NYS TESOL Executive Board
Vice President, Advocacy
Christine Passarelli graduated from CUNY Hunter College with a BA in Elementary Education and Language Arts. She started her career teaching in East Harlem, NY in 2003. She currently teaches at PS22 in Staten Island, NY. At the very start of her time in the classroom, it became evident to her that the school system was filled with diverse students from various linguistic and ethnic backgrounds. She knew from the very first time that she stepped into a classroom that she was meant to become an educator of English Language Learners. She continued her studies at CUNY Hunter College and obtained an MA in TESOL Education.
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Dr. Olga De Jesus has been an educator for over 20 years with areas of expertise in special education, bilingual education, language acquisition, instructional technology, and teacher preparation in higher education. She holds two master’s degrees in Elementary Education and School Administration from Mercy College. She holds a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Liberty University.
In 2017, Fulbright Scholar, Dr. De Jesus provided professional development to the faculty and teaching candidates of the University of Vienna under the theme Empowering the Diverse Learner through Digital Storytelling. Her career extends from having been a bilingual special education teacher, professional instructional coach for a school district in the Bronx, an associate in the policy unit of the Special Education department in (NYSED), to college professor. Dr. De Jesus is an associate professor and department chair of the TESOL and Bilingual Teacher Certification Programs at Touro College.
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Ali Safivand worked in a variety of settings: college classrooms and in corporations as an English teacher and translator in his home country Iran. He has traveled extensively to many countries, including Syria, Turkey, and the UAE. He was also a graduate student in the United Kingdom before arriving at the University of Rochester, where he received his Ph.D. in Education with an emphasis in TESOL. He is teaching study skills at the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, as well as at the Simon School of Business, in addition to courses at the Warner School of Education in Rochester.
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Vice President, Finance
Hyunjin Jinna Kim is a Postdoctoral Associate at Stony Brook University. She previously taught English as a Foreign Language in South Korea for three years in a K-5 setting. She also taught English as a Second Language, academic composition, multicultural education, teaching methods and assessment, and teacher preparation practicum in higher education for five years.
Jinna earned her Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Ewha Womans University in South Korea. She received her MA in TESL from Penn State University and her Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction with an ESOL and Bilingual Education specialization from the University of Florida.
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Vice President, communications
Sandra Vargas-Ortega has been an educator for over 17 years throughout New York City and Puerto Rico. Dr. Vargas-Ortega holds a Ph.D. in Second Language Acquisition Research, a MA in TESOL, a BA in Early Childhood Education and an AS in Computer Science. She has been privileged to work with students, teachers, and administrators in a variety of different settings. In her current capacity as an English as a New Language Teacher/ coordinator, she serves students and families of diverse cultural backgrounds, implements ENL programing, modifies and adapts curriculum, and manages compliance data.
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Educating and guiding young English learners has been a passion of Kendra Howard Vasile since long before she received her M.A. in TESOL from Hunter College. Since then, she has been working as an ENL teacher in the New York City Public school system adapting curriculum, creating engaging tools and resources, providing rich instruction and advocating for diverse multilingual elementary students. Kendra‘s undergraduate background in Communications and her love for the TESOL community as a whole led her to this VP Membership position. She is honored to serve NYSTESOL with her fellow EB team and looks forward to connecting with members as we learn and grow in our professions together.
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Vice President, Outreach
Tanya Rosado-Barringer is the Executive Director and Coordinator of Mid-State RBERN at OCM BOCES and a former ENL Teacher for the NYCDOE. She holds a B.S. in Broadcast Journalism from Hofstra University, an M.S. in TESOL Education from Lehman College, an M.S. in Educational Leadership from Bank Street College. She serves on the NYSED Office of Bilingual Education and World Languages Content Advisory Panel, ELL Graduation Task Force, and the Cultural Responsive Sustaining Education Task Group. She was the recipient of the 2020 Senator Paul Simon NYS Friend of Foreign Language from NYSAFLT.
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