Delegate Assembly 2021-2022
Region I/Long Island
Janet Suárez Lovett
Ms. Suárez Lovett became a bilingual teacher in 1999 at the Brentwood Union Free School District (BUFSD) in Suffolk County. She taught for seven years and then accepted a Bilingual Resource Specialist position in the BUFSD where she provided professional development to teachers, parents, and administrators.
In 2009, Ms. Suárez Lovett became the Assistant Administrative Coordinator for the Intensive Teacher Institute where she managed the grant for general education teachers seeking to obtain their bilingual extension or their English to Students of Other Languages (ESOL) certification. Ms. Suárez Lovett worked with institutions of higher education across the State of New York to ensure that teachers were receiving the preparation necessary to properly educate students learning English as a new language.
In 2014, Ms. Suárez Lovett was hired as the Coordinator of Bilingual Education & World Languages in the Hempstead Union Free School District where she continues to advocate for multilingual learners and their families. She works closely with a professional team dedicated to providing what is in the best interest of the students in the district.
Currently, Ms. Suárez Lovett is a doctoral student at the University of Phoenix online program. Her passion is centered on the engagement of parents of multilingual learners. She is expected to receive her doctoral degree by the year 2020.
Dr. Jordan Gonzalez
Region II/ New York City
In 2015, Luis joined the Bronx Field Support Center (BFSC) as an ELL Services Administrator for District 9. During his time at the BFSC from 2015-17, he was responsible for addressing the instructional needs of the District 9 bilingual/ESL teachers, and all ELL classroom teachers, as well as district- and school-level goals, assessments and professional development plans. Currently, he is an Assistant Principal at Public School 73 in The Bronx, a model dual language school. He dedicates each workday to directly support teachers, families and students by supervising the dual language program and grades 3-5. Luis is also a NYSABE delegate and adjunct professor for bilingual education at the City College of New York City, Teachers College and Bank Street College of Education.
In the many roles that he has served, Luis has always been committed to ensuring of educational equity and excellence for multilingual learners.
In her current role at the Division of Multilingual Learners, Lisa collaborates with organizations to develop culturally responsive programs that promote education advocacy for parents and students, particularly newcomers and students in temporary housing. As the supervisor of the Angelo Del Toro Puerto/Rican Hispanic Youth Leadership Institute, Lisa works in collaboration with the RBERNs at Fordham University and New York University as well as the NYSED/NYC DOE Seal of Biliteracy initiatives to provide students with greater opportunities for success.
In addition to working at the NYC Department of Education, Lisa has experience in organizing study and travel abroad programs for students to Europe, Asia, Middle East and The University of Rio Piedras in Puerto Rico.
A certified trainer in the Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol, Ms. Viscardi was named the WIDA Featured Educator for April 2013 by World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment and recognized by the Mount Kisco Latino Providers Network in 2015 for outstanding service to the community. She has addressed parents and educators at the local, state, and national levels. Ms. Viscardi sees bilingual education as a transformative force in public schools and suburban communities, where she aims to uphold excellence and equity for emergent bilinguals.
Dr. Dixelia López
Dr. Dixelia López is no stranger to advocacy around equitable practice for multilingual-multicultural learners. Dr. López spent the first 15 years of her career advocating for equitable Bilingual-School Psychological practices in the City School District of Albany. As the only bilingually certified School Psychologist in Upstate, N.Y. Dr. López was often called upon to consult with neighboring school districts and universities on various topics including language acquisition, culturally relevant and reflective practices, and interventions, among others. In 2013, Dr. López’s expertise was recognized by her colleagues with a Golden Apple Award.
Dr. López is a second language learner, and proud Dominican-American-Immigrant, who is fascinated by cross-cultural interchanges, thereby seeing personal action as a colorful exhibition of one’s cultural experiences, personality and social-political history. Admittingly, her own social-political history led to the pursuit and attainment of a doctoral degree in International Psychology from the Chicago School of Professional Psychology (January 2016).
