NYSABE Elections 2017

Meet the Candidates

Regional Delegate Candidates: Region II

Cecilia M. Espinosa

Cecilia M. Espinosa

Regional Delegate Candidate – Region II


Cecilia M. Espinosa was born in Ecuador, South America. Before completing her PhD, she was a teacher assistant at a preschool, a bilingual-multiage K-2nd grade classroom teacher, and a director of a K-8 dual language program. She is currently an Associate Professor of Early Childhood/Childhood at Lehman College/CUNY, where she teaches courses on Biliteracy, ENL methods and child development from a multicultural/multilingual perspective. Cecilia’s work was deeply influenced by her work with The Prospect Center for Education and Research under the leadership of Patricia Carini and Cecelia Traugh. Cecilia is a faculty member of the New York City Writing Project (NYCWP) and Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) at Lehman College. Her research interests include: biliteracy, the role of the child’s linguistic repertoire as a tool for thinking and learning, the importance of children’s culturally and linguistically relevant literature, teacher learning communities, and collaborative research.

Cecilia brings many years of deep commitment for bilingual education through all the roles she has occupied. In each one of these she has been a strong advocate towards the creation, maintenance, research and recognition of high quality bilingual education programs that ensure rich educational opportunities for all students, as they develop bilingualism and biliteracy. Over the years Cecilia has strived to ensure bilingual students receive the best possible education. Parents have been central to her work as a educator.

Eva Garcia

Eva Garcia

Regional Delegate Candidate – Region II


Eva Garcia is a former school and district administrator in the Bronx. She holds two Masters’ degrees, one Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from the Curriculum and Teaching Department at Columbia Teachers’ College, and the other in Bilingual Education from Hunter College. She was a Principal for 18 years of a “k-6” school in District 8 in the Bronx. Upon retiring in 2006 as a principal she worked as a consultant for CEIPEA mentoring and coaching bilingual and ESL teachers.

In 2007, the Fordham University, Graduate School of Education under the Center for Educational Partnerships recruited Eva as a Resource Specialist and later on became the New York State Bronx BETAC Director from 2007 to 2012. In 2012 Fordham University was awarded a new contract for NYC RBE-RN which would serve all five boroughs in NYC. Eva continued as Executive Director of the NYC RBERN, working effectively with a team of 7 resource specialists delivering high quality services in schools identified for Title III support and Regional PD for NYC school districts. The work with ELL teachers and administrators provides the most current, up-to-date research related to ELL/Bilingual instruction, cutting edge strategies of education reform to serve the New York City constituents. Being a member of various professional organizations representing teachers and administrators, Eva continues to stay current on educational issues related to multilingual learners and when necessary serving in an advisory capacity.

Luis Quan

Luis Quan

Regional Delegate Candidate – Region II


Luis Quan is devoted to ensuring that English Language Learners receive the highest quality education within an academically rigorous and culturally responsive setting. He has dedicated his career to bilingual children and their families. After graduating from Yale University, Luis started his career in the New York City Department of Education as a bilingual teacher with Teach for America. As a UFT Chapter Chair and graduate of the Bank Street College Bilingual/ENL Teacher Leader Academy (BETLA), he strengthened instructional outcomes for bilingual students and supported ELL professional development at his school in The Bronx. After graduating from the Summer Principals’ Academy (SPA) at Teachers College, Columbia University, Luis became Director of English Language Learners and Family Engagement for a majority of schools in District 6 and 11. In this capacity, he provided daily coaching and supervisory support to a cadre of ELL liaisons and parent coordinators, building capacity to support a network of 35 schools. He facilitated monthly professional development to ensure consistency and high quality instructional services for ELLs aligned to Common Core Learning Standards and developed strategic plans to address the instructional needs of the network’s bilingual/ESL teachers.  In 2015, Luis joined the Bronx Field Support Center as an ELL Services Coordinator for District 9.   He is responsible for addressing the instructional needs of the District 9 Community Superintendent’s bilingual/ESL teachers, and all ELL classroom teachers, as well as district- and school-level goals, assessments and professional development plans. In addition, he dedicates each work day to ensure the appropriate and compliant delivery of instructional and programmatic services for all ELLs in accordance with applicable local, state and federal regulations in addition to providing ongoing ELL support and technical assistance. Luis is committed to strengthening the movement of educational equity and excellence for all learners.


