited panelist for Legislative Session on Teacher Preparation at the 60th Annual Conference of the Michigan Reading Association.
*van Belle, L.A.* 2016 Detroit, MI.



Making it stick: Professional learning and literacy coaching
*van Belle, L.* 2013 Michigan Reading Journal (45) 2 

Beyond the Common Core and the politics of educational reform: The role of school counselors and teachers in facilitating the college and career readiness of urban students
Jones, K.R., *van Belle, L.A.*, Johnson, G.V., & Simmons, R.W. 2015 The Obama administration and educational reform: Toward new 21st century schools for the global knowledge economy. In E.B. Zamani-Gallaher (Ed.). Cambridge,MA: