NYSABE Elections 2019
Meet the Candidates
Regional Delegate Candidates: Region I
REGIONAL DELEGATE CANDIDATE – REGION I
Mrs. Janet Lovett is a highly motivated educator. From classroom experience to staff developer, and as an accomplished administrator, Mrs. Lovett has a comprehensive experience in the education of English language learners (ELLs). Currently, Mrs. Lovett is the Director of Bilingual Education and World Languages in the Hempstead Union Free School District (HUFSD). Her current doctoral work is focused on the success of multi-lingual learners and their parents.
Mrs. Lovett is very passionate about her responsibilities in the district especially when it comes to decisions that affect students. Mrs. Lovett is a transformational leader. She strongly believes in lifting up and working with other knowledgeable colleagues to accomplish all missions and tasks. She does not believe in working in isolation. Her team is composed of dedicated educators, administrators, and assistants whose leadership add an array of talent and dimension to any task or challenge at hand. Mrs. Lovett is driven by student success. She motivates others to do their best. She lives by the expression, “If we make decisions based on how it is going to affect students, we will make better decisions.”
Mrs. Lovett has strong convictions of including parents in all aspects of their children’s education. Her greatest passion are multi-lingual learners and their families. She is an avid advocate for MLLs including those with Individualized Education Plans (IEPs). Her vision is to produce students who are proud of their home language, their culture, and their ability to build not just the English language, but additional World Languages thereby creating global minded students with greater opportunities to succeed in life no matter where they live on our planet.
REGIONAL DELEGATE CANDIDATE – REGION I
Priscilla Zárate is the ENL and World Languages K-12 Coordinator for the Islip Union Free School District.
Ms. Zárate served as Executive Director at the New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE) for two years, where she serviced over 150,000 English Language Learners in 1,800 schools throughout the NYC five boroughs. As the Executive Director, Ms. Zárate led citywide initiatives including the creation, development, deployment, implementation, and monitoring of supports, resources, and services for English Language Learners (ELLs) across districts, field support offices, and schools. She implemented and expanded high quality Transitional Bilingual Education (TBE), English as a New Language (ENL), and Dual Language (DL) programs. Ms. Zárate build the capacity of superintendents, principals, assistant principals, teachers and Field Support Centers in the areas of literacy, mathematics, foundational skills, STEM, World Languages, TBE and DL programs.
Ms. Zárate currently serves as Suffolk County Hispanic Advisory Board Member for the Suffolk County Government Office of Minority Affairs. Since 2013, she has been a committee member of the Town of Babylon’s Department of Human Services Hispanic Heritage Committee, for which she coordinates children’s programs and activities.
Priscilla Zárate has presented at many NYC and NYS conferences on the planning and implementation of bilingual programs including, but not limited to the NABE (National Association of Bilingual Education), NYSABE (New York State Association of Bilingual Education), CABE (California Association of Bilingual Education), QTEL (Quality Teaching for English Language Learners), Adelphi University’s Forum on Teaching English Language Learners, and NYC Department of Education’s Dual Language Symposiums and Panels.
Regional Delegate Candidates: Region II
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 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.
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
REGIONAL DELEGATE CANDIDATE – REGION IV
Drioni Vergara has been a Syracuse City School District teacher for the past 25 years. She is a product of the Syracuse city schools. She is a graduate of Frazer Elementary and a graduate of Henninger High School. Drioni is an English language learner and ever since she met her first ENL teacher; she knew she wanted to become a teacher. She is fluent in Spanish and English, and is currently teaching kindergarten in the Dual Language program at Delaware Primary. Drioni Vergara received her undergraduate degree from Le Moyne College and later received her Master’s degree from Syracuse University. Drioni Vergara has taught sixth grade, second grade and Kindergarten. Most of her teaching career has been in bilingual classrooms and this is where she feels she has made the most impact.
REGIONAL DELEGATE CANDIDATE – REGION IV
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 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.
