Expanding Educational Opportunity for Michigan's ELs:

Bridging Research and Practice


Madeline Mavrogordato & Jessica Gonzalez


Saturday Luncheon Plenary


Madeline Mavrogordato is Associate Professor of K-12 Educational Administration in the College of Education at Michigan State University. Her research investigates how education policies shape outcomes for underserved student populations, particularly immigrants and English learners. In addition, she studies how to develop and support effective school leaders who are prepared to serve students from diverse backgrounds in today’s climate of high stakes accountability and evaluation. Her work is informed by her experience serving as a bilingual teacher in Texas and California. Dr. Mavrogordato’s work has appeared in a range of publications including Educational Evaluation and Policy AnalysisEducational Administration Quarterly, and Educational Policy. She currently serves as co-editor of American Educational Research JournalShe holds a Ph.D. in Leadership & Policy Studies from Vanderbilt University. 


Jessica Gonzalez is a 6th grade English language arts teacher in Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD in South Texas. She is passionate about expanding educational access and equity for her students. Jessica was born and raised in the Rio Grande Valley right along the Texas-Mexico border and is a proud first-generation college graduate from Michigan State University. While in college, Jessica formed coalitions between organizations and collaborated with university administration to expand underrepresented students’ access to resources and increase Latino graduation rates. Through a Congressional Hispanic Caucus Internship, Jessica worked in the office of Congresswomen Veronica Escobar to gain first-hand experience and knowledge of the networks and systems that promote positive educational change at the federal level. She was nationally recognized for her commitment to public service with the Newman Civic Fellowship in 2018.

Loubna Alkhayat-Hatahet, Licensed Counselor & Clinical Trauma Specialist

The Effect of Trauma on Adolescents' Development, Friday 4 pm

The Impact of Trauma on Adults' Learning, Friday 5 pm


Loubna Alkhayat-Hatahet is a Licensed Professional Counselor, National Board Certified Counselor, and a certified clinical trauma professional. She received her MA in community counseling from Wayne State University in 2007 and is currently a Ph.D. candidate.  Loubna works as a psychotherapist and a clinical supervisor at Oakland Counseling Center in West Bloomfield, MI. She has experience working with Iraqi refugees and Asylum seekers, as well as Syrian refugees. 



Rebeca Ontiveros-Chavez, Attorney, MIRC

Working Together for Undocumented Students Success Friday 5 pm


Rebeca is an attorney at the Michigan Immigrant Rights Center, Washtenaw County. She represents unaccompanied immigrant children and individuals in the metro Detroit area on various immigration matters. In 2019, she was appointed by the Michigan Supreme Court to the Foreign Language Board of Review as the LEP Populations Advocate. Rebeca has played an integral role in creating the Immigrant Justice Lab, an interdisciplinary team-based approach that brings students together from different disciplines at the University of Michigan to assist in asylum cases. She also advocates for racial equity as a member of the Michigan Advocacy Program’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee. She is committed to ensuring that all youth have access to higher education regardless of immigration status.  


Jennifer Paul, MDE EL & Accessibility Assessment Specialist

ELs and State Assessments, Saturday 9 am


Jennifer Paul is the MDE's EL & Accessibility Assessment Specialist, who works to improve access to the content of Michigan’s assessments through continuous advancement of accessibility options for ELs and all special populations of students. Jen’s experiences in the classroom and at an intermediate school district drove her passion for improving the educational system for ELs and for the educators of these students. During Jen’s 10 years at MDE, her concern for underrepresented students and knowledge of assessment has provided her many national publication opportunities through organizations such as the Council of Chief State School Officers. She has additionally garnered external leadership opportunities across national assessment consortium such as serving as Smarter Balanced’s Assistant Director of Supports for Under-Represented Students and actively serving as a member of WIDA’s Executive Committee.  Jen holds a BA in English and Spanish and teaching certificates from Kalamazoo College, an MA in TESOL and an MA in Educational Leadership from EMU, and she is currently completing her Ph.D. at Michigan State


Kelly Alvarez, MDE EL Educational Consultant

The State's Strategic Road Map for ESL K-12Saturday 10 am

Guest Speaker at K-12 SIG Meeting, Saturday 11 am 


Kelly Alvarez is an EL Educational Consultant for Michigan Department of Education in the Office of Educational Supports in the Special Populations Unit. She has extensive experience as a dual language immersion teacher, as a principal, and as a director of school innovation focused on getting improved results for students of color and ELs. She is passionate about culturally responsive teaching and improving instruction for English Learners in both elementary and secondary settings. Ms. Alvarez’s undergraduate work focused on elementary education, mathematics, science, and ELs.  She holds a master’s degree in Bilingual Bicultural Education with an administrator endorsement. 



 
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