Regional Delegate Candidates: Region IV

Jacqueline LeRoy

Jacqueline LeRoy

Regional Delegate Candidate – Region IV


Jacqueline LeRoy is the Director of English as a New Language, World Languages and Bilingual Education for the Syracuse City School District (SCSD) where she supervises, develops and implements program planning and support to 31 SCSD schools, and 4 alternative sites in the district. Previously, she served as the Instructional Specialist for English as a Second Language (ENL), World Languages and Bilingual Education where she provided professional development in effective practices with English Language Learners, and supported with program planning to the ENL, Bilingual and general education teachers in the district.

Her educational background includes an Undergraduate Degree from Niagara University, a Master’s Degree from SUNY Oswego, and a Certificate of Advanced Studies in Educational Leadership from Lemoyne College. Jacqueline’s teaching certifications include: Teaching English to Students of Other Languages, Teaching a Foreign Language in Spanish, and she is a certified Reading Specialist. Her educational experiences have included teaching Spanish, teaching English as a New Language for 10 years in the Syracuse City School District and working as a Literacy Coach for the SCSD English Language Arts Department.

Jacqueline is a part-time adjunct professor at Syracuse University, and teaches in the graduate level degree program for in-service teachers earning their TESOL certification. Jacqueline is a Delegate for NYSABE, a member of the NYSABE Technology Committee for the NYSABE 2017 Conference, an active member in NYS TESOL, and has presented at local and state conferences.

Lyda Ragonese

Lyda Ragonese

Regional Delegate Candidate – Region IV


Lyda Ragonese has 24 years of teaching and advocacy experience in the Syracuse City School District. She taught 18 years as an ENL teacher for multilingual learners and has also served her district as a Student Learning Objectives Coach, APPR and Instructional Liaison, and English as a New Language and Bilingual Education/World Languages Instructional Specialist. Her other experiences varied as an adjunct professor at Le Moyne College and the Treasurer of her local union.

Lyda Ragonese was born in Laos, fluent in Hmong, and moved in Syracuse, NY at a young age. She received her bachelor’s degree in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages from Le Moyne College, and completed her master’s degree in Reading Education and received a certificate of advanced studies in Educational Leadership at Syracuse University.

Lyda is currently the Region IV/Central NY Delegate and is seeking re-election in that role. During the 2017 NYSABE Conference, she was the Technology Committee Chair.

Regional Delegate Candidates: Region V

Lourdes Roa

Lourdes Roa

Regional Delegate Candidate – Region V


Lourdes Roa is currently serving as the Mid-West RBERN (Regional Bilingual Education Resource Network) Coordinator at Monroe 2 -Orleans BOCES. Lourdes has been working in Bilingual Education since 1982, in Houston, Texas and Bridgeport, Connecticut, and in Bilingual Special Education since 1991in Rochester City School District. In 2006, Lourdes became an administrator in the Rochester City School District, and in 2009, moved to building administration at the Eugenio Maria de Hostos Charter School until 2015. Lourdes has served as adjunct professor at Nazareth College, Buffalo State College, and at SUNY Brockport in both TESOL and Bilingual Education graduate programs since 1996. Lourdes was born in Cuba, whose family immigrated as refugees in the early 1960s. Lourdes sees her role as advocate and educator as an integration of both her personal and professional responsibilities. Lourdes is pleased and honored to return to the delegate assembly of NYSABE after a decade of teaching and serving the ELL community in the Rochester region.

