Speaker Information

Luncheon Keynote: Paul Atkinson

Paul Atkinson is the director of multi-housing/house congregations & Philippi churches.  Hear about his journey with dyslexia, and the literacy teachers who helped him.




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American Accent: Six Techniques for ELLs to be understood by everyone!

Red Goldstein is an accent specialist/comic mimic who’s figured out how to teach others simple techniques to mask, enhance, or change accents in order to get intended audiences to understand and absorb their message better. Agape Baptist Church in Fort Worth has given him the platform for several years and he continues to have fun and deliver ways to help people be better understood.

Census 101: Why Your Answers Matter

Cynthia Wallace is a partnership specialist with the U.S. Census Bureau. She building partnerships to address issues of under-counted communities. With more than 12 years of experience in outreach and advocacy, Cynthia is passionate about social justice issues that impact families. She holds a master’s degree in ministry from Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University, and a bachelor’s degree from Dallas Baptist University.

Citizenship: Where Do I Begin?

Shelly Whitfield has been an ESL and Literacy volunteer teacher, stateside and abroad, for more than 20 years. She has also been a volunteer citizenship instructor for the last seven years. Currently, Shelly serves as a policy research fellow for Leadership ISD in Tarrant County. She is a proud UT Longhorn (B.A. in English) and ASU Sundevil (M.Ed. in English Education) graduate.

Contextualized Learning: Journey to Success by New Readers Press

Ann Beeson has worked with literacy and adult education programs since 2001. She currently works in seven states as an independent sales consultant, offering primarily New Readers Press resources for adult learners. She has a master’s degree in curriculum and instructional design from the University of Minnesota.

Directors’ Roundtable

John Spear is the ESL director for Southcliff Baptist Church in Fort Worth. He has been involved in ESL programs for 18 years.

Hear Here: The Audio Revolution of Podcasts, Adapted for Literacy Instruction

Wes Young is the executive director of Tarrant Literacy Coalition and has spent the last 6 years working in adult education classrooms of all types. Currently, he tutors basic literacy students in Fort Worth and Arlington. He also teaches HSE in White Settlement.

Elements and Dynamics of Human Trafficking

Noel Mendoza is the human trafficking outreach program director at Mosaic Family Services. He helps youth, families, and professionals throughout North Texas increase their understanding and initiate comprehensive responses to trafficking victims, survivors, and their families.

HiSET 2020

Tanya Guerrero Haug is the national director for the HiSET program. She serves as the main point of contact for state clients and provides HiSET program information to adult education programs and other stakeholders. Her works focuses on connecting test takers, employers, community organizations and adult education program with the HiSET curricula.

Introduction to Civic Engagement and Restorative Justice for Immigrant Communities

Sindy Mata is a community organizer with the human rights organization RAICES. She began organizing with the Tarrant County grassroots coalition group ICE, where she helped build people power and mobilize change to end the federal 287(g) agreement that authorized the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to deputize selected state and local law enforcement officers to enforce federal immigration law. Sindy continues to advocate by organizing for the protection of immigrant rights.

Let Students do the Work!

Dr. Nikki Ashcraft is an associate teaching professor in the online M.Ed. program in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) at the University of Missouri. She has taught English to adults in the United States, Mexico, Chile, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates.

Local ESL Teaching and the Value of University TESOL Certificate Programs

Cynthia Kilpatrick is a faculty member in Linguistics and TESOL at The University of Texas at Arlington, where she is also the current director of UTA’s English Language Institute. She also serves as a TEX trainer for Literacy Connexus.

Kurk Gayle directs the TESOL Certificate and ESL programs at Texas Christian University. He grew up bilingual and has formally studied 10 named languages. He’s passed the TExES English as a Second Language Supplemental (154) Test for teaching ESL in public schools in Texas.

Refugee ESL and Citizenship

Russell J. Chun is a retired U.S. Army Civil Affairs officer and former ESL instructor in Hungary (five years). He has a masters degree in TESOL from Nyack College, served as an instructor at Dallas Baptist University’s Intensive English Program (three years), and is currently an ESL/Citizenship instructor with World Relief.

Social Media in an ESL Classroom

Olga Gilbert is a non-native English speaker who considers her journey of learning English to be an invaluable experience that helps her relate effectively to her students. She has taught ESL in Latvia, Russia, Israel, and Canada. She has also taught writing and grammar credit courses at Richland and Eastfield Community Colleges.

Technology in Adult ESL: Impact on Teachers and Students

Dr. Katie Welch has taught in K-12, adult education, and higher education classrooms. She is past-president of TexTESOLV, was the 2018 state ESL conference chair, and has presented at numerous conferences nationwide. Dr. Welch holds a Ph.D. in Linguistics from UT Arlington.

Understanding Our Cultural Lenses

Patty Lane is a cross-cultural practitioner with more than 35 years of experience working with more than 70 different languages and cultures. She is the author of A Beginner’s Guide to Crossing Cultures (Intervarsity Press) and regularly leads conferences and training on issues of working in a multicultural context.

Using National Geographic Resources to Find Your Voice in English

Janet Kay received her degree in education with a specialty in reading instruction from the University of Texas in Austin. She has worked with schools and educators for more than 25 years. As an educational sales consultant with National Geographic Learning, Janet provides training and support for ESL programs throughout Texas.

Welcome the Stranger: Understanding the Immigrant Story

Federico Salas-Isnardi is director of the Mayor’s Office for Adult Literacy in Houston. Linguist, adult educator, trainer, and author, he has worked in adult education and literacy for over 30 years. Federico is a certified diversity trainer specializing in social justice. He is also co-author of the Future English series and Future U.S. Citizens, published by Pearson ELT.

Welcoming and Instructing Adults with Learning Difficulties and DisABILITIES

Joan Grigsby works with tutors and students in L.E.A.R.N. for Life, a reading tutorial program for adults who speak English but cannot read well due to learning challenges or interrupted education.

Jheri Clark, a dedicated tutor who works with low-level readers, successfully incorporates language experience to develop reading skills.

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