NYS TESOL 48th Annual Conference
Experience:  The Heart of Teaching and Learning
November 2nd and 3rd, 2018, Albany, NY
“Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.”
-John Dewey

The Call For Proposals has closed.

Keynote Speakers

Rita MacDonald

Rita MacDonald is an Academic English Language Researcher at the Wisconsin Center for Education Research. She has worked in the field of educational linguistics since 2001. As an applied linguist at WIDA, Ms. MacDonald works on issues of language policy, academic English language instruction, formative language assessment processes, issues of language education and cultural identity for Native American students, and standards-aligned equitable inclusion of English Learners in multilingual, multicultural classrooms. Her NSF-funded research to develop and pilot EL-inclusive STEM discourse support resources can be found at the project website:  http://stem4els.wceruw.org. She works as part of a research team supporting native language preservation for a northern Wisconsin tribe, and serves as the applied linguist on a collaborative NAM grant, assisting the Central Yup’ik community of Alaska to develop an assessment of proficiency in their Yugtun language. Ms. MacDonald is a frequent presenter at national conferences, disseminating research-based approaches to strengthen emergent bilingual or multilingual students’ academic achievement.

Luciana C. de Oliveira, Ph.D., is Professor and Chair in the Department of Teaching and Learning in the School of Education and Human Development at the University of Miami, Florida. Her research focuses on issues related to teaching English language learners (ELLs) at the K-12 level, including the role of language in learning the content areas and teacher education, advocacy and social justice. Currently, Dr. de Oliveira’s research examines scaffolding in first grade classrooms and multimodal representation in picture books. She is the author or editor of 21 books and over 170 publications in various outlets. She's President (2018-2019) of TESOL International Association.

Dr. Havidán Rodríguez took office as UAlbany’s 20th president in September 2017 after more than 25 years as a leader in higher education.

Before coming to UAlbany, Dr. Rodríguez was the founding provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV). Rodríguez was instrumental in creating UTRGV, a new public research university, and building the university’s new medical school from the ground up. Rodríguez had previously served as interim president and provost and vice president for academic affairs at The University of Texas Pan-American, which consolidated with The University of Texas at Brownsville to become UTRGV.

Prior to his leadership positions in Texas, Rodríguez spent seven years at the University of Delaware as deputy provost, vice provost for academic affairs and international programs, and professor in the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice. He also directed UD’s acclaimed Disaster Research Center, the world’s first research center devoted to the studying the complex social problems that result from natural and technological disasters and other community-scale crises.

A respected scholar who studies the socioeconomic impacts of disasters and the economic well-being of minority populations in the United States and Puerto Rico, Rodríguez has also held faculty and administrative positions at the University of Puerto Rico-Mayagüez,

Rodríguez received a B.S. in Psychology from the University of Maryland, an M.A. in Sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and a Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.



 Early Bird 10% Discount (May 22, 2018 through September 1, 2018)

Pre-Register Now: https://nystesol.wildapricot.org/event-2941206

Early Bird (10%) Discount through September 1, 2018

Pre-Registration (Sept 2, 2018- Oct 26, 2018)

Onsite Registration (Nov 2 & 3, 2018)



Sponsors (coming soon!)

The Venue

Conference Location: Albany Marriott, 189 Wolf Rd, Albany, NY 12205

Phone: (518) 458-8444

Reserve your room at the $129 conference rate:  https://goo.gl/Z1ShdW

 2018 Planning Team

Gretchen Oliver: Conference Chair




Ashley Fifer, Assistant Conference Chair and Scheduling Chair

Ashley Fifer holds Master's degrees in both Spanish and TESOL from NYU. After teaching Spanish at the K-12 level, she switched to her real passion: ELLs in higher education. She has taught First-Year Experience Courses at Marymount Manhattan College and taught in the CUNY CLIP program at Bronx Community College. Currently, she is a Lecturer in the LINCC Program at Nassau Community College, where she has been for 11 years. She has published for Idiom, as well as presented at NYS TESOL Conferences, Long Island ESOL Conferences and TESOL International Conferences. She is also a part of the Conference Planning Committee for the annual Long Island ESOL Conference. She has previously served as Co-Chair of the Higher Ed SIG and VP of Membership for NYS TESOL.  Her presentations and interests include teaching civility/appropriate academic language and behavior in the university classroom and bridging the gap between IEPs and mainstream college classes.

Kimberly Wilder, Publicity Chair
Kimberly Wilder has been an early childhood educator for decades. She has enjoyed and studied languages since she was a child. She has taken classes in Russian, French, and Spanish. She has her B.A. in English from Roanoke College in Virginia. Recently. Kimberly earned her M.A. in TESOL from SUNY/Stony Brook. Kimberly has taught at public schools, private schools, Montessori-style nursery schools, and at the Walt Whitman Birthplace as a poetry teacher for school tours. She has also worked in communications in support of nonprofits, campaigns, and private schools. She lives in Riverhead, Long Island. Kimberly began attending NYS TESOL for school credit. Having learned from the workshops, resonated with the pedagogy, and admired the organization and community surrounding it, she offered to volunteer.