Dr. Dixelia López holds her international work in high regard. In particular, her work in Africa provided the opportunity to engage in program management, program evaluation and scholarly work employing the significance of different cultural beliefs and practices in the development of effective community-based interventions. Through projects in Sierra Leone and South Africa, Dr. López applied her skills in the design and delivery of competent psychological services to populations in diverse settings at a community level; one of which involved a group project which was adopted by UNICEF, Sierra Leone.
Most recently, Dr. López spent several years providing leadership and guidance to a variety of professionals as the Bilingual School Psychologist/Evaluation Specialist for the Putnam/Northern Westchester BOCES in Yorktown Heights, N.Y., where she was nominated to the NY State Council for Superintendents 2020 Dr. Mary Barter’s Scholarship for Women and Minorities Award.
Dr. Dixelia Lopez’s passion for learning is not only evident in her life’s work but also in her most recent pursuit of a master’s degree in Educational Administration through Bank Street College (pending May 2021). Dr. Lopez’s passion for equitable practice for culturally and linguistically diverse youth continues in her current role as Director of School Counseling in the Ossining Union Free School District.
Dr. Dixelia López also serves in leadership within the National Association of School Psychology (NASP) as the Latinx Co-chairperson of the Multicultural Affairs Committee, and within the executive board of the New York Association of School Psychologist as the Co-Chairperson of the Culturally Responsive Committee. Dr. López also mentors graduate students who assisted in co-writing her most recent featured article: Integrating Latinx/Hispanic Culture, Traditions and Beliefs into Effective School Psychology Practice (Communiqué, December 2020 Issue).
In her personal life, Dr. López enjoys traveling, journaling, painting, Broadway shows and nature walks. She also practices hot-yoga, mindful moments, and gratitude.
James Nieves Bermúdez grew up in the town of Hatillo, Puerto Rico. He decided to become a teacher when he was in high school. After graduating high school in 1996, James attended the University of Puerto Rico, School of Education, and majored in Spanish. During his junior year in college, he had the opportunity to be part of the Cordova Internship. He worked at the office of the Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico in Washington DC, where he covered congressional hearings related to education. After completing his internship, he returned to Puerto Rico to finish college where he received the medal of excellence in student teaching.
James graduated from the University of Puerto Rico in May of 2002. While in Puerto Rico, James had the opportunity to interview with the Syracuse City School District and obtained a teaching job at the George W. Fowler High School. He taught all levels of Spanish, including Spanish for Spanish Speakers and Distant Learning Spanish. In May 2009, James completed his Master’s Degree at Syracuse University in the Spanish Language, Literature and Culture program. He has held many leadership roles such as department chair, building union representative, secretary of the Syracuse Teacher’s Association and Coordinator of the Twilight Academy. James also had the opportunity to be part of the Teacher Advisory Council to the Commissioner of Education of New York State. In October of 2013, James received the Educator of the Year Award from the Nosotros Radio, in Syracuse, NY.
James completed his Certificate of Advance Studies at the State University of New York at Oswego in Education Leadership. In September of 2014, James had the opportunity to become Vice Principal of the Westside Academy at Blodgett. James is part of the recruitment team for the Syracuse City School District and the ELL Core Leadership Team. In July 2018, James became the Principal of Seymour Dual Language Academy where he currently works. He has been part of the Syracuse Westside community for the past 17 years.
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Region VI/Western New York
Claribel González is a resource specialist at RBE-RN West, (Regional Bilingual Education Resource Network) where she supports districts in achieving academic excellence for multilingual learners. Her love of language started at a young age as a result of her enrollment in bilingual programs in the Buffalo Public Schools.
Claribel attended the University at Buffalo where she earned a master’s degree in childhood education with a bilingual extension. Her commitment to give back to the Latino community led her to begin a career as a bilingual 5th grade teacher in the Buffalo Public Schools. Claribel later took on the role as the bilingual coach for the Division of Multilingual Education in the Buffalo Public Schools where she gained experience in providing side by side coaching to teachers as well as assisting in the strengthening of the district’s bilingual programs.
