Meet Our Staff


Cathrene Connery

Associate Professor

Teacher Preparation

Simkins (Alder) Building

Phone: (509) 865-8549

Ext: 2127


Dr. M. Cathrene Connery is an Associate Professor of Bilingual Education at Heritage University on the Yakama Nation in Washington state. Over the past 30 years, she has contributed as a public school elementary teacher, instructional coach, consultant, professor, writer, editor, and researcher.

While completing a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts in Painting and Master’s degree in Elementary Education from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, she worked with local school children at the Anita Purves Nature Center. Students in Dr. Connery’s elementary Content English as a Second Language and Spanish-English dual immersion classrooms in western Colorado motivated her to pursue a second Master’s in Bilingual & ESL Education from Adams State College.  She went on to obtain a Doctorate of Philosophy in Language, Literacy, & Sociocultural Studies with an Emphasis in Bilingual & ESL Education from the University of New Mexico while supervising student teachers and teaching for the Albuquerque Public Schools.

Across her career, Dr. Connery has served as an educator and advocate for linguistically and culturally rich, K-21 dual language learners; students with indigenous, refugee, and immigrant histories; and their dedicated educators in western Colorado, New Mexico, Washington state, upstate New York, Harlem, and the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Her teaching, scholarship, and research utilizes creativity, cultural-historical theory, and literacy education to actualize educational equity, democracy, and social justice. An award-winning author of multiple books and presentations, Dr. Connery’s recent scholarship has focused on the benefits of children’s literature for youth with incarcerated parents; culturally responsive teaching-learning practices; recent innovations in teachers’ professional development experiences; and the cultivation of green literacy in the PreK-12 classroom.

In returning to Heritage University, Dr. Connery recognizes her academic home on the traditional lands of the indigenous peoples represented by the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation. She offers gratitude for the land itself; those who have stewarded it for generations; and for the opportunity to study, learn, work, and be in community on Yakmumamí Tiichám, the land of the Yakama people.