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Friday Keynote Speaker


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Dr. Mary Schleppegrell is a linguist and Professor of Education at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Previously an elementary school teacher and an ESL teacher, she now studies the linguistic challenges of learning school subjects. Her current research with Chauncey Monte-Sano is supporting teachers in engaging middle school students in discipline-specific writing in social studies classrooms with English learners who need support for reading and writing at grade level. Her books include The Language of Schooling (Erlbaum, 2004), Developing Advanced Literacy in First and Second Languages (co-edited with Cecilia Colombi, Erlbaum, 2002,) Reading in Secondary Content Areas (with Zhihui Fang, University of Michigan Press, 2008), and Focus on Grammar and Meaning (with Luciana de Oliveira, Oxford University Press, 2015).


Saturday Plenary Speaker


Holly Hansen Thomas photo.jpgDr. Holly Hansen-Thomas is Professor of ESL and Bilingual Education and has recently served as Interim Dean of the Graduate School Texas Woman’s University in Denton, TX. She is a two-time Fulbright Scholar and has taught and/or worked with teachers of English Learners in Texas, New York, as well as in Costa Rica, Spain, Hungary, Germany, Norway, and Austria, among other places. Having successfully written and/or managed over 7 million dollars in federal grant funding through the National Professional Development Program through the Department of Education Office of English Language Acquisition, Dr. Hansen-Thomas has engaged in teacher training for content area teachers of ELLs for nearly 10 years. However, she has been a faithful TESOL education (and member) for over 25 years. Her research interests include ESL training for mainstream secondary level teachers; ELLs’ development of academic language in mathematics and science; language awareness; and teacher identity.



Invited Speakers


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Dr. Erin Knoche Laverick, Ph.D., is an associate professor at The University of Findlay.  At UF, she is the director of the Intensive English Language Program and an instructor in the graduate TESOL program. Her research interests focus on second language writing pedagogies and multimodal compositions.





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Jennifer Paul is the Michigan Department of Education’s English Learner and Accessibility Assessment Specialist who works to improve access to the content of Michigan’s assessments through continuous advancement of accessibility options for English learners and all special populations of students. Having begun her career in education as a middle school and high school teacher in the Jackson area and working with districts across the county at the Jackson Intermediate School District, Jen took her passion for the needs of students to MDE.



Dr. Shereen Tabrizi oversees the Special Populations Programs with Michigan Department of Education.  She has led committees that created the MDE Parent Engagement Toolkit, the Program Evaluation Tool, the Entrance and Exit Protocol for English Learners and Handbook for Educators of ELs with Suspected Disabilities. Dr. Tabrizi works closely with her team, representatives from Intermediate School Districts, Institutions of Higher Education, and Community Based Organizations to improve coordination of services to students and narrow achievement gaps. Shereen has extensive experience in the area of curriculum instruction, bilingual/special education, program development, evaluation and assessment. In her former leadership positions, she established successful research-based practices in schools including an Arabic K-5 dual-language, a K-5 world language and a balanced assessment system. Shereen has been a teacher in elementary and secondary classrooms and college, a school and central office administrator as well as program evaluator.  She has developed an Arabic K-8 curriculum, instructional units using UBD, as well as bilingual formative assessments. Dr. Tabrizi presents locally and nationally, serves st the Vice President of the National Council for State Title III Directors and the Chair of the EL Committee with the National Title I Association.

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