Hulda Yau

Hulda Yau

Regional Delegate Candidate – Region V


Hulda Yau has been working for the Rochester City School District (RCSD) since 2003 and is a 2nd-grade bilingual teacher in an integrated classroom. Hulda holds a Master of Science in Education from the State University of New York at Brockport and has New York State certificates in the areas of PreK-6, Spanish 7-12, and Bilingual Education Extension. She has worked with CUNY-NYSIEB since 2014 and through this collaboration has presented on Translanguaging at the NYSABE conference and for teachers in RCSD. Hulda is also the Assistant Editor of the NYSABE newsletter.

Regional Delegate Candidates: Region VI

Rebecca Elias

Rebecca Elias

Regional Delegate Candidate – Region VI


Rebecca Elias feels the field of bilingual education has deeply influenced her since she moved from Puerto Rico to the United States to attend college. She has spent her entire working life in that field. Ensuring high-quality bilingual programs, as well as programs in English as a new language, in the state of New York has been a passion of hers for more than 20 years.

She began her career as a bilingual fifth-grade teacher in the city of Buffalo, where she gained experience developing and implementing literacy curriculum and instruction to meet the diverse needs of her students. Among the core philosophical values that have guided her approach to teaching are a belief that all children, irrespective of their background and circumstances, deserve access to authentic literature so that they can become lifelong readers and writers.

Her experience extends from teaching students in a bilingual classroom setting to working as a regional resource specialist and instructional coach. Ms. Elias provides lesson demonstrations and side-by-side coaching and implementing literacy programs in bilingual and monolingual K-12 classrooms.

In her many years as an educator, Ms. Elias knows English learners achieve when given robust and highly-scaffolded learning experiences, supported in both the home and new language.



Petra A. Mencía

Petra A. Mencía

Regional Delegate Candidate – Region V


Petra Mencía was born in the Bronx, raised in the Dominican Republic. She has been a bilingual special education educator and administrator for 26 years, 24 of those in the Buffalo Public School District. Petra’s involvement with NYSABE began in 1992 as a graduate student at SUNY at Buffalo. Since then, Petra’s experience as an educator and administrator has proven to be an asset as she has served NYSABE in a variety of ways. She has served as a NYSABE Regional Delegate and Hospitality committee chair. She has also served as committee member for registration and the annual student essay/art contest. Petra has participated in fundraising events, mini conferences, and teacher training initiatives in her region.

She has offered her unique perspective as an educator and administrator while serving on several committees that have advocated for the rights of ELLs across the region on the following initiatives: Parent Involvement, changes in C.R. Part 154 Regulations, No Child Left Behind assessments, Race to the Top, and Say Yes to Education Buffalo.

Petra is a product of bilingual education from the New York City Public School System. She is a passionate advocate for the rights of English Language Learners and is confident that her efforts will positively impact the education of English Language Learners throughout New York State.

Language Delegates

Spanish: Eliezer Hernández

Eliezer Hernández

Spanish Language Delegate Candidate – Region IV


Eliezer Hernández was born in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico and was raised in a bilingual, multicultural household in the South Bronx by a Dominican immigrant. While in at SUNY Oswego, he founded a chapter of the oldest Latino Fraternity, Phi Iota Alpha Fraternity, Inc. and served as national President in 1998. After serving 10 years as a Spanish teacher in the Auburn Enlarged City School District, he became an Administrative Intern in the Syracuse City School District. He worked his way up to become the Principal of a bilingual school, Delaware Primary School. Since 2014, Mr. Hernández has been charged in building a PreK-5 bilingual school on the west side of Syracuse, NY.

In 2011, his commitment to civic engagement led him to earn a seat on the Auburn Enlarged City School District Board of Education. Mr. Hernández just won a third term election on the board. He also serves as President of the Auburn/Cayuga County Branch of the NAACP. He is a member of the Harriett Tubman Center for Justice and Peace, and Aduna, inc. board of Directors. In May of 2017, he will be starting his doctoral degree through St. John Fisher.

Spanish: Zoila Morell, Ph.D.

Zoila Morell, Ph.D.