To be announced (TBA)
Dr. Gliset Colón
Dr. Gliset Colón is an Assistant Professor with the Exceptional Education Department at SUNY Buffalo State. She is also the Coordinator for the Bilingual Graduate Certificate Program. Dr. Colón teaches courses on topics related to bilingual special education, behavior and classroom management, and foundations of special education. In addition to teaching, Dr. Colón has research interests and expertise in literacy and language outcomes for multilingual students with and without disabilities, multi-tiered systems of support, disproportionality, culturally relevant and sustaining pedagogy, and intersectionality. Dr. Colón is actively involved in several professional organizations including the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC), CEC Teacher Education Division (TED), National Association for Bilingual Education (NABE), and the New York State Association for Bilingual Education (NYSABE).
Cynthia J. Felix
She is a proud alumnus of NYC public schools and graduated summa cum laude from Brooklyn College with an Advanced Certificate in School Administration & Supervision, a Master’s Degree in Special Education and a Bachelor’s Degree in Education & Speech.
A leader and pioneer in Bedford’s Dual Language Program, Ms. Ortiz has served on various committees from the planning and implementation phase of Dual Language to bridging communication with middle school staff and central office administrators to ensure continuity of instruction and transition. She has presented on various topics for the parent community within her district. During the pandemic, she offered a workshop for parents on how to connect with students, families and teachers when in a remote learning setting in collaboration with Neighbors Link, a community based organization. Ms. Ortiz also engages in political action as a NYSUT representative in the Committee of 100. She also serves as a field supervisor at Hunter College for graduate students completing their student teaching experience in early childhood. She is looking forward to a partnership, through NYSABE, with colleagues and families for continued advocacy for the multilingual community.
Ms. Ortiz holds degrees and credentials from the City University of New York at Lehman College, College of New Rochelle and the College of St. Rose where she completed her Certificate in Advanced Studies in School Building Administration.
Lyda Ragonese is the Assistant Director for the Office of English as a New Language, World Languages and Bilingual Education in the Syracuse City School District. She is a Hmong-American from Laos and is a fluent speaker of Hmong. She began her teaching career in 1993 as an English as a Second language teacher at Franklin Elementary before moving to Frazer K-8 School in Syracuse. She has her TESOL certification from Le Moyne College and M.A. in Reading Education from Syracuse University. After leaving the classroom, her experiences varied in the fields of student learning objectives (SLO), APPR, and was elected as the treasurer of the teacher’s union in Syracuse. She has served as an adjunct professor at Le Moyne College and earned her Certificate of Advanced Studies (C.A.S.) from Syracuse University in Educational Leadership.
Dorothy Santana has a long history of working in the field of social work supporting and working alongside various diverse populations to ensure they’re afforded the opportunities to secure services that meet their needs to live safe and fulfilling lives. She is the founder and President of Latina Moms Connect, Inc. where for the past eight years has guided the work in supporting and celebrating communities in cultural preservation and nurturing cultural identity. Latina Moms Connect intentionally builds spaces to share culture with our children and community that also help enrich cultural identity. Through Social Networking, Facilitated Dialogues and group activities, Latina Moms Connect has impacted over 1500 women and families to our programming, resources, and partnerships across Long Island. HIghlighted events have been, Parranda Navideña , Cena Con Los Reyes, Sofrito Sunday, Bochinche Brunch,and more, where mothers or families have authentic conversations and make connections around cultural identity formation and their parenthood journey. Dorothy has been a long-time advocate for social justice and has served on various committees representing the various needs of communities of color. She is a trained facilitator of the Parent Leadership Training Institute and facilitated parent leadership training courses for seven years. Dorothy is currently the Culturally Responsive Education Specialist for the Long Island Regional Partnership through Long Island University’s Center for Community Inclusion, funded by the NYSED Office of Special Education where she works facilitating regional culturally responsive professional development as well as offering embedded support with her team in identified school districts around cultural responsiveness.
