Archive for the ‘About Us’ category

The President’s Corner

March 12th, 2010


President’s Message as reported in the Fall 2012 Messenger

Having served on the board for many years, I am honored to serve as the 2012-2013 President. The Board is committed to promoting SSTESOL’s mission “to provide educators access to professional development, resources, and interaction, and to provide leadership and advocacy in language policy issues.” This mission is guides the work of the Board.

My shared vision for 2012-2013 is two-fold. First, we will continue to ensure that educators are informed about laws, mandates, “best” instructional practices, textbooks, technology, and the latest research on second language acquisition and culture. This happens through ongoing advocacy efforts that are often spearheaded by board members and/or friends of the Board, and during our annual conference held in May. Please visit our website ( in mid fall for details regarding the 2013 conference.

Secondly, the Board members and myself are committed to ensuring the vitality of the local TESOL chapters. As the statewide affiliate to TESOL International, we have a vested interested in the success of the local chapters. ESOL professionals across the state should have healthy, convenient networks for providing support. Following SSTESOL’s constitution, it is my vision that new chapters will be chartered, existing chapters will be revived, and healthy relationships will abound.

As a member of friend of SSTESOL, I charge you to become more involved in your local chapter, SSTESOL, and TESOL International. If you are interested in advocacy, join our list serve at http://www.sunshine-tesol/advocacylistserve.htm. If you or colleagues are interested in serving on the board, submit nominations during the call for nominations early spring 2013. While we expect that you will attend the conference in May 2013, we also urge you to submit proposals for the conference. We learn from one another’s research, experiences, and practices. Your ideas and contributions are always welcome. Our door is open at Together we are stronger.



Kisha C. Bryan, Ph.D.

SSTESOL President




Welcome Letter from Pat Grant in the SSTESOL 2012 Conference Program

Welcome to Orlando, and the 34th annual SSTESOL Conference, Passport to Success: Innovation and Collaboration in TESOL! We are glad you are here and look forward to this time together. The 2012 conference team has worked hard to plan and deliver a world-class event filled with many opportunities for exciting and rewarding professional growth.  If you are new to the TESOL community, we extend a warm welcome; if you are a veteran TESOL participant, welcome back. Whether your focus is K-12, higher education, EFL, adult ESOL, or teacher preparation, we think you will find something of interest to you over the next few days.

In accordance with our theme, this year’s conference will provide a forum for sharing innovative ideas and collaborating with experts and professionals in our field.  The beauty of ESOL is the multitude of perspectives and experiences that shape our world. The English language is a splendid ferry which guides us through international waters and expands our horizons.  I hope that in attending this SSTESOL conference, you are able to increase your knowledge, gain new skills, gather ideas, and broaden your perspectives.

While you’re here, please take the time to visit our publishers and vendors.  There you will find an array of materials to hone your skills or enhance your course offerings. Our exhibitors are the backbone of our conference, and have graciously sponsored several of our expert plenary speakers.

Finally, after all is said and done, enjoy Orlando.  We chose this venue largely because of the family-friendly environment.  After a full day of academic sessions and multiple workshops, take some time to relax and explore the city.  Take advantage of the cultural and linguistic diversity that makes this area a prime destination.  We like it so much that we’ve decided to return in 2013 for our next SSTESOL Conference!

Thank you for coming, and I hope you have a fantastic conference experience.  Please feel free to stop and introduce yourself and share your feedback.  The conference team strives to make this event exceed your expectations every year.


Patricia Grant

SSTESOL President



As posted in the Messenger Winter 2010/Spring 2011

This year our membership had the pleasure of having a wonderful vibrant president leading the Sunshine State TESOL Organization throughout the year and in preparation for the May 2011 conference. Nora Dawkins led the organization with a kind, but purposeful hand, and she has gotten the business of the organization done with a smile and positive words. Nora Dawkins is dedicated to the profession, to her colleagues on the board, but more than that to the membership of this worthwhile organization. She never for a moment strays from the goals of the organization and kept in mind, always, the ESOL students.