Spanish Language Delegate Candidate – Region III


Zoila Morell, PhD., is currently an Associate Professor in Educational Leadership at Mercy College. She has served in an administrative capacity in a variety of programs serving young language learners and their families. She received statewide recognition for her work as a school Principal where she administered programs for over 1000 children and families, mostly from immigrant homes. Dr. Morell currently serves on an advisory board to the New York State Education Department on the identification and instruction of young language learners in the growing Pre-K programs across the state.

A frequent keynote speaker and presenter, she also consults with school districts on language acquisition, emergent literacy, school readiness, parental involvement, bilingual education, and early childhood programming. In addition, Dr. Morell’s research examines early childhood education and bilingualism; she has several publications on these topics.



Russian: Maria Kot

Maria Kot

Russian Language Delegate Candidate – Region II


Maria Kot has been a devoted advocate for bilingual education and the rights of immigrant children. Maria has been a community organizer and parent leader since 2009. She is a strong voice of the Russian community and liaison between parents, educators, officials and politicians, as well as foreign governments. Maria initiated and helped to establish two Russian dual language programs in NYC. Both programs were among 15 named by Chancellor Farina as Model Dual language programs. Maria was elected a NYSABE Parent- at-Large delegate in 2014. As a delegate she co-chaired a Parent committee. Maria started a Parent Leadership initiative to increase the influence of parents in the organization. Presently, Maria works with two parent groups that want to start dual language programs (German program in Williamsburg and Russian program on Upper West Side). Both programs scheduled to start in September 2017. Maria also works with Edward Murrow High school on implementing the Seal of Biliteracy.

Maria Kot is the recipient of a commendation by Comptroller John C. Liu for her outstanding advocacy on behalf of immigrant families and for her steadfast work in support of bilingual education. In addition, Maria was the recipient of the NYSABE Pillars of Biliteracy Award in recognition of her leadership and commitment to NYSABE’s mission and the field of bilingual education.

Hebrew: Miriam Eisenstein Ebsworth

Miriam Eisenstein Ebsworth

Hebrew Language Delegate Candidate – Region II


I am honored to be nominated as Hebrew language delegate for NYSABE. Appreciation is due to my parents for having made this choice, despite being given professional advice to the contrary. I am among the very fortunate individuals who was a student in a bilingual school starting Kindergarten through the 10th grade. We studied English every morning and Hebrew every afternoon. The benefits I have continued to receive from this opportunity are substantial and additive to my native Yiddish, heritage language Spanish, and foreign language, French. In fact, I am now a learner of Mandarin, and it is helpful to be reminded of the challenge adults have in acquiring additional languages.

Through the years, I have also embraced several roles as a bilingual educator. Building on work starting in 1968 with children in Brooklyn, I have been fortunate to also supervise bilingual teachers and to advocate for bilingual programs through regular visits to local, state, and national policy makers. As director of the NYU bilingual doctoral program, I have mentored many teachers and researchers. Our graduates are leaders in bilingual research, policy, administration, and teaching in NY and around the country. Our languages are our treasures, tied to culture, knowledge, and a sense of identity and strength. I currently serve on the NYSABE Advocacy committee and as liaison to our NYSTESOL sister committee. In addition, I am Co-chair of the NABE Research and Evaluation SIG. Whatever I do, I will always be first and foremost a teacher and an advocate, working for bilingual education for learners, families and communities.

If elected to be the NYSABE Hebrew language delegate, my goal will continue to be to help expand and grow our bilingual family and community so that our multilingual multicultural chorus of voices in support of bilingual education- and each other- will be too strong to ignore. My deep appreciation to NYSABE’s wonderful leaders and membership for their tireless work on behalf of Emergent Bilingual learners and communities. It is an honor to be part of this special family.

