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Our Leadership

2017 Conference Leadership

Conference web site: http://ac17.nystesol.org

Ching Ching Lin, VP Conference

Ching Ching Lin, Ed. D has more than thirteen years of experience working with culturally and linguistically diverse students as a Social Studies and ESL teacher at a NYC public high school. She also has taught ESL at numerous colleges, including New Jersey Community College and Long Island Business Institute. Currently she teaches TESOL at Touro College. Ching Ching Lin holds a B. A. in Philosophy from Taiwan and an M.A. in Philosophy from the Graduate School and University Center of CUNY. She earned her doctorate in Education with a specialization in Pedagogy and Philosophy from Montclair State University in 2012. She has published manuscripts on various topics related to ESL curriculum and instruction. Her research mainly focuses on tapping into funds of knowledge of culturally and linguistically diverse students as emerging cosmopolitan intellectuals.

Gretchen Oliver, VP Conference-Elect & Scheduling Chair

Gretchen Oliver is a Lecturer at the University at Albany in the Department of Educational Theory and Practice where she teaches TESOL Methods courses. In addition, she is the coordinator of the Technology-Enhanced Multimodal Observation Protocol (MOP) Project, a U. S. Department of Education grant-funded project through the National Professional Development (NPD) Program. In this capacity, she works with teams of high school math, science, and ESOL teachers as they develop and implement strategies in mainstream and sheltered content-area classes. Gretchen is a doctoral candidate in Curriculum and Instruction at the University at Albany, where she is focusing on the influences of Culturally Responsive Teaching, collaborative instructional environments, and sustained ESOL-focused leadership practices on teaching and learning. She has presented at the NPD Directors' Meeting, NYS TESOL, TESOL International, and NABE.

Fran Olmos, Registration Chair, Yonkers Public Schools

Fran has been an ENL teacher in the Yonkers Public Schools for the last 30 years, working with children in Pre K to 8. She received her BS in Elem Ed (N-6) with a concentration in Spanish, from SUNY Oswego and upon graduating spent three years teaching grades 3, 4 and 6 in a bilingual elementary school in Mexico City. Upon returning to NY, she worked two years in the Elmsford UFSD as an ESL teacher while attaining her MS Ed in TESOL from the College of New Rochelle. Fran has been very active in NYS TESOL during the last 20 years. She started out by working on several Hudson Valley ODMACS and then was asked to become Hotel Liaison and then Registration Chair for the NYS TESOL Annual Conference. She joined the NYS TESOL board in 2002 as Membership Chair which led her to becoming 2nd VP - Conference Chair which was held in White Plains in 2007. She then became President of NYS TESOL in 2009. In 2013, Fran was asked to fill a last minute vacancy and became the 2013 Conference Chair which was held again in White Plains. Fran has also presented at NYS TESOL conferences, was Registration Chair for the 1999 TESOL International Convention (NYC) and has been NYS TESOL Publications Chair. She is also active in her school's PTA unit and has won the Honorary Life Membership Award (formerly The Jenkins Award).

Proposal Co-Chair
Karen Gregory
Karen Gregory, PhD, is a TESOL specialist, committed to advocacy for ELs and their teachers. Calling upon her background as an educational researcher and a teacher of Spanish and ESL, she conducts professional development seminars and workshops with her colleague Gretchen Oliver through their company, GO Consulting, LLC. Karen now co-teaches sheltered science and social studies classes at Albany High School after spending the past six years conducting research in the School of Education at the University at Albany, SUNY.

Proposal Co-Chair
Teale LaBarbera
Teale has been teaching English as a New Language in the Whitesboro Central School District since 2003. Prior to teaching at Whitesboro, she taught in the Longwood School District at Ridge Elementary School. She is certified in Elementary Education, Special Education, with a Master's Degree in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL). Teale is an active member of New York State Teachers of English to Speaker of Other Languages (NYSTESOL). She has assisted in the planning of the annual NYSTESOL conference many of the years she has been teaching as the Volunteers Chair and the Proposals Chair and Co-Chair. In 2007, she assisted in the national TESOL Conference in New York City as the Job Market Place Coordinator. Following high school she spent a year in Olsztyn, Poland where she learned to read and speak Polish. Teale is the mother of two children. She is an avid reader, and reads anything that she can get her hands on. She also enjoys running, singing, performing in community theatre productions, cross-country skiing, hiking, playing music, and anything that her family does together. She brings all of these things into her classroom to enliven her teaching and to engage her students in the learning process.