Regional Delegate Candidates: Region V
REGIONAL DELEGATE CANDIDATE – REGION V
Meybhol Sapienza is currently serving as an Assistant Principal at James Monroe High School a school within the Rochester City School District. Meybhol has been working in Bilingual Education since 2004, in Rochester, New York, and in Bilingual Special Education since 2012 in Rochester City School District. In 2007, Meybhol became an administrator in the Rochester City School District, and in 2013, moved to building administration serving as one of the first bilingual Coordinating administrator of Special Education. Meybhol was born in Nicaragua, whose family immigrated to the United States in the early 1980s. Meybhol sees her role as advocate and educator as an integration of both her personal and professional responsibilities. Meybhol is passionate and dedicated in working with bilingual students, teachers and staff. Meybhol strives to promote and advocate for bilingualism and biliteracy. Meybhol is pleased to serve as a delegate of NYSABE for the Rochester region and work to strengthen the collaboration of Bilingual Educators.
REGIONAL DELEGATE CANDIDATE – REGION V
Enid DeJesus is the Director of Transition Systems for the Rochester City School District (RCSD). She works at the Office of Student Equity and Placement supervising the Language Assessment Proficiency Center (LAPC), as well as supporting students in the Juvenile Justice and foster care systems. Enid started her career at RCSD in 2003 as a School Counselor and her passion for supporting students and families led her to earn a degree in School Administration. In 2017 when Enid began working with LAPC, she worked to streamline protocols and procedures, advocate for Bilingual programs and services for English Language Learners/Multilingual Learners. In 2018, she championed for additional services for SIFE students, which resulted in the implementation of the BRIDGES program through collaboration with RBERN and district level administration. Enid is pleased to serve as a delegate of NYSABE for the Rochester region and work to strengthen the collaboration of Bilingual Educators.
Regional Delegate Candidates: Region VI
REGIONAL DELEGATE CANDIDATE – REGION VI
Petra Mencía was born in the Bronx, raised in the Dominican Republic. She has been a bilingual special education educator and administrator for 28 years, 26 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 assisted with NYSABE conference registration and annual student essay contest. She has chaired the Hospitality Committee and Special Education Strand. Petra has participated in fundraising events, mini conferences, and teacher training initiatives in her region.
She has offered her unique perspective and 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: Buffalo Public Schools Reading Committee, Parent Involvement, changes in C.R. Part 154 Regulations, No Child Left Behind assessments, Race to the Top, and Say Yes to Education Buffalo. She is currently a Content Specialist for Teach for America Buffalo.
Petra is a bilingual education product 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 influence the education of English Language Learners throughout New York State.
REGIONAL DELEGATE CANDIDATE – REGION VI
Claribel González is a resource specialist at RBE-RN West, (Regional Bilingual Education Resource Network) where she supports districts in achieving academic excellence for English Language Learners. Her love of language started at a young age as a result of her enrollment in the 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 elementary teacher in the Buffalo Public Schools teaching fifth grade. Claribel later took on the role as the Bilingual Coach for the Division of Multilingual 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.
Arabic: Abdulilah Al-Dubai
CANDIDATE FOR LANGUAGE DELEGATE: ARABIC
My name is Abdulilah Al-Dubai. I was born in Tazi, Yemen and grew up in Eritrea, East Africa. I came to Syracuse New York in 2004. I attended the Onondaga Community College for two semesters before transferring to Le Moyne College in Syracuse, New York. I am a former national team soccer player and received a full tuition soccer scholarship from Le Moyne College. I graduated with a degree in Business Administration and a minor in Economics. I speak and write in five different languages: Arabic, Amharic, Tigrinya, Affar and English. I graduated with a master’s degree in Education, specialty area foreign language (Arabic) teacher in the fall of 2017. I have been working for the Syracuse City School District (SCSD) since 2010 originally as a teaching assistant, then as a nationality worker and finally as the only Arabic teacher in the district. In addition, I am currently the president of the Islamic Society of Central New York (ISCNY), and pursuing my certificate of advance studies in Educational Leadership at Syracuse University.
Speaking different languages and understanding cultures enabled me to work with diverse group of people from different countries around the world effectively and successfully. In 2009, I co-founded, with five friends, the North Side Learning Center (NSLC) to help educate and empower refugee population in our community. I have been volunteering as assistant director at the NSLC since 2009. Furthermore, I volunteer for different organizations in my community to help students with school or to provide counselling and support in different areas.
