About Naomi Watkins

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Naomi Watkins, Ph.D. is a writer, educational leader, women's advocate, and community builder who believes that diverse representation plays a vital role in the empowerment of young people. She is the co-author of Champions of Change: 25 Women Who Made History, a book written with Katherine Kitterman and illustrated by Brooke Smart as part of her work for Better Days 2020, a non-profit dedicated to popularizing Utah women’s history through art, education, and legislation. Her personal essay and memoir writing about her journey in and out of the LDS Mormon religion has been featured in a variety of online publications and in anthologies.

Naomi created the first-ever K-12 curriculum and website dedicated to Utah women's history, developed and provided educator professional learning opportunities on this curriculum, and has partnered with other community organizations and institutions, including the Utah Museum of Fine Arts and KUED Channel 7, on a variety of educational projects and exhibits to highlight Utah women’s advocacy in social movements.

Prior to this work, Naomi taught middle school English language arts in the Phoenix area and was an instructional coach in Title I schools in Salt Lake City. She has also worked as a visiting assistant professor in the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Utah, as an assistant professor in the College of Education at the University of La Verne in the Greater Los Angeles area, and as an adjunct instructor at Utah State University. Her research on literacy and language pedagogy, educating English language learners, culturally diverse children's literature, content-area and disciplinary literacy, and teacher education has been published in academic journals such as The Reading Teacher, Journal of Children's Literature, TESOL Journal, and Middle School Journal, and she has presented to educators at district, state, national, and international venues. She specializes in teacher training, curriculum development, research, and consulting with school districts and educators to improve instruction and student outcomes. 

Naomi is cofounder of Aspiring Mormon Women, a 501c3 non-profit organization that supports and encourages Latter-day Saint (Mormon) women's professional and educational pursuits. While Naomi stepped away from running the daily operations of the organization in 2018, the organization continues to provide capacity building, networking, and mentoring on an international scale through an online discussion forum and in-person events. Her work with the organization has been featured by The Salt Lake Tribune, Deseret News, and Religion News Service. 

A native of Southern California, Naomi earned her B.A. in English Education from Brigham Young University, a M.Ed. in Language and Literacy from Arizona State University, and a Ph.D. in Teaching and Learning with a literacy emphasis from the University of Utah. She resides and hikes in the mountains of Salt Lake City.