Publicity Chair

Mark Aaron Polger
Mark Aaron Polger is an Instruction/Reference Librarian at the College of Staten Island, City University of New York and an Information Literacy instructor at ASA College in New York City. His professional and research interests fall within the intersection of providing user friendly (web & print) experiences in the promotion of services, resources, and events. He has been involved in promoting the annual conference since 2012. In his role as Publicity Chair, Mark will help promote the annual conference across multiple listservs, social media, and other communication channels. Mark will help in providing a user friendly web page for the NYS TESOL 47th Annual Conference as well as help develop promotional materials to generate awareness and "buzz". He will help promote the conference using the Twitter hashtag and communicate with current and relevant information regarding the annual conference. Mark will work with the VP Conference to ensure consistent and ongoing communication with NYS TESOL members and the general community so they will be informed of the progress of the annual conference. The Publicity Chair will disseminate the Call for Proposals, Call for Volunteers, Call for Exhibitors, and the Pre-Registration for the annual conference.

Sarah Elia, Entertainment Chair, SUNY New Paltz

Sarah Elia is a lecturer at the Haggerty English Language Program at the State University of New York (SUNY) at New Paltz. She holds a B.A. in music from Bard College and an M.S. in TESOL from SUNY New Paltz. She has taught English to adult learners at Dutchess Community College and English as a Foreign Language to children in Japan and China. She gives TESOL workshops to classroom teachers and presentations on professional development to TESOL graduate students. Sarah is editor of Secondary Accents, the Newsletter of the Secondary Schools Interest Section of TESOL International Association. She has written articles for numerous TESOL newsletters, the blog of the American Historical Association, and History News, a magazine of the American Association for State and Local History. International Educator magazine highlighted her in an article about educational technology and she often presents on this topic at conferences including the NYS TESOL Annual Conference, Applied Linguistics Winter Conference, SUNY Language PACT and TESOL International Convention. Since 2012, she has been active in NYS TESOL serving as Second Vice President, Assistant Chair and Scheduling Chair of the 43rd Annual Conference, Chair of the 44th Annual Conference, and President, and has volunteered on various committees. Sarah has traveled to over 15 countries including annual trips to China with her husband and daughter.

Exhibitor Liaison

Tilla Alexander

For the past twenty years, Tilla Alexander has worked as an ESL teacher for the Office of Adult and Continuing Education, NYC DOE, first working in Queens and Williamsburg, Brooklyn before moving to the Mid-Manhattan Adult Learning Center in September, 2001.  At Mid-Manhattan, she worked with students enrolled in the ESL Clerical Pre-Vocational class where her students took 6 hours per week of computer class and 9 hours of ESL class.  Although the settings were different, the curriculum was intertwined and integrated.  Tilla was part of the LAC/Harvard Health Literacy Program and was featured in a video along with her students and health professionals at Harlem Hospital.  Her work in the pilot program led her to co-present with the LAC/Harvard Team at the International TESOL Conference in Tampa.  She currently teaches ESL 5/6 at the Mid-Manhattan Adult Learning Center. She also was a recipient of the LAC Literacy Achievement Award in 2007.  In addition, Tilla has been on the NYC Consortium for Adult Basic Education Planning Committee for the past seven years and is currently their webmaster.  Her previous work at NYS TESOL includes being on the Executive Board for three years, first as co-coordinator of SIGs and later as VP of Outreach.  Currently, she is co-chair of ESL Adult and exhibitor liaison for the 2017 conference.  Tilla has also presented workshops in several venues including NYAACE, NYU Literacy Review, the ABE Conference and NYS TESOL Salons. 

Volunteer Coordinators

Jessica Cho Hang

Jessica is currently a first year master student at Teachers College, Columbia University. She is majoring in TESOL (General Track). She received her Bachelor of Education at the University of Macau, with a major in English Education. She started her master degree right after her undergraduate education. Her research interests for her undergraduate thesis was critical reading in the English classroom. She has had a few teaching experiences at several language centers and an English middle school in Macau.

Derek Baylor

Derek Baylor is an adjunct professor at a local college in New York City teaching courses in advanced writing, reading, and oral communication skills to college-level ESL students. He has also taught as an ESL instructor at City College of the City University of New York. In addition, he has taught both at a junior high school and at a vocational college in Japan in for a number of years. He is the Social Media Chair for the ALWC Winter Conference committee of Teachers College. Having a great interest in culture and language, he has resided in several countries and has a basic knowledge of a few languages, most especially Japanese and Portuguese. Pursuing a Masters of Arts in Applied Linguistics, his research interests are centered around pursuing how the concepts of conversation analysis intersect with the principles of critical pedagogy within the field of TESOL teaching.

Meredith Van Schuyler, Awards Chair

Meredith has been an active member of NYS TESOL since pursuing her master's degree at New York University. She has served as awards chair since 2006, and prior to that was Regional Chair on the Executive Board and Elementary SIG coordinator. Meredith's experience in TESOL has been diverse. She taught EFL in Japan, worked as the academic director of an Intensive English Program, instructed adult ELLs, and for the past 13 years has taught elementary and high school ENL in public schools on Long Island. She has written several articles for Idiom, and is also an original member of the Long Island ESOL Professional Committee at Molloy College. She continues to see NYS TESOL as an important resource and advocate for those dedicated to the instruction of ELLs.