Chinese: Nancy King Wang
Nancy King Wang
CANDIDATE FOR LANGUAGE DELEGATE: CHINESE
Ms. Nancy King Wang worked for NYCDOE for more than 30 years as an ESL teacher, a Chinese language teacher, a bilingual guidance counselor and an Assistant Principal of Administration. She taught in the College Now Program at LaGuardia Community College and served as President of the Association of Chinese-English Bilingual Educators East Coast of USA. Ms. Wang holds a master degree in Bilingual Education and ESL Teaching from City College; a master’s degree in Applied Psychology and School Counseling from NYU, and a post Master’s degree in School Administration and Supervision from St. Johns University, including Principal and District Administrator’s licenses.
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.
Haitian: Marie Lily Cerat, Ph.D.
Marie Lily Cerat, PhD
CANDIDATE FOR LANGUAGE DELEGATE: HAITIAN
Marie Lily Cerat has a Ph.D. in Urban Education and a Certificate in Africana Studies from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. Through the theoretical lenses of post-colonialism and culturally responsive and sustaining pedagogy, her work examines the effects of the exclusion of Haitian language and culture in the education of Haitian learners. 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.
Hebrew: Miriam Eisenstein Ebsworth, Ph.D.
Miriam Eisenstein Ebsworth
CANDIDATE FOR LANGUAGE DELEGATE: HEBREW
Miriam Eisenstein Ebsworth, Ph.D., is a teacher educator, researcher, and advocate supporting multilingual learners and communities. She has a multicultural identity and English is her second language (with Yiddish, Hebrew, French and Spanish). She began her educational career as an Elementary School Teacher of English learners and was licensed by NY State in Childhood, Early Childhood, ESL, and Bilingual Early Childhood (Spanish/English).
A former member of the NABE executive board, Dr. Ebsworth twice chaired the NABE Research and Evaluation SIG. She has served on the NABE Dissertation Awards Committee and represents NABE on the Hispanic Education Council. The current NYSABE Hebrew language delegate for NYSABE, she serves on the NYSABE Advocacy Committee. She is also a longtime member of Puerto Rico TESOL.
Dr. Ebsworth directs the Doctoral Programs in Multilingual Multicultural Studies at NYU where she is academic director of the English program for families of international students and co-chairs the ELL Think Tank. Her research interests include using technology in L2 pedagogy, language variation, heritage languages, academic writing, and intercultural pragmatics
Dr. Ebsworth was NYSABE Bilingual Teacher of the Year award (2018-2019) and received the NYU Teaching Excellence Award and the NYSTESOL Outstanding Teacher Award.
Korean: Hyunjoo Kwon
CANDIDATE FOR LANGUAGE DELEGATE: KOREAN
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 Korean parents and Korean language teacher’s 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.
Spanish: Eliezer Hernández
CANDIDATE FOR LANGUAGE DELEGATE: SPANISH
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 is currently serving his third term 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 aaduna, inc. board of Directors. In May of 2017, he started his doctoral degree through St. John Fisher.
Spanish: Isis E. Monteza
Isis E. Monteza
CANDIDATE FOR LANGUAGE DELEGATE: SPANISH
Isis E. Monteza is a National Board Certified Teacher for English as a New Language. Isis is currently working at P.S 73 in the Bronx at the new UFT Teacher Center site in which building community and teacher leadership are her major goals. After a rewarding career advocating for the academic, emotional, and social needs of ELL/Bilingual students as an ENL teacher/ENL Coordinator, Isis is currently interested in coaching, mentoring, and teacher leadership practices to empower teachers in impacting student achievement. In addition, Isis is an experienced and skilled facilitator presenting at NYC public schools, DOE and UFT citywide conferences, and at national levels (NABE, 2018). As a background knowledge, Isis was recruited by the NYCDOE as an international teacher in 2002 in Panama. Isis obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Education: ESL concentration in Peru and her TESOL master’s degree from City College of New York. Isis has a wonderful and supportive husband and a black cat named Tristan for good luck.