CUNY-New York State Initiative on Emergent Bilinguals Research Team
Ricardo Otheguy is professor of linguistics at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY). His theoretical work has been in the fields of functional grammar, sociolinguistics, language and dialect contact, and the analysis of Spanish in the U.S. His applied work has centered on bilingual education and the production of textbook materials for the teaching of Spanish as both L1 and L2 in U.S. high schools. He is the editor of several books on theoretical and applied topics, and the author of Spanish in New York: Language contact, dialectal leveling, and structural continuity, to be published soon by Oxford University Press. His theoretical and applied papers have been published in major journals such as Language, the Modern Language Journal, and the Harvard Educational Review. He has lectured throughout the U.S. and the Spanish-speaking world. He has twice been the recipient of Fulbright Fellowships from the Council for the International Exchange of Scholars. His research has been supported by, among others, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and the National Science Foundation. He was for many years director of the Bilingual Education Program at City College. He presently coordinates the CUNY Project on the Spanish of New York and is director of the Research Institute for the Study of Language in Urban Society (RISLUS), a University chartered institute of the City University of New York (CUNY). RISLUS conducts research and professional development projects in areas related to language, and to the role of language in society and schools.
Ofelia García is Professor in the Ph.D. programs of Urban Education and of Hispanic and Luso-Brazilian Literatures and Languages at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. She has been Professor of Bilingual Education at Columbia University´s Teachers College, Dean of the School of Education at the Brooklyn Campus of Long Island University, and Professor of Bilingual Education/TESOL at The City College of New York. Among her recent books are: Bilingual Education in the 21st Century: A global perspective; Handbook of Language and Ethnic Identity, Vols. I & II (with J. A. Fishman); Educating Emergent Bilinguals (with J. Kleifgen); Additive Schooling in Subtractive Times (with L. Bartlett); Negotiating Language Policies in Schools (with K. Menken); Imagining Multilingual Schools (with T. Skutnabb-Kangas and M. Torres-Guzmán), and A Reader in Bilingual Education (with C. Baker). She is the Associate General Editor of the International Journal of the Sociology of Language. García was the recipient of the 2008 NYSABE Gladys Correa Award, is a Fellow of the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study (STIAS) in South Africa, and has been a Fulbright Scholar, and a Spencer Fellow of the U.S. National Academy of Education. Her e-mail is email@example.com. For more information, visit her website at www.ofeliagarcia.org
Tatyana Kleyn (Interim co-PI) is an associate professor in the Bilingual Education and TESOL program at the City College of New York. In 2007 she received an Ed.D. in international educational development at Teachers College, Columbia University. Her dissertation focused on the intersections of bilingual and multicultural education in Spanish, Haitian Creole, Chinese and Russian bilingual classrooms. She is author of “Immigration: The Ultimate Teen Guide” (Scarecrow Press, 2011) and co-author of “Teaching in Two Languages: A Guide for K-12 Bilingual Educators” with Adelman Reyes (Corwin Press, 2010). She has also published about the cultural, linguistic and educational needs of the Garífuna people in Honduras. Tatyana has been involved in a multi-phase study, with Kate Menken, that focuses on ‘Long-Term English Language Learners’ in NYC secondary schools. She was an elementary school teacher in San Pedro Sula, Honduras and Atlanta, Georgia.
Kate Menken is an Associate Professor of Linguistics at Queens College of the City University of New York (CUNY), and a Research Fellow at the Research Institute for the Study of Language in Urban Society at the CUNY Graduate Center. She holds an Ed.D. from Teachers College, Columbia University and was first place recipient of Outstanding Dissertation Awards from the National Association for Bilingual Education and the American Educational Research Association. Her research interests include language education policy, bilingual education, and emergent bilinguals in secondary schools. Recent books are English Learners Left Behind: Standardized Testing as Language Policy (Multilingual Matters, 2008) and Negotiating Language Policies in Schools: Educators as Policymakers (with Ofelia García, Routledge, 2010). Her work also appears in several journals, including International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, Language Policy, Theory into Practice, Bilingual Research Journal, Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, Educational Leadership, and International Multilingual Research Journal. She is Associate Editor and Review Editor for the journal Language Policy. Previously, she was a researcher at the National Clearinghouse for Bilingual Education and an English as a second language teacher.
Dr. Maite (María Teresa) Sánchez is the current project director of CUNY-NYSIEB. She holds a Ph.D. from Boston College in curriculum and instruction. For the past 11 years, Dr. Sánchez has conducted research and evaluation studies of policies and practices for educating emergent bilinguals, in both bilingual education and mainstream settings. Before coming to CUNY, she was a senior research associate at Education Development Center (EDC) where she worked in several projects on emergent bilinguals and other issues of school reform (formative assessment, data driven decision-making). As part of the Regional Educational Laboratory Northeast and Islands, she designed and conducted research studies and provided research technical assistance consistent with the needs of the region. She also organized and facilitated the development of a research alliance comprised of state- and district-level participants from Northeastern states interested in improving the educational experiences of emergent bilinguals. At EDC, she was also part of a research team of the Institute of Education Sciences grant “Mathematics Coaching Supporting English Learners” that developed, implemented, and studied professional development materials that support mathematics coaching of teachers on the use of visual representations to support emergent bilinguals mathematical problem-solving. Dr. Sánchez has also worked with school leaders in bilingual programs through program evaluation and professional development to strengthen the program’s instruction in English and other home languages. She has co-authored several publications including “Processes and challenges in identifying learning disabilities among students who are English language learners in three New York State districts” (2010), “A descriptive analysis of state-supported formative assessment initiatives in New York and Vermont” (2011) (both available for download at http://relnei.org), as well as the book chapter, “Undermining teacher competencies: Another look at the impact of restrictive language policies,” in the Forbidden Language (2010), edited by Patricia Gándara and Megan Hopkins.
Laura Ascenzi-Moreno is an Assistant Professor in the Childhood/Bilingual and Special Education Department at Brooklyn College. She received her Ph.D. in Urban Education from the City University of New York Graduate Center. She worked in Brooklyn, NY in a Spanish/English two-way immersion school as a dual language teacher and curriculum coach for a combined twelve years. Her research interests include bilingual education at the elementary school level, multiple literacies, assessment, teacher knowledge and school governance. Her latest research projects include a mixed-methods study on the development of teacher knowledge from summative and formative assessments of emergent bilingual students, a study on how teachers adapt running record assessments when administering them to emergent bilingual students and a study of four principals of dual language schools and their use of Progress Reports issued by the New York City Department of Education. She was a research assistant on a research project examining the impact to of a biliteracy program on Long-Term English Language Learners in high school funded by New York State. She is first author of “Learning through Descriptive Inquiry at the Cypress Hills Community School,” an article describing the work of a teacher inquiry group examining students’ multiple literacies in a dual language program. Other upcoming publications include a chapter in the book, “Bilingual Community Education for American Children: Beyond Heritage Languages in a Global City.” It is co-authored with Nelson Flores and is a case study of bilingual policies and practices at one New York City public school. Lastly, she co-authored with Kate Menken an article entitled, “Improving Educational Outcomes for Long-Term English Language Learners in High School: Promising Results from a Biliteracy Program.”
Brian A. Collins is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Curriculum and Teaching at Hunter College, CUNY and works to support bilingual education and emerging bilinguals. He holds a Ph.D. in Bilingual Education from New York University, a M.A. in Spanish from Middlebury College and a B.A. in Education from New England College. An experienced educator, Brian has worked extensively with English Language Learners (ELLs) as a bilingual public school teacher and ESL instructor. He currently teaches courses studying the foundations of Bilingual Education, dual language development and language assessment. Brian has diverse research experience investigating issues surrounding education, immigration, dual language development and culture. As research coordinator for the Harvard Project on Child Language and Developmental Psychiatry (CLDP), an NIMH funded project, Brian directly assessed the dual language development and mental health of over 200 bilingual Latino children in 16 elementary public schools. Finding from this study are currently published in multiple scholarly journals. He also has served as the research project director for the Partnership for Teacher Excellence (PTE) project, a longitudinal service grant and collaboration between NYU, CUNY, and the NYCDOE aimed at improving teacher preparation, effectiveness and retention in high-need areas. Brian has work as a data analyst for NYCASE, a mixed-methods, longitudinal study of over 500 10th grade to 12th grade NYC minority students. This study developed an in-depth understanding of adolescents’ academic engagement and psychological wellbeing. As a doctoral fellow his work in the Child Development in the School Setting Lab at NYU explored the influences of child characteristics, teacher-child relationships and classroom factors on children’s wellbeing through multilevel modeling within an ecological-contextual systems theory to predict within individual change. Brian has published on language development, teacher-child relationships, cultural competence and dimensions of children’s social, psychological, and academic wellbeing in American Educational Research Journal, International Journal of Sociology of Language, Child & Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America, Journal of Moral Education and Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.
Dr. Ann E. Ebe is Director of Bilingual Education and Assistant Professor of Literacy Education in the Graduate School of Education at Hunter College in New York City. Dr. Ebe began her work in education as a Spanish/ English bilingual elementary school teacher in California. She then served as a bilingual literacy specialist for K-3rd graders in Arizona while completing an M.A. in Bilingual and Multicultural education. While obtaining her doctorate in the department of Language Reading and Culture from the University of Arizona, Dr. Ebe continued her work in schools as an administrator for a K-12 border school. She then went on to spend four years in Hong Kong as the Associate Principal and Literacy Specialist for the Hong Kong International School where she worked with an international group of teachers and students. Upon returning to the United States, Dr. Ebe served as Assistant Professor in the Graduate College of Education of the University of Massachusetts Boston prior to her work at Hunter College. Her primary research interests include exploring the reading process of bilingual students and the selection of culturally relevant texts. She presents regularly at both national and international conferences. Her work with teachers in the United States and abroad involves developing and implementing language arts curriculum to put literacy theory into practice for bilingual students. In recent years, Dr. Ebe has been invited to share her research with teachers and administrators in Norway, China, Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong. Her book on the teaching of reading, published by Heinemann, is entitled Insight from the Eyes: The Science of Effective Reading Instruction. She is also the co-author of the Rigby professional development seminar STEEL: Strategic Teaching Essentials for English Learners. Note: several of Dr. Ebe’s publications were written under her maiden name, Ann Freeman.
Cecilia M. Espinosa is an associate professor in the Early Childhood/Childhood Department at Lehman College/CUNY. She received her PhD from Arizona State University in Language and Literacy. Her dissertation focused on a collaborative research with two dual language teachers. In this work she integrated her knowledge of Descriptive Processes (Carini and colleagues), biliteracy and collaborative research. Cecilia has published in several journals: Language Arts, Primary Voices, Revista Mexicana de Investigacion Educativa, Lectura y Vida, English Quarterly: Canadian Council of Teacher of English Language Arts, etc. Her work also appears in Jenny’s Story: Taking the Long View of the Child – Prospect’s Philosophy in Action (Teacher’s College Press, 2010). As a classroom teacher Cecilia published about her pedagogy in: Making Justice our Project, (ed. C. Edelsky, 1999); Educating Latino Students: A Successful Guide (eds. M. A. Gonzalez, J. V. Tinajero, and A. H. Macias, 1998); Teaching Language Arts Through Dialogue (ed. J. W. Lindfors, 1999); Trends and Issues in Language Arts (NCTE, 2000), among others. She also presented at local, national and international conferences. After leaving her position of many years as a bilingual multiage teacher, she directed a Title VII Grant at her school in Phoenix, Arizona. Cecilia has been involved with the New York City Writing Project (NYCWP), as well as with the Math Up Project, which is part of a TQP Federal Grant at Lehman College.
