Dr. Stairs is a faculty member in the Department of Literacy, Language and Culture, housed within the School of Education and Human Development. Her research interests include how teachers learn to teach over time, particularly in urban contexts, as well as the influence of choice in the reading curriculum on student outcomes. She has published two books and numerous book chapters and articles in academic journals.
Dr. Stairs is a member of the American Educational Research Association (AERA), International Reading Association (IRA), and the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE). She has served as a literacy consultant for elementary and middle schools in Southern Maine. Dr. Stairs has taught courses including Content-Based Curriculum for English Language Learners, Teacher Research in Literacy, Reading Development and Instruction, and Seminar in Literacy Research and Second Language Literacy. Prior to joining the USM faculty in 2009, Dr. Stairs was assistant professor of English education at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
A former literacy coach and English language arts teacher at the middle and high school levels, Dr. Stairs is passionate about supporting teacher development for improved literacy and language instruction.
"I am deeply interested in how teachers can best support students’ enjoyment of reading and writing while, at the same time, improving their knowledge and skills."