In Memoriam: Dr. Ivannia Soto-Hinman

April 28, 2024

Ivannia SotoDr. Ivannia Soto-Hinman, professor of education, passed away on April 23 at the age of 48 after an eight-year journey with cancer.

A beloved and renowned bilingual education scholar and mentor at Whittier College for 15 years, Soto-Hinman’s relentless optimism and wide-reaching advocacy in education reform inspired colleagues and influenced countless aspiring and veteran educators across California and the nation.

“Ivannia lived life vibrantly, tenaciously, and joyfully and these qualities shaped her scholarship and her teaching,” said sal johnston, vice president of academic affairs and dean of faculty. “She was a fierce advocate for equitable and culturally responsive education, an innovative leader in multilingual education, and a deeply caring mentor to her students. Done well, education positively changes lives, and Ivannia’s legacy is one of positive change.”

The prolific author of 12 books, Soto-Hinman’s groundbreaking language acquisition methods were published in her highly-regarded and oft-cited book “ELL Shadowing: A Catalyst for Change.” Her proven methods made Soto-Hinman a sought-after expert on multilingual education, frequently delivering trainings and workshops to school districts, county offices, and education systems across the country.

"Ivannia truly loved her students, the College, and the Whittier community,” said Lauren Swanson, associate professor of science education. “Long ago, I lost count of the number of times I met people who had been positively impacted by Ivannia’s teachings, trainings, and passion for education. I am proud she was my colleague, and I will forever be grateful for her inspirational leadership."

Soto-Hinman held leadership roles and maintained affiliations with the California Association for Bilingual Education (CABE), California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC), and the California Association of Bilingual Teacher Education (CABTE). As such, she was an influential figure in state legislation and education standards.

"Dr. Soto-Hinman, our esteemed colleague, has been a beacon of inspiration in bilingual education, catalyzing significant change across Los Angeles and Southern California,” said Cean Colcord, associate professor and chair of Whittier’s department of education. “Through her unwavering dedication and innovative approaches, she has empowered bilingual children and teachers, fostering a rich and inclusive learning environment. Dr. Soto-Hinman’s work transcends mere academics; it embodies a deep commitment to cultural understanding and linguistic diversity. Her collaborative efforts have elevated and bridged cultural divides, paving the way for a brighter, more equitable future for all."

In 2011, Soto-Hinman founded the Institute for Culturally and Linguistically Responsive Teaching (ICLRT) at Whittier College. Over the last decade, she led efforts to establish Whittier College as a leader in bilingual education pedagogy, launching the Bilingual Authorization Program (BILA) in 2018 and hosting the inaugural Bilingual Education Summit in September 2023.

Soto-Hinman earned a Ph.D. in education from the Claremont Graduate University, and dual master’s and bachelor degrees from Biola University. As part of her postdoctoral work at Stanford University, she led the School Redesign Network from 2005 to 2007.

Soto-Hinman is survived by her husband, Ron Skamfer, her parents Ron and Estella Soto, her sister Arlene Soto ‘94, and her loyal furry companion Frida.

In lieu of flowers or other gifts, the family asks you to donate to the Institute for Culturally and Linguistically Responsive Teaching (ICLRT) or the Bilingual Authorization Program (BILA) scholarship in honor of Ivannia’s life and passion.