Vanessa Pérez is Assistant Professor of Bilingual Education in the Department of Puerto Rican and Latino Studies at Brooklyn College, City University of New York. She earned a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the University of California, Davis in 2007 with a Designated Emphasis in Second Language Acquisition. She has direct instructional experience with bilingual education, having taught in a dual language program in the Boston Public Schools for five years. Her teaching and research areas include U.S. Latino literature, language, culture and society, and Latinos and education. She currently serves on the Northeast board of the National Latino Education Research and Policy project. She is also on the board of the Recovering the U.S. Hispanic Literary Heritage project at the University of Houston. Vanessa is the editor of Hispanic Caribbean Literature of Migration: Narratives of Displacement (Palgrave 2010). She recently completed a manuscript titled Becoming Julia de Burgos: Feminism, Transnationalism, Diaspora. She was a Mellon Fellow in the Department of Social and Cultural Analysis at New York University and a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College, City University of New York. She is the recipient of numerous grants and awards, including the American Association of University Women Publications Grant and the National Council for Teachers of English 2011 Early Career Educator of Color Leadership Award. Her research and teaching interests include U.S./Third World Feminism, Transnational Feminism, Latina/o Studies and Caribbean Studies. Vanessa is a recognized expert advisor on issues of teacher development and preparation, with a focus on culturally relevant curricula and bilingual education. She has created workshops for teachers on incorporating Latino history and culture in New York in New York City Public Schools curriculum, in alignment with New York State standards. She has worked with the Center for Puerto Rican Studies and the Gotham Center. She is available for speaking engagements, workshops, curriculum development, and advisory program management.
Kathryn Carpenter is a doctoral student in the Urban Education program at the CUNY Graduate Center (2009-present). She holds Bachelor’s degrees in English Literature and Spanish Literature from the University of Montana (2002) and has also studied at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid in Spain. A former New York City Teaching Fellow, she earned her Master’s degree in English teaching from Queens College (2006) and her Bilingual Education certificate from Hunter College (2007). She spent six years working at a Dual Language program at a public intermediate school in Queens, where she was one of the founding teachers and program coordinator. In 2010, she “retired” from her school to focus on caring for her baby son and developing his emergent bilingualism. Her interests include developing and sustaining successful bilingual programs for all students and normalizing the use of multiple languages by all populations. Her dissertation research is on non-Latino English-speakers in Spanish-English dual language bilingual programs.
Luz Yadira Herrera was born in Mexico and was raised in Los Angeles, CA, where she spent most of her life before moving to New York City. She has a B.A. from UCLA in International Development Studies and Portuguese, and an M.A. in TESOL from Pace University. Currently, she is a doctoral student in the Urban Education program at the CUNY Graduate Center, where she is an Enhanced Chancellor’s Fellow. Her research interests are in bilingualism in education and home language maintenance in emergent bilingual children in NYC public schools. She has taught various teacher preparation courses at the graduate level at the City University of New York as an adjunct professor. She also has 7 years (and counting!) experience of teaching in a multilingual ESL program and coordinating bilingual programs at the elementary school level.
Sarah Hesson is a doctoral student in the Urban Education program at the CUNY Graduate Center. Her research interests include bilingual education policy and pedagogy, and social justice education. She received her BA in Comparative Literature from Bryn Mawr College, and earned her Master’s in Bilingual Childhood Education from Fordham University through the NYC Teaching Fellows Program. She worked at the NYC Department of Education as a bilingual teacher at both the elementary and middle school levels for six years. She currently studies at the Graduate Center where she is an Enhanced Chancellor’s Fellow.
María Cioè Peña is a doctoral student in Urban Education at The Graduate Center, where she is an Presidential MAGNET Fellow. María received her BA in English and Political Science from SUNY Cortland and her Master’s degree in Teaching Urban Children with Disabilities from LIU – Brooklyn with a Bilingual Special Education Scholarship from the NYCDOE. She taught Bilingual Special Education (Spanish) in the NYC public school system for six years.
Kate Seltzer is a doctoral student in Urban Education at The Graduate Center, where she is an Enhanced Chancellor’s Fellow. She is also an adjunct instructor at City College, where she teaches classes on TESOL methods and teaching literacy to emergent bilinguals. Kate received her BA in English and Women’s Studies from The George Washington University and her Master’s degree in English Education from Lehman College through the NYC Teaching Fellows. She taught English in the NYC public school system for six years. Kate also co-authored Translanguaging: A CUNY-NYSIEB Guide for Educators with Christina Celic.
