Dr. Margarita Calderón
Dr. Margarita Calderón, Professor Emerita, Johns Hopkins University, is the creator of the ExC-ELL model. She has served on national language policy research panels, and is currently a consultant for the U.S. Department of Justice and Office of Civil Rights. Her research has been funded by USDOE, NIH, USDOL, and Carnegie Corporation. She has over 100 publications. She is invited to do international keynote presentations and is working with Departments of Education, school districts, and schools to implement school-wide ExC-ELL.
Dr. Lillian Ardell
Dr. Lillian Ardell is a Chicago-based bilingual education coach, staff developer and biliteracy advocate and mother of two young children. She earned her doctorate in Bilingual Education from The Steinhardt School of Education at New York University in 2020. Lillian runs a boutique consulting firm (Language Matters, LLC) that serves K-8 schools in districts with a high volume of Multilingual Learners. Relevant to this work, she is also a bilingual speaker of English and Spanish and was born and raised in the suburbs of Chicago, IL.
Lillian’s area of expertise is in biliteracy instruction with a focus on close reading strategies that builds metalinguistic awareness in teachers and students alike. Her mission is to help teachers talk confidently and competently about language and she achieves this mission by walking teachers through scaffolded interactions with high-quality and culturally relevant texts. Her novel approach to literacy teaching is informed by state-of-the-art research on biliteracy, metalanguage, and critical theories on language teaching that are often ignored in mainstream discussions of curriculum and literacy design.
Heather Cox is a dedicated educator who is passionate about the literacy achievement of English Language learners. She has been an ESOL teacher in Gwinnett County Public Schools for 14 years. In this role, she collaborates with teachers to best support the language needs of students and facilitates professional development for teachers and staff. Prior to becoming an ESOL teacher, Heather taught 1st grade for 12 years. She is an advocate for the students and families she teaches and finds that building relationships with the students she works with is key to their success. Most recently, Heather was trained as a Successful Start teacher in conjunction with Georgia State University. Heather was also a part of Gwinnett County’s Early Literacy Coaches Cohort. Heather was recently selected as her local school’s Teacher of the Year and facilitates yearly programs at her school to help families in need with food and other supplies. Outside of teaching, Heather enjoys coaching others in their health and wellness journey, spending quality time with friends and family, volunteering, as well as being active.
Con amplia experiencia en el área de educación infantil. Es colaboradora en los métodos de aprendizaje como: ACE-LERA (Acelerando la Comprensión en Español) y RIGOR (Reading Instructional Goals for Older Readers) en New York y Puerto Rico. Instructora de maestras y padres de familia en talleres: “Cómo Aprender Jugando”, “Formación de Pequeños Líderes” y “Talleres de Lecturas para Padres e Hijos” en la comunidad de “La Mujer Obrera” en El Paso TX. Coautora de ACE-LERA y RIGOR en español. Escritora de materiales para maestros y cuentos para niños.
Giuliana Jahnsen Lewis
Giuliana Jahnsen Lewis currently serves as an EL Instructional Coach for high schools in Loudoun County Public Schools. Her job includes providing support to high school teachers and administrators across the district on best instructional and academic practices for ELs. Prior to this position, Ms. Lewis worked as a school administrator in a Title I school overseeing departments to include EL, English, Reading, and Math. In addition, she supervised remediation programs for English and Math at her school for several years, in addition to other roles. Part of her experience also includes being the district’s EL Professional Developer and curriculum writer. Ms. Lewis was the author of the Newcomer English curriculum framework for secondary schools. She also oversaw curriculum writing and implementation for grades K-12. Ms. Lewis has experience providing professional development at the district, state, and federal levels. Her topics emphasize her passion which includes best instructional practices for ELs and accessibility to content. Ms. Lewis’s teaching career includes grades K-12, middle school being her favorite. She taught at a Title I school most of her teaching career. While she is not at work, Ms. Lewis is an Educational Consultant for Margarita Calderón and Associates. She provides professional development and coaching support to teachers and administrators across the nation in all grades and content areas.
Ms. Giuliana Jahnsen Lewis was born in Lima, Perú. She moved to the United States at the age of 14. She was a newcomer student who faced many struggles to overcome. Despite the many circumstances and barriers, she never stopped believing and working to accomplish her dreams. Her parents brought her to a place where anything can be achieved with hard work. Her passion and purpose in education involve instilling this belief in educators and students and advocating for opportunities in which students will be successful.
Joanne Marino is an educator who provides professional development, coaching, and leadership support to schools with culturally and linguistically diverse students. Her workshops target building language and literacy within the content areas, assessment, lesson planning, and collaborating within the school and community to raise academic achievement for English learners. Marino had a multifaceted career in education as a teacher (English as a second language (ESL) and social studies), materials developer, teacher trainer, and administrator. She taught in the United States, Peru, and Kuwait. Marino was a certified WIDA trainer. In addition, she served as an ESL consultant for North Carolina with responsibility for the administration, implementation, monitoring, data collection, and reporting for Title III of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act at the state level; created and delivered professional development; and provided leadership for curriculum development, enhancement and support; and program evaluation. Marino was recognized by the Office of English Language Acquisition for Teacher Excellence and Professionalism. She earned National Board Certification in English as a New Language and was a validator for the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. Marino holds a master’s degree in social science and a master’s degree in teaching English as a second language from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Dr. Hector Montenegro
Dr. Hector Montenegro, President/CEO of Montenegro Consulting Group, LLC, is currently Senior District Advisor for the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL) and works with districts and administrators nationally and internationally on systemic implementation of SEL. He is also a Senior Associate for Margarita Calderon and Associates (MC&A) and provides training on instructional strategies for ELLs, leadership development for administrators, instructional coaching.