ESOL students need their fair share of an equal and comparable education as given to the native English speakers. Because they are not native English speakers it is appropriate to speak on their behalf when necessary; the board of Sunshine State TESOL does that in many ways by assuring that teachers are informed about laws, mandates, instructional practices, textbooks, social media, workshops at conferences and on the latest important research in second language learning. The president’s duty and work during the year is to build up to the yearly Sunshine State TESOL conference; to show that a successful conference brings positive aspects to professional educators from school districts, colleges and universities in Florida. Together participants share their expertise and compassion for the ESOL students and for the profession.  Nora Dawkins and the Sunshine State TESOL Board dedicate their time and effort to this noble cause. The efforts are enriching everyone’s perspective of their chosen profession. The Board lives up to the Mission Statement in that it provides educators access to resources and professional development, interaction and leadership.

Nora Dawkins will be missed as president, but the Board and the Membership have the fortune to have her continue to serve as Immediate Past President.

c:\documents and settings\cschuema\local settings\temporary internet files\content.outlook\orky8yk8\cynthia_schuemann_pr2008.jpg As posted in the Messenger Fall 2009

Fall in Florida is different from other places. The long hot summer begins to show signs of easing, while our weather attention regularly gets drawn to events in the tropics. Back at school, fall brings the promise of a new academic year with fresh faces and new goals. It’s a time of year when educators work hard, buoyed by a sense having a whole year ahead. I hope that your year has gotten off to a successful start, and you are still feeling creative and energized.

For SSTESOL it is also a new season. Having served the board for many years as treasurer, I am happy to now contribute as president. SSTESOL is an amazing organization, benefitting many in Florida. “The mission of SSTESOL is to provide educators access to professional development, resources, and interaction, and to provide leadership and advocacy in language policy issues.”  This mission is what guides the work of the board.

Our main professional development event is our annual state conference, usually taking place in the spring. However this time, in lieu of the state conference, we are hosting an even larger event, the Southeast Regional TESOL Conference. It is scheduled for September 22-25, 2010 in Miami at the Biscayne Bay Marriott Hotel. If you joined us in Miami last spring, the venue will be a familiar one. We have already begun to line up speakers, including Kate Kinsella, Neil Anderson, and Andrew Cohen among others. The regional conference attracts TESOLers from Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, North and South Carolina, Tennessee, Arkansas, Virginia, and of course, Florida. It provides exciting opportunities for professional development and networking.

We hope that you will make plans to come to Miami in 2010, and consider presenting or volunteering to support your organization. If you need help, a limited number of travel grants will be offered. I will always remember my first TESOL conference. It was 1987 in Miami, and I was a TESOL grad student at FIU.  I made friends and contacts there that have lasted across the years including one with a publisher’s rep who later became an acquisitions editor. When a time came in my life that I wanted to write and edit ESL textbooks, she is the one who opened doors for me.

In terms of resources, leadership, and advocacy, your best source is to visit our website at . If you want to learn about, or get involved with advocacy for ELLs, you can join our list serve .  A key issue currently in debate is the distinction between teaching reading and teaching ESL. An educator who is a specialist in teaching reading is not necessarily a specialist in second language reading and learning. We will soon post a position paper on this topic to support TESOL colleagues in voicing such concerns. We know that for ELLs with diverse proficiencies to understand written materials, they need to spend time on specific acts of second language learning with teachers who have strong knowledge bases about their needs.

Ideas and contributions from SSTESOL members are always welcome. Our door is open at . Please keep in touch, or even consider nominating yourself to become a board member. We will have elections this spring, and the nominating committee is just beginning its work.


Cynthia M. Schuemann

Miami Dade College

SSTESOL President



Sunshine State TESOL History

March 12th, 2010

When organized in 1975 the genesis of SSTESOL originally was a four state group: Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Florida TESOL. In 1980, this group adopted the name Gulf TESOL and had about 300 members. At the same time another group with membership focused in Southeast Florida retained the name Florida TESOL.

In 1990, Broward separated from Florida TESOL in the southeast, formed the Broward TESOL Council, and joined Gulf TESOL as its first chapter.  The next two chapters to join were Northeast Florida TESOL and Treasure Coast TESOL. By 1995, there were about 450 members in Gulf TESOL. A controversial and unifying issue for TESOL folks in the state in the 1990’s was the implementation of the Florida Consent Decree (see summary attachment).

In 1995, the membership voted to become Sunshine State TESOL. In 1997, SSTESOL hosted the TESOL International Convention in Miami Beach, giving the organization publicity and a financial boost. That year SSTESOL officially defined board member roles and responsibilities. At the same time, the once separate Florida TESOL organization moved to dissolution and Miami Dade TESOL was established as a chapter affiliate; thus, SSTESOL came to represent the entire state of Florida. In October 2000, SSTESOL hosted the Southeast Regional TESOL Conference in Miami.