Luis Guzmán Valerio is a doctoral student in Hispanic and Luso-Brazilian Languages and Literatures program at the CUNY Graduate Center. He is specializing in Hispanic Linguistics. Luis was born in the Dominican Republic. As a child in Queens, he had two years of Transitional Bilingual Education. As a teenager at W.C. Bryant H.S., he took Spanish, French and German. He is proud to be a product of the NYC public school system. Luis has a B.A. in Modern Languages, a Certificate in Hispanic Studies, and an M.A. in Translation, all from the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus. He worked one year as a NYC Teaching Fellow. His research interests include Spanish in society, translanguaging, and linguistic landscapes. He previously worked as a Research Assistant in the Second Language Acquisition Lab (RISLUS) on first and second language competencies in bilingual reading in elementary school children.
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Elizabeth Pratt is a doctoral student in the PhD program in Linguistics at the CUNY Graduate Center. Her current academic research is focused on identifying the effect of various linguistic factors influencing the language performance of bilinguals and English language learners. In addition to this research, Elizabeth has also taught courses as an adjunct lecturer in Psycholinguistics, and Bilingualism and Education at Queens College and Lehman College, and currently serves as a Research Fellow with the Office of General Education at Queens College.
Diego Vargas was born in Colombia and came to the U.S. when he was sixteen years old. He has a B.A., and an M.A. in Applied Linguistics and TESOL Certification from Montclair State University in New Jersey. He is currently a doctoral student in the Hispanic and Luso-Brazilian Literature and Languages (linguistics track) at the CUNY graduate center. His research interests include sociolinguistics, bilingualism and second language acquisition.
Kenville Thompson My experience includes 2 years on Wall Street as a technology analyst for Goldman Sachs, 1 year as software/IT consultant for companies such Golden Pear Funding, Good Communications LLC, and 2 years at the Graduate Center Information Technology User Services Division as a help desk support. In 2005 I had the privilege to work on the west coast with Genentech, a leading biotechnology firm as a web/software analyst. My experience not only involves corporate but also academia. I have over 3 years of experience as an adjunct lecture in the computer science department.
Christina Celic is an educational consultant specialized in supporting emergent bilinguals’ academic and linguistic development. She provides professional development services for schools, districts, and non-profit organizations in New York, as well as nationally and internationally. Ms. Celic creates and conducts professional development centered on the topics of program development for emergent bilinguals, curriculum planning with emergent bilinguals, developing students’ academic language proficiency, differentiating instruction, and assessment with emergent bilinguals. To support educators in these topics, Ms. Celic consults with school leadership teams to implement school-wide initiatives, provides interactive workshops for teachers and administrators, facilitates planning sessions with teachers, and demonstrates instructional strategies. Since 2001, Ms. Celic has taught grades 1-6 in bilingual and ESL programs. She began teaching in a maintenance 50-50 Spanish-English bilingual program in Illinois, where she helped develop the bilingual curriculum for literacy and content-area instruction. Ms. Celic also worked as a bilingual resource teacher in Illinois, supporting emergent bilinguals across grades by providing integrated literacy instruction in both Spanish and English. After moving to New York, Ms. Celic taught at P. S. 212 in Jackson Heights, Queens in a self-contained ESL classroom, where she infused native language supports into the mainstream curriculum to help her emergent bilingual students excel academically and linguistically. Ms. Celic also has experience as a Literacy Coach for P.S. 165 in Morningside Heights, supporting teachers in grades K-5 who serve emergent bilinguals, including dual language, ESL, and mainstream teachers. Most recently, Ms. Celic worked as a bilingual teacher at P.S. 58 in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn in a side-by-side French-English dual language program. She helped create the 3rd grade curriculum for this newly expanding bilingual program, and provided a year-long series of professional development workshops for the school’s pre-K – 5th grade mainstream and bilingual teachers. In 2010, Ms. Celic taught a graduate-level course entitled Teaching Language Arts and Reading, PreK-6 in the Bilingual Education & TESOL department at City College of New York, CUNY. She has also been a guest lecturer for graduate-level courses at Teachers College, Columbia University and City College of New York, CUNY. Ms. Celic is the author of English Language Learners Day by Day, K-6: A Complete Guide to Literacy, Content-Area, and Language Instruction, published by Heinemann in 2009. She is co-author with David and Yvonne Freeman of the forthcoming Heinemann publication Academic Language for English Language Learners. Ms. Celic presents annually at the International TESOL Convention (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages) and has also presented at IRA (International Reading Association), the Brazilian Bilingual Schools Conference in São Paulo, and the Dual Language Symposium in New York City.Ms. Celic has a Masters in Bilingual Education from Teachers College, Columbia University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and Education from Indiana University. She holds professional teaching certification in Bilingual Education (Spanish), Childhood Education, and ESL. Ms. Celic is bilingual in Spanish and English, and highly proficient in Portuguese.