Arabic: Abdulilah Al-Dubai

Abdulilah Al-Dubai

Arabic Language Delegate Candidate – Region IV


Abdulilah Al-Dubai, was born in Tazi, Yemen and grew up in Eritrea, East Africa. He came to Syracuse New York in 2004. He attended OCC for two semesters before transferring to Le Moyne College. He is a former national team soccer player and got 100% soccer scholarship from Le Moyne College. Abdulilah graduated with a degree in Business Administration and a minor in Economics. He speaks and writes in five different languages: Arabic, Amharic, Tigrinya, Affar and English. He will graduate with a master’s degree in Education, specialty area foreign language (Arabic) teacher in the fall of 2017. Abdulilah has been working for the Syracuse City School District (SCSD) since 2010. He started as a TA, then as a nationality worker and finally Arabic teacher.

Speaking different languages and understanding cultures enabled him to work with diverse group of people from different countries around the world effectively and successfully. In 2009, he cofounded, with five friends, the North Side Learning Center (NSLC) to help educate and empower the refugee population in his community. Abdulilah, has been volunteering as assistant director at the NSLC since 2009. Furthermore, Abdulilah, does volunteer work for different organizations in his community to help students with school or to provide counselling and support in different areas of his expertise.

Haitian: Marie-Alix Emmanuel

Marie-Alix Emmanuel

Haitian Language Delegate Candidate – Region II


Marie-Alix Emmanuel, Resource Specialist, worked for the New York City Department of Education for over 29 years, where she took on increasing positions of leadership – starting as a teacher, to staff developer, to administrator in a pre-K to 8th grade school. She joined NYU in the summer of 2015, bringing with her myriads of experiences in Haitian bilingual education, English as a Second Language, special education, early childhood education and middle school education. Ms. Emmanuel graduated and has earned a BS from City College of NY, an MS from Queens College of NY and a PhD from St John’s University. She also studied Homeland Security at Long Island University and continues to study to complete her doctoral degree.

Chinese: Nancy King Wang

Nancy King Wang

Chinese Language Delegate Candidate – Region II


Nancy King Wang strongly believes that Bilingual Education not only helps students to learn English, but also helps students maintain their home language. It not only helps students academically, but also helps students culturally and socially. Bilingual Education can strengthen the executive function of the brain. Bilingual children are better at dealing with conflict management; it makes children more adaptable and flexile in social communication.

NYSABE is an organization to promote bilingualism for all; its mission is to promote the services for ELLs/Bilingual learners through instruction in their home language and English. Students receive academic instruction in their home language while acquiring proficiency in English, whereby English speaking students also learn a language other than English, to increase literacy in two languages. Nancy believes that the mission of NYSABE is also to promote cultural awareness and provide educational equity and excellence of students in New York State. She strongly believes that members of NYSABE promote public understanding of the importance of language and culture in education and become not only advocates but activists in defending the rights of linguistic minority communities to promote a harmonious pluralistic society.

Korean : Hyunjoo Kwon

Hyunjoo Kwon

Korean Language Delegate Candidate – Region II


Hyunjoo Kwon is a Resource Specialist with the New York State Language Regional Bilingual Education Resource Network (Language RBERN) at New York University.

Dr. Hyunjoo Kwon started her teaching career as a Title VII resource specialist in 1980 with the New York City Board of Education. Dr. Kwon was involved in bilingual education as a bilingual teacher and the LAU Coordinator in a high school. She also worked as Resource Specialist at the Asian Languages Bilingual Technical Assistance Center (ALBETAC) where she was given the opportunity to reach out to various Asian communities.

Recognizing the importance of empowering the Asian communities, particularly the Korean community, Dr. Kwon started the Korean American Teachers Association of New York in 1992. In collaboration with the Teachers Association, she coordinated citywide parents and teacher conferences for many years. She serves on the boards of the Foundation for Korean Language and Culture in USA, a nationwide Korean community organization for Korean language programs, and the American Association of Teachers of Korean (AATK).

Dr. Hyunjoo Kwon holds a bachelor’s degree from Ewha Women’s University in Seoul. She completed the CAS and doctoral study in Administration at NYU Steinhardt School of Education.