Dr. Montenegro is an internationally recognized keynote and motivational speaker, both in person and virtually, and has been a special education advisor in Chile, Peru and Saudi Arabia through the US Embassies. He works directly with administrators, faculty and staff in developing leadership skills to establish structures that promote student success and support collaborative cultures. He serves as a volunteer for the Fruit Tree Planting Foundation to annual projects in Brazil, El Salvador and Uganda.
Dr. Hector Montenegro has been a math teacher, an assistant principal and principal in Washington, DC and served as Chief of Staff of the DC Public Schools. He was also an Area Superintendent, Deputy Superintendent for Instructional Services, and Superintendent of Schools for three school districts in Texas. He obtained his masters from Stanford University and doctorate from the University of Texas at Austin.
Alyson Reilly lives outside of Atlanta, Georgia with her family. She is originally from Pennsylvania but has spent the last 20 years in metro Atlanta. Alyson has always had a passion for teaching ELs and learning about language and culture. She has been an advocate for ELs in a variety of capacities such as a content area teacher, an Early Intervention Program teacher, a literacy specialist and writing coach and currently a Lead K-5 ESOL teacher with Gwinnett County Schools. Alyson recently had the honor of being selected as Teacher of the Year along continuing to the next level as being one of the Top 25 Teachers of the Year in her district. Along with teaching, Alyson designs, implements and delivers professional learning across her district, mentors new teachers and leads an ESOL teacher collaboration group with her colleagues. Alyson has wanted to be a teacher since she was in 2nd grade and considers each day with her students an honor and a privilege. When she is not teaching, she is busy with her teenage daughter and all the hobbies that they enjoy together.
Karen Solis has over 30 years of combined experience in the public school system (elementary classroom, ESL elementary/middle), and in the private sector (marketing, patient education, staff development). She has been a member of the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction’s English Language Development Support Team where she has designed, developed and delivered professional development across the state since 2010. Karen earned a Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and her Masters of Science in Instructional Technology at the University of North Carolina, Wilmington. Karen has served as the NC SocioPolitical Representative for Carolina TESOL and has served on the Advocacy committee for NAELPA. Karen is passionate about empowering educators and is an ExC-ELL trainer and coach.
Ms. Tartaglia is a high school assistant principal with Loudoun County Public Schools with over 20 years of public-school experience. She has been a classroom teacher, reading specialist, and coach at the elementary and high school levels. She has a bachelor’s degree in elementary and early childhood education from East Stroudsburg University, a master’s degree in reading from East Stroudsburg University, a TESOL endorsement from George Washington University, and an administration and supervision endorsement from Longwood University. She is an ExC-ELL coach and trainer.
Leticia M. Trower
Leticia M. Trower (she/her) has been passionate about language her entire life. She began her career in education as an elementary ESL teacher, and the majority of her work over the last twenty years has focused on language learners, professional learning for educators, and/or equity. She is currently Director of Professional Learning at Margarita Calderón & Associates, and a doctoral candidate in the Diversity and Equity in Education program at the University of Illinois. Her research interests include the impact of professional development in K-12 schools and the relationship between teachers’ language, beliefs, and practices.
Becky Upchurch has worked as an instructional coach at both the district and school level for the last decade, providing coaching and professional development to teachers across grades K-12. Prior to becoming a coach, she was a classroom teacher and department chair serving English learners and taught reading, English, math, science, writing, and history. Becky has a Master’s in Education with a concentration in curriculum and instruction and a focus on multicultural/multilingual education. She has also completed master’s programs in education leadership and addiction and recovery; the Core Essentials Program at Coach U, a coach training program accredited by the International Coach Federation; and over 75 hours of Cognitive Coaching training. Becky is also the CEO of Higher Good Coaching, offering life and mindset coaching for professional women and speaking and training on a variety of topics, as well as a proud dog mom of two rescue pups!
Cristina has been an advocate for ELs and their teachers for over 14 years in Gwinnett County Public Schools just outside of Atlanta, GA as an EL Programs Instructional Coach for teachers of ELs K-12. Before that she taught ESOL K-5 and has also been a Spanish teacher and a content area teacher. Her passion for advocating for ELs, their teachers and their families stems from her parents’ experience as Cuban refugees when they arrived in the US in their teens. She has developed and delivered PD for teachers in Gwinnett County for over 20 years and has presented at several conferences. She was also part of the team that developed Gwinnett County Public School’s ESOL Instructional Framework. Cristina is proud of her Cuban heritage while also being proud to be American. She is a mother of two teenage boys and wife to her Navy Vet husband. During her down time she enjoys being with her large extended family, visiting the beach and sharing natural health solutions.
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