Heather Homonoff Woodley is a Clinical Assistant Professor of TESOL and Bilingual Education in the Department of Teaching and Learning at New York University, Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development. She graduated with her Ph.D. in Urban Education from the CUNY Graduate Center, with research focusing on meeting the academic, linguistic and social-emotional needs of emergent bilinguals, particularly Muslim immigrant youth who speak less common languages. Heather’s research takes a pedagogical approach to arts-based research, using visual and performing arts to spark and build on multilingual voices in classroom spaces. Heather received her BA from Wesleyan University, followed by a Fulbright Scholarship at Al Akhawayn University in Morocco, and then her MS in TESOL Education from CCNY, CUNY. She began her career in education as a New York City Teaching Fellow and taught middle school English Language Arts for emergent bilinguals at Middle School 118 in the Bronx. She then taught high school English Language Arts at Maya Angelou Public Charter School in Washington, DC, an alternative high school for youth in the juvenile justice system. Heather worked for two years as a Research Assistant with CUNY-NYSIEB providing teacher support, classroom resources, and leadership training for public schools in the Bronx and Yonkers. She has published research exploring multilingual classroom practices and arts as social justice education, and has presented work at various conferences including the American Association of Education Research, New York State Association of Bilingual Education, the annual RISLUS Forum, and the CCNY Immigration and Education Conference.
Angela Carrasquillo (Consultant and Lead Writer, Documentation Component, 2011-2013) retired from Fordham in 2008, but remains actively involved in several educational settingsThis September, and under the CUNY-NYSIEB, she produced (with the collaboration of Dr. Diane Rodriguez and Laura Kaplan), an important document for bilingual education: New York State Education Department Policies, Mandates and Initiatives on the Education of English Language Learners. Professor Carrasquillo she has authored and co-authored a long list of books, among those, Puerto Rico and New York: A Latina Professor’s Journey (2011); Beyond the Beginnings: Literacy Interventions for Upper Elementary English Language Learners(with S. Kucer & R. Abrams, 2004), and Language Minority Students in the Mainstream Classroom (with V. Rodriguez, 2002), monographs and articles. Most of them with the purpose of addressing the talents and achievements, as well as the linguistic and academic needs of students for whom English is not their native/primary language.
Alejandro Carrion (Research Assistant, Documentation Component, 2011-2013) is a doctoral student at the CUNY Graduate Center. His dissertation research focuses on Latino males from the Bronx and their transition from high school to college. Alejandro is also an adjunct lecturer at Hostos Community College and Westchester Community College where he teaches sociology. Prior to his doctoral work he was employed by the NYC Department of Education as a parent support officer for district 4 and also ran numerous after-school programs.
Nelson Flores (Interim Project Director, 2011-2012) is Assistant Professor in Educational Linguistics at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education. He has collaborated on several studies related to the education of emergent bilingual students in New York City including a study of “Long Term English Language Learners,” a study of successful high schools of Latino students, and a study examining language use among teachers and students in two small schools that serve an exclusively Latino emergent bilingual population. His current research project seeks to develop a political economy of bilingual education in Philadelphia.