Carmen Diaz: Proposals Chair

Carmen Diaz has been in education since 2002. Prior to arriving in New York, she was an elementary school classroom teacher in Connecticut and was her school’s expert in serving English Language Learners, in both instruction and compliance. Each year, ELs were placed in her mainstream classroom to receive the supports and interventions necessary for ambitious language gains along with academic content. As her expertise improved, she became a leader for her peers and an advocate for all newcomer families in the district. Her work included collaborating with curriculum coordinators to write CCSS-based curricula for grades 2-6 that were inclusive of the needs of ELs as well as teaching adult ESL. This adult education course focused on the combined goals of English language development and preparation for GED and naturalization exams.

She moved to New York State in 2015, and is presently the Associate Director of Elementary Learning at the Albany Charter School Network. In this capacity, she has become a leader of TESOL best practices for content teachers and specialists in public schools. As an Instructional Coach, she supports teachers in making growth toward their annual goals. With her team, she designs professional development, revises and reviews curricula, creates assessments, and helps to build the capacity of new and veteran teachers as well as administrators. She also trains administrators in the basics of compliance to ensure ELs are served according to their legal rights.

A specific professional skill set she possesses as an educator is in educational technology.  She is passionate about technology integration and supports teachers and students in incorporating technology to empower all learners. As a Google Certified Trainer, she delivers a range of professional development sessions for teachers in using Google Apps for Education as well as Chromebooks and devices to enhance academic instruction.

Summarizing, she feels strongly about the rights of ELs and advocates for them in a variety of areas. Instructionally, she believes that ELs deserve the opportunity to embrace and excel with technology to prepare for the careers of the future. She is also well aware of the federal, state, and local legal foundations that support equity for ELs in education. As Interim VP of Advocacy, she will be responsible and cognizant of the needs of NYS TESOL. She will bring her insights on policy change and implication for ELs in New York to support NYS TESOL in making decisions and finding a formal position. She will work with the Advocacy Committee and attend statewide and national gatherings meant to increase efforts in supporting ELs in order to glean new information that can help NYS TESOL improve its own support and efforts. She will also explore opportunities to make connections with educational technology organizations in- and out-of-state to begin to solidify a partnership that will further prepare our learners for their future with technology. Not only will this connection pave the way for increased potential for our ELs, but it will also work in tandem with the NYSED goal to examine and increase technology use by ELs within classrooms. These will be the first steps toward increasing equity in career and educational opportunities for ELs, especially within the field of technology.

Linda Pelc, Exhibitor Chair
Linda A. Pelc, PhD, Linguistics, has been teaching ESL and EFL for more than 35 years. She taught for 8 years in Thessaloniki, Greece, and for the last 25+ years in New York at LaGuardia Community College, CUNY. Dr. Pelc has served as a teacher trainer for over 20 years, teaching Methods and Principles, Learner Assessment, and Authentic Materials at the New School for Social Research and New York University. For 12+ years she worked as Instructional Facilitator for the New York City Department of Education training teachers of ESL adult basic education. Dr. Pelc earned her PhD from CUNY Graduate Center. Her doctorate examined language attrition among Greek bilinguals. Dr. Pelc is a recipient of the Outstanding Teacher's Award from NYS TESOL and also the Teacher of the Year award from LAC (Literary Assistance Center). Dr. Pelc has served TESOL in various professional capacities over the last 40 years. She served on the NYS TESOL Executive Board and recently served as Nominations Chair. Dr. Pelc has mentored countless ESL and Adult Basic Education teachers over the last 40 years, providing encouragement and guidance and inspiration.


Meredith Van Schuyler, Awards Chair

Meredith's experience in the field of TESOL has been diverse. She has taught EFL in Africa, Japan, and China, has served as Academic Director of an Intensive English Program, and has instructed adult ELLs in private and community programs. For the past 17 years, she has taught ENL in public school settings on Long Island. As a lead ENL teacher in the Hempstead district, she helped design an after school program for Newcomers. Meredith is also an original member of the Long Island ESOL Professional Committee at Molloy College and has helped organize the LI ESOL conference held there each spring. Meredith has been an active member of NYS TESOL since 2000. She has served as Awards Chair since 2006, and prior to that, was Regional Chair on the Executive Board and Elementary SIG coordinator. She values her membership with NYS TESOL for the connection to colleagues and best practices.




Fran Olmos: Registration Chair



Mark Aaron Polger
Technology Support

Clair Nolan and Susan Gorga
Volunteers Co-Chairs


Susan Gorga started her ESL career in the Peace Corps.  She has been teaching at the Intensive English Language Program at the University at Albany for 25 years.  In addition, she has taught in Poland, Brazil, Romania, and China.


Claire Nolan came to teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages as a second career.  Before that she worked as a printer. Claire has been teaching for about  twenty-five years - in public schools to both kids and adults, in refugee programs and in colleges and universities. Claire is currently teaching at the University at Albany (SUNYA) in the Intensive English Language Program.  Claire is also a storyteller - you can take that any way you like.