Kristiina is the Vice President Academic and Dean at Renison University College, affiliated with The University of Waterloo. She is a full professor in the Social Development Studies and Culture and Language Studies Departments at Renison. Kristiina received her Ph.D. in Reading Education from The University of Georgia (Athens, GA) in 2004. Prior to her academic career, Kristiina was an FSL and ESL teacher in Ontario and Québec. Kristiina’s research and practice are framed in community-engaged scholarship that aims to use the space of research to engage with practical problems defined by community stakeholders. One of her overarching goals is to give voice to marginalized individuals and communities.

Her more recent work examines the impact of culturally sustaining early literacy instructional practices on the language and literacy development of adolescent English language learners with limited prior schooling and explores the use of decolonizing pedagogies in educational contexts. Her research can be found in journals such as TESOL QuarterlyThe Journal of Adolescent and Adult LiteracyThe Journal of Children’s LiteratureMiddle School Journal, and Oral History Forum histoire orale. Kristiina was born and raised in Waterloo Region and is committed to giving back to her community. Kristiina’s relationship with Strong Start to Reading started as a Strong Start Volunteer.

Kristiina serves as the Secretary for the Strong Start Board of Directors.