Also at this time, the board began work on the development of a strategic forward plan. Organizational development, professional development, and advocacy were identified as three key planning areas. Annually, short and long term goals are created and reviewed by the board in these categories.

Currently, SSTESOL has eight active chapters, and membership has generally stayed close to 750-800. This past year that figure dipped as the organization is transitioning to an online enrollment management system. In September 2010, SSTESOL will host the Southeast Regional TESOL Conference once again in Miami. It is anticipated that a surge in membership will result.


Sunshine State TESOL Board

February 6th, 2010

Executive Board Members

Southeast Reg TESOL by Jay

Li-Lee Tunceren


Li-Lee Tunceren teaches EAP at St. Petersburg College.  She enjoys curriculum and materials design, particularly for blended and online courses.  Li-Lee is currently serving as Chair of Communications at the Seminole campus.  She is working on her doctorate in Second Language Acquisition and Instructional Technology (SLAIT) at the University of South Florida with research interests in online student engagement and language and content learning via technology.

Tony Erben is an Associate Professor of Education (ESOL & Foreign Language Education) at the University of Tampa. Formerly, Chair of the Department of Education, he is currently the Director of the ESOL Endorsement program. He has published widely in the area of second language education, technology use in teaching and learning environments. He is series editor for Teaching ELLs Across the Curriculum with Routledge Press. Recent book publications include: Erben, T., et al. (2008) Teaching English Language Learners through Technology. New York: Routledge. Currently he is working on a resource publication with Kate Wittrock for teachers of ELLs called “Out On A Limb: A Resource Guide to Raise Instructional Effectiveness and Overcome the 30 Most Persistent Errors Ells Make”


Tony Erben
1st Vice President


Sarah Courtemanche

2nd Vice President

Sarah D. Courtemanche is an Instructional Partner for School Transformation with St. Lucie Public Schools. She has served as a bi-lingual inclusion educator for Providence, Rhode Island and as Academic and Student Affairs Governor to the Rhode Island Board of Governors for Higher Education.  Sarah’s public policy focus has included  equitable ELL dual language acquisition programs . Her experiences working with diverse student populations have included ESOL-Literacy research in Reciprocal Teaching at both Rhode Island College’s Henry Barnard Research and Laboratory School and Florida Atlantic University’s Palm-Pointe Research and Laboratory School.

Katya Goussakova is a Professor of English for Academic Purposes (EAP) at Seminole State College of Florida and a Doctoral candidate at UCF (PhD in Education, TESOL Track). Her areas of interest are bilingualism, heritage language maintenance, grammar and pronunciation instruction, and instructional technology.


Katya Goussakova
Member at Large ‘12-‘15


Arlene Costello

Dr. Arlene Costello is a Teacher on Special Assignment to the English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) Department of the School District of Escambia County and a strong advocate of English learners.  She serves on numerous ESOL, gifted, and education committees and boards on the local, state, and national levels. Arlene has recently completed the Florida Department of Education WIDA Training for Trainers workshop which prepared her to deliver professional development on the WIDA English Language Development Standards Framework in Florida. Arlene is the recipient of the 2007 National Christa McAuliffe Educator Award, 1992 Florida Gifted Teacher of the Year Finalist, and the 2007 Program for Academically Talented Center Teacher of the Year.  Her interests lie in research, professional development, standards and policy writing and implementation as well as ELLs’ access to all educational programming, especially in gifted education. 

Dorina Sackman

Member-at-Large 14-17

 Dorina Sackman is the 2014 Florida Teacher of the Year, and a Finalist for National Teacher of the Year. She is a leading authority on teaching English Language Learners, and has spent the past 19 years face-to-face with students of diverse backgrounds at the elementary, high school and college levels.  As an ELL consultant to school districts nationwide, Dorina takes her classroom experience, ability to speak five languages, and knowledge gained from her doctoral studies on adult teaching and learning to create motivating, innovative professional development filled with successful and differentiated strategies to meet the needs of our growing ELL population. Miss Sackman’s long-term goal is to create an “out of the classroom” classroom – an educational program designed as a safe, adventurous learning environment where children celebrate nature, culture and one another.

