Dr. Ruslana Westerlund is an associate researcher at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Wisconsin Education Research Center, WIDA Consortium, Academic Language and Literacy Initiatives Department. Her responsibilities include re-conceptualization and development of tools for the English Language Development (ELD) Standards Framework by working with teachers and researchers to inform the WIDA ELD Standards Framework.
She is bicultural and trilingual, having been born and raised in Ukraine. Ruslana is an English language development specialist of culturally and linguistically diverse learners. She believes that language development for these learners is situated at the intersection of the societal, school, and student socio-cultural contexts (Cortez, 1986) and that education of such learners encompasses issues beyond language and is deeply rooted in social justice.
Before joining WIDA, Ruslana worked as an ELD Specialist at K-12, teacher preparation programs at undergraduate and graduate levels and served as an ELD and refugee student specialist at the Minnesota Department of Education. In this role she monitored school districts' compliance with Title III and state laws pertaining to the education of English learners. During that time she also created EL Quality Indicators that covered federal legal requirements for serving ELLs equitably. In addition, Ruslana managed grants from the Office of Refugee Resettlement and collaborated with various state departments to provide wrap-around services to refugee children.
Ruslana completed her doctorate degree at Bethel University in 2014 where she studied educational leadership. Her dissertation explored teachers' sense-making of the WIDA ELD Standards in their daily practice.
In her spare time, she enjoys blogging at Reclaiming The Language For Social Justice about the issues of education of English Learners. Ruslana is married and has two children and two dogs. She lives in Madison, Wisconsin.