Laura Kaplan (Research Assistant, Documentation Component, 2011-2013) is a Graduate Teaching Fellow in the MA TESOL Program at Hunter College. She is currently teaching the course “Social, Historical, Philosophical Foundations of Education & Bilingual Theory and Practice.” Laura is also pursuing her doctorate in the Urban Education program at the CUNY Graduate Center. At the moment she is involved in a research project looking at language policies and practices for emergent bilinguals in New York State from a historical perspective. She has also participated in a study for the Department of Education on best practices for Latino students in New York City public schools. Laura holds a Masters in TESOL from Hunter College as well as a Masters in Latin American Studies from NYU. She has taught ESL at Hostos Community College, Bronx Community College and Passaic County Community College. Laura began her teaching career as a bilingual elementary school teacher and later as a teacher of EFL in Cochabamba, Bolivia.
Liza Pappas (Research Assistant, Leadership Component, 2011-2013) is a PhD candidate in Urban Education at the City University of New York. Her doctoral studies concentration is in critical education policy, the processes by which education policy is shaped, implemented and experienced. Her dissertation examines conflicts over proposed school closings in New York City during the years 2009-2011. Selected as a 2011 Spencer Foundation Dissertation Writing Fellow, Ms. Pappas is completing her writing this year. Prior to her time at CUNY, Liza worked for a national education network, the Cross City Campaign for Urban School Reform, which advocated for a shift in authority, resources, and accountability to the school level, and to reconnect schools to their communities. At Cross City, Liza served as a program director for a national youth leadership and education organizing initiative. High school students she collaborated with inspired her to pursue graduate studies in school improvement work. She has taught Philosophy of Education and Race, Class, and American Schooling courses at Hunter College. She has also guest lectured on the power of community organizing efforts for school reform. Additionally, she has worked as a writing instructor at the New York City College of Technology and the Brooklyn Education Opportunity Center. This year she has also served as a professional development consultant for the College Now program faculty at City Tech. Liza Pappas holds a Masters of Education degree in Education Policy and Management from Harvard University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Public and Community Studies from Providence College.
Zoila Tazi (Associate Investigator, 2011-2012) is currently a Principal at the Park Early Childhood Center in Ossining, New York. In this capacity, Dr. Tazi oversees a program serving over 650 preschool children. Dr. Tazi has over 20 years experience working with children and families. She has been a director of several children’s programs including a private Day Care as well as a Head Start Child Development Center. Her clinical experience includes work with young children as a primary therapist in a psychiatric setting and as a School Social Worker. Dr. Tazi has worked in the Ossining schools since 1997 serving an immigrant population of children and families. She is a co-founder of Proyecto ALCANCE, an association of Spanish-speaking parents within the Ossining schools where there is a large and growing Latino community. Dr. Tazi is a frequent conference presenter on issues relating to serving a Latino immigrant population. In 2002, The New York State Association of Bilingual Education gave Dr. Tazi the “Bilingual Support Person of the Year” award for the state. In 2000, Dr. Tazi contributed to a proposal and program design for a family literacy program in the Ossining schools entitled “First Steps/Primeros Pasos” which serves hundreds of families with children ages 0-4 in all of the Ossining community. Dr. Tazi has contributed to published textbooks on two occasions highlighting her work among Latino children. The first was a chapter on “Colombian and Ecuadorian Children and Families” for a Social Work textbook entitled, Culturally Competent Practice with Immigrant and Refugee Children and Families published in 2003. The second was published in 2010 entitled, “Preventing the Gap in Preschool: A Suburban Community Model” appearing in Breaking the Mold of School Instruction and Organization. In September of 2010 Dr. Tazi wrote Bilingual by Design: a Vision for Preschool Education in New York for the quarterly newsletter of the New York State Association of Bilingual Education (NYSABE). In January of 2010, Dr. Tazi received the “Pathways to Leadership” Scholarship from the New York State Council of School Superintendents in recognition of her leadership in education. Dr. Tazi obtained a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Urban Education from the City University of New York, Graduate Center. Her dissertation studied the effects of bilingual instruction on the emergent literacy skills of Spanish-speaking preschool children.