Member-at-Large 14-17


Terri Mossgrove

Member-at-Large 15 – 18

Terri Mossgrove is a career educator who has taught at a variety of levels including preschool, elementary, high school, adult literacy, English for Academic Purposes (EAP), Teacher Preparation, and Professional Development (PD). She is currently a Professional Development Outreach Specialist in WIDA at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the ESOL Chair for The Baptist College of Florida. Currently, she is a fourth year doctoral student in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at the University of South Florida, Tampa. Her Florida Professional Education Certifications are in Elementary Education, English Education, and English Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL). Additionally, she has an Endorsement in Reading.
Dr. Mukherjee received her Ph.D. from the University of South Florida in Curriculum and Instruction, with emphasis on Applied Linguistics and Instructional Technology/Instructional Design. She is currently the Coordinator for the ESOL and Instructional Design programs at Saint Leo University, where she has designed, developed and currently teaches several teacher education courses in ESOL, in multicultural education, and Instructional Design. Keya Mukherjee is the Program Administrator for the Master’s in Instructional Design Program at Saint Leo University where she teaches courses on learning theory, instructional design, e-learning tools, in the Instructional Design, Exceptional Student Education, and emerging trends in instructional Her current research interests are in the role of the learner in the design process, student engagement in online learning, and competency based training. image001

 Member-at-Large 15 – 18

Keya Mukherjee

Michelle Thomas

Member-at-Large 16-19

Dr. Michelle Thomas is the Chairperson of the ESL Foreign Language Department at Miami Dade College-InterAmerican Campus. Dr. Thomas holds a Ph.D. in Teaching and Learning from the University of North Dakota. Her doctoral studies focused on the professional development of language teachers for international settings. She also earned an M.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies (Applied Linguistics) from Texas Tech University, and a B.A. in Latin-American Studies (Spanish and Portuguese) from the University of Texas at Austin.


Mariah Schuemann is a faculty lecturer for the University of Miami’s Intensive English Program where she teaches various levels and skills with a special interest in academic writing and curriculum development. Recent work with colleagues includes presentations and articles demonstrating the use of screencasting technology to promote effective teacher feedback on both written and oral assignments, leading to increased learner autonomy and teacher metacognitive awareness. Schuemann also recently co-developed a 3-week summer scholars program for college-oriented international high school students. Schuemann earned a MA in TESOL (Teaching English as a Second-Language) from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey in California, and a BA (Studio Art) from Smith College. She has also taught extensively in China, serving two of those years as a Peace Corps Volunteer.

Mariah Schuemann

Member-at-Large 16-19

Ester J. de Jong is Professor of ESOL/Bilingual Education and Director of the School of Teaching and Learning at the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida. Her research interests include language policy, bilingual education, and mainstream teacher preparation for bilingual learners. Her book, Foundations of Multilingualism in Education: From Principles to Practice (Caslon Publishing), focuses on working with multilingual children in K-12 schools.


Ester DeJong
Past President


Ex-Officio Board Positions

Receiving Secretary – Cynthia Schuemann

Web Master – James May

Social Media Liaison – Lindi Kourtellis

Publisher Liaison – Katya Goussakova

Historian – Betty Green

Parliamentarian –Betty Green

Member Emeritus – TBD

Membership Liaison – Tony Erben

Advocacy Liaison – TBD

Journal Editor – TBD

Asst-Journal Editor – Lindsay Vecchio

Chapter Liaison – Betty Green

International TESOL Liaison – Li-Lee Tunceren

SE Regional TESOL Liaison – Li-Lee Tunceren



Mission Statement

February 6th, 2010

The mission of the Sunshine State Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) is to provide educators access to professional development, resources, and interaction and to provide leadership and advocacy in language policy issues


Sunshine State TESOL Constitution

February 6th, 2010


Section 1.  This non-profit educational organization shall be known as Sunshine State Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) of Florida, Inc., an affiliate of the international organization called TESOL, Inc. (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages).

Section 2.  The organization is formed exclusively for educational purposes within the meaning of section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue code.


Membership in Sunshine State TESOL shall be open to all individuals interested or involved in English as a second language programs or bilingual education programs who, at any educational level, teach in or administer said programs.  Membership shall also be open to those preparing or otherwise concerned with such teaching or administration.  Non-voting membership shall be open to institutions, agencies, and commercial organizations.


Section 1.  The organization shall have a board of directors composed of the current officers and six members-at-large.