Aide Zaino Flores
Silvia Nina Vergara
Nancy King Wang
Dr. Marie Lily Cerat
Dr. Cerat has worked in the K-16 New York public education system as a classroom teacher, a staff developer and a college teacher for over 20 years. Her academic writings have appeared in Rethinking Schools, the Journal of Haitian Studies, and the International Journal of the Sociology of Language. In addition to her scholarly activities, Dr. Cerat has a long history of organizing within the New York Haitian community. She is the co-founder of Haitian Women for Haitian Refugees (HWHR), a group that was established in 1992, to provide ESL and adult literacy programs to Haitian immigrants and refugees in the Brooklyn area. Today, HWHR continues to provide educational services, as well as organizes leadership training to help members advocate on their own behalf for civil, educational, social, labor/economic and immigration justice.
Dr. Miriam Eisenstein Ebsworth
Dr. Miriam Eisenstein Ebsworth is a teacher educator, researcher, and advocate in the areas of Bilingual Education, TESOL, Second Language Acquisition, and Applied Linguistics. She is Academic Director of the English program for the families of international students at New York University, Past Director of PhD Programs in Multilingual Multicultural Studies; and co-chair of the ELL Think Tank at NYU.
Her research interests include using technology in second language pedagogy, second language academic writing, and intercultural pragmatics. She is a consultant for the UN in the continued development of Actionthroughwords, a website for English learning and has appeared in “The Three R’s,” a film exploring academic language and the T.V. show Public Voice Salon. Miriam is the recipient of the NYSABE Bilingual Teacher of the Year award (2018-2019), the NYU Teaching Excellence Award and the NYSTESOL Outstanding Teacher Award.
Dr. Hyunjoo Kwo
Hyunjoo Kwon is a Resource Specialist at the NYSED Language Regional Bilingual Education Resource Network at NYU. Before retiring from the NYC Department of Education, she was a bilingual teacher and LAU Coordinator at a New York City public high school. She also worked at the Asian Languages Bilingual Education Technical Assistance Center (ALBETAC) as a Resource Specialist given opportunities to reach out to various Asian communities.
Dr. Kwon has been active in supporting immigrant children’s education. In collaboration with the Korean Teachers Association of New York, founded by her in 1992, she has coordinated citywide activities such as the Korean parents and Korean language teachers’ workshops. She was honored with the Korean Government’s Presidential Award (2003) for her leadership in leading the Korean educational community.
Dr. Kwon received a B.A. from Ewha Women’s University, Seoul, Korea and an M.S. from State University of New York at Buffalo. She completed her doctoral study in educational administration at NYU Steinhardt School of Education.
Dr. Eliezer Hernández
Eliezer Hernández was born in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, and raised in a bilingual, multicultural household in the South Bronx by a Dominican immigrant. After graduating from high school, he attended SUNY Oswego. He served as President of Nuestra Esperanza, the Latino Student Union, and founder of a chapter Phi Iota Alpha Latino-American Fraternity, Inc.
Mr. Hernández worked as a Spanish teacher in the Auburn Enlarged City School District for 10 years. While in Auburn, he became the Spanish Club advisor and founded the José de San Martin chapter of La Sociedad Honoraria Hispánica. He is currently serving his third term on the Auburn School Board of Education.
In 2010, Mr. Hernández joined the Syracuse City School District as an administrative intern first, and later became a vice principal at the Westside Academy@the Blodgett Middle School. In 2014, he was appointed as the principal of the Delaware Primary School where he began building a PreK-5 bilingual school in Syracuse. At the present time, he is the President of the Auburn/Cayuga County Branch of the NAACP, a member of the Harriett Tubman Center for Justice and Peace, the board of directors of AADUNA, Inc., and secretary of the Minority Professionals Association. Mr. Hernández is enrolled in the Executive Leadership doctoral program at St. John Fisher College.