About Us

Margarita Calderón, Ph.D.


President & CEO

Margarita is  Professor Emerita, Johns Hopkins University has served on national preschool-12th literacy panels and advisory boards (National Research Council, ETS, WIDA, National Center for Learning Disabilities, National Literacy Panel for Language Minority Children and Youth). She is a consultant for the U.S. Department of Justice and Office of Civil Rights. Her research interest focuses on professional development, effective schools, language and literacy development of English learners.  

She was principal investigator in a 5-year study in middle and high schools called ExC-ELL funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York that developed a program to train math, science, social studies, and language arts teachers on integrating academic language, reading comprehension, writing skills and content knowledge to help ELs and their non-EL peers achieve in the mainstream classrooms. ExC-ELL has been widely implemented in many schools, districts, and state-wide Institutes since then.

Dr. Calderón and George Washington University are current recipients of a Title III five-year grant to implement and study “A Whole-School Approach to Professional Development with ExC-ELL” in schools in Virginia. 

She has over 100 publications, is an international speaker, invited to do keynote speeches at major conferences, and conducts comprehensive professional development programs throughout the country.

Shawn Slakk


Vice President of Operations
& Senior Consultant

Shawn has more than 30 years of success in instruction, administration and professional development delivery at the school, district and state level. Leveraging extensive experience in ESL, English and Spanish instruction across all grade levels and curricula. 

Shawn has also held leadership positions with the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools, and Guilford County Schools. As the RETELL (Rethinking Equity and Teaching for English Language Learners) Coordinator for the Massachusetts Dept. of Elementary and Secondary Education, he helped develop the RETELL Endorsement - a set of Sheltered English Instruction endorsement courses  training of approximately 40,000 educators. Since 2015, Shawn has worked with Margarita helping teachers and administrators on consolidating language, literacy, and content for English Learners.

Shawn’s C&I doctorate program from UVA focuses on supporting the needs and instruction of additional language learners and their teachers in reading and writing. He holds an MA in TESOL from EWU, an MSA from UNC at Greensboro, and a double major for his BA: English and Spanish Education from Whitworth University. He is a former Certified WIDA Trainer and SIOP Coach and the co-author several books with Margarita.

Our ExC-ELLent Team of Consultants

Maria N Trejo, Ed.D.


Senior Consultant & Director

Bio on the way.

Hector Montenegro, Ed.D.


Senior Consultant & Director

 Hector has been a math teacher, principal, Chief of Staff and Superintendent of Schools. He is an internationally recognized speaker and presenter of 100s of workshops, leadership development seminars and keynote speeches at conferences, universities, schools, businesses, and special events in the US and in 30 countries.  

Elma Noyola


Senior Consultant

Elma has been an educator for forty-eight years. She spent thirty-two years in the classroom as a bilingual teacher, reading teacher, and literacy facilitator focusing on the needs of all students, especially bilingual and English Learners. Before joining us, she worked for Success for All. She now shares her talents with our team by training and coaching with MC&A nationwide.

Ma. Guadalupe Espino


Spanish Language Senior Consultant,

Con amplia experiencia en el área de educación infantil, durante 25 años se desempeñó como directora de Pre kínder. 

Co-escritora y capacitadora de ACE-LERA (Acelerando la Comprensión en Español; Lectura, Escritura y Razonamiento), la versión en español de ExC-ELL. Expositora en Talleres y seguimiento en las clases (coaching) de los programas para Estudiantes con Educación Formal Interrumpida (SIFE) con el programa en español RIGOR (Reading Instructional Goals for Older Readers) en escuelas de New York City.

Escritora, organizadora y capacitadora de Talleres sobre Literatura ofrecidos en español a padres de estudiantes de 1º a 12º grados en escuelas de New York City. 


Ma. Guadalupe has 25 years of extensive experience in  early childhood education. She has served as Director of Pre-Kindergarten.. Lupita is a primary writer and trainer of ACE-LERA (Acelerando la Comprensión en Español: Lectura, Escritura y Razonamiento Académico), the Spanish version of ExC-ELL. She has presented workshops, observed and coached the Spanish language version of RIGOR (Reading Instructional Goals for Older Readers) in New York City schools. In addition, she is the writer, organizer and trainer for Talleres sobre Literatura offered in Spanish to parents of K-12 students also in New York City schools.

Karen Solís




Karen joins MC&A from North Carolina where she teaches English Learners at the elementary level. She also designs and delivers professional development as a member of the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction's English Learner Support Team. Karen is passionate about empowering teachers and educating students in ways that foster relevant, meaningful and authentic learning experiences. 

Anita Crowley




Anita  comes to MC&A from North Carolina where she is Cumberland County Schools' EL Instructional Support Specialist. At CCS she develops and facilitates professional development and conducts coaching sessions. She taught high school science for 16 years. She received her Master’s in Education with a concentration in ESL 2012. 


Her expertise is in:  K-12 EL Professional Development and 9-12 Science

Elizabeth Montes



Besides training and coaching with us, Elizabeth has 35 years experience in public, private and corporate education. She has served as an English, Spanish, and French teacher.  She worked in central office administration for the El Paso Independent School District as an Associate Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction and a Director of Advanced Academics. For the past five years she has enjoyed her time as the Head of School for a K-8 private academy.

Joanne Marino



In addition to coaching for MC&A, Joanne brings experience from a multi-faceted career in education including teaching ESL and social studies, curriculum development, and administration in the U.S. and abroad. She has taught grades K-12 as well as in universities and adult education programs. Joanne has been a NC Department of Public Instruction ESL Consultant, a WIDA trainer, and a NBCT. She  was recognized for Teacher Excellence and Professionalism by the Office of English Language Acquisition (OELA).

Carlos Ramirez


Bio and picture on the way.

Barbara Cohen



Barbara joins MC&A from MA where she works as an ELL Teacher in grades K-12 and conducts teacher trainings. Barbara brings more than 30 years of experience in language acquisition. She has worked in the US and abroad as well as at the MA Department of Education. While at the MA Department of Education she worked with Shawn in the creation, training, rollout and oversight of the RETELL SEI endorsement course for content teachers across the state.


Argelia Carreón

Consultant, Co-author and Director Emerita

Thanks for all you did to help us and the kids Argelia!

Joy Peyton

Consultant and Co-author Emerita

Thanks for all of your hard work Joy!