Section 2.  The officers of this organization shall be a president, a first vice-president, a second vice-president, a secretary, a treasurer, a treasurer-elect, and a liaison officer.

Section 3.  The president shall preside at all meetings, establish ad hoc committees, appoint chairs of ad hoc and standing committees, and have general responsibility for the agenda at the annual business meeting of the membership.  The president shall deliver a report to the membership at the annual meeting.   Additionally, the president shall have the power to call such meetings as are necessary.

The president will serve as co-chair of the nominating committee of Sunshine State TESOL.

Section 4.  The first vice-president shall be principally responsible for making all arrangements in connection with the annual conference.  In addition, the first vice-president shall preside in the absence of the president and generally assist the president in the execution of business, and the first vice-president shall succeed to the presidency.

Section 5.  The second vice-president shall serve as program chair of the annual conference and will be responsible for establishing  the conference program.  The second vice-president shall succeed to the first vice-presidency.

Section 6.  The secretary shall be responsible for recording and distributing the minutes from all meetings, conducting other activities as deemed necessary by the board.

Section 7.  The treasurer shall be responsible for collecting and dispensing all funds of the association and keeping records of such transactions.  The treasurer will also file legal/tax forms as required by state and federal governments.  The treasurer shall also present a written financial report at each regular board meeting as well as at the annual business meeting of the membership.

Section 8.  The treasurer-elect shall develop knowledge and skills in order to become prepared to assume the office of treasurer.  The president may appoint the treasurer-elect to assume some or all of the duties of the treasurer if the treasurer is unavailable or otherwise unable to exercise such duties.  The treasurer-elect will maintain regular communication with the treasurer throughout the year.

Section 9.  The immediate past president shall serve as liaison officer for Sunshine State TESOL.  The liaison officer shall serve a one-year term as a Sunshine State TESOL representative to the Southeast Regional TESOL Conference and be responsible for interpreting international TESOL to Sunshine State TESOL and Sunshine State TESOL to international TESOL.  The liaison officer shall supply Sunshine State TESOL news to the editor of the appropriate TESOL publication(s).  The liaison officer shall report the following information to the TESOL Executive Director at least once a year:

1     Statement of membership of the affiliate.

2.    Summary report of annual meeting of the affiliate.

  1. Results of the election of affiliate officers.
  1. A summary of projects undertaken or proposed.
  1. Notice of special situations and problems in the affiliate’s area.
  1. Notice of special needs of the affiliate.

Section 10.  There shall be an executive board representing our diverse constituency consisting of elected officers and six members elected at large.  Members-at-large all serve on one of the standing committees.

Section 11.  Sunshine State TESOL shall abide by the TESOL rule which requires that at least three members of Sunshine State TESOL’s executive board be members in good standing of TESOL.


Section 1.  All chairs of standing committees who are not elected members of the executive board, the executive secretary, and publications editors shall be ex-officio members of the official board.


Section 1.  The board of directors shall meet at least twice annually.

Section 2.  An annual business meeting of the membership shall take place at the appropriate time between January 1 and May 31 in conjunction with the annual conference of Sunshine State TESOL.  Members shall be notified of the annual business meeting no later than 60 days prior to the meeting date.

Section 3.  Additional business meetings may be called by the president.

Section 4.  Those members in good standing present at a business meeting shall constitute a quorum.


Proposed amendments to this constitution must first be approved by a quorum of the members of the executive board or submitted to the president in a petition signed by at least 10 percent of the members in good standing.  Any such proposed amendments shall be distributed to all members at least 30 days before the amendment is voted on.  To become effective the proposed amendment must be ratified by a two-thirds majority of those members in good standing at the annual business meeting.


In the event of dissolution, the residual assets of the organization will be turned over to international TESOL or one or more organizations which themselves are exempt as organizations described in sections 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954 or corresponding sections of any prior or future law, or to the Federal, State, or local government  for exclusive public purpose.

Amended: 3/97




Section 1.  Officers and the members-at-large shall be nominated by a nominating committee and elected by a ballot mailed to all members in good standing.  The term of office for the president, the first vice-president, the second vice-president, and the liaison officer shall be one year; the term of office for the secretary shall be two years; the term of office for the treasurer-elect shall be one year followed by a term of office as treasurer of three years; and the term of office for the members-at large of the executive shall be three years.

Section 2.  The nominating committee shall consist of the president serving as co-chair, and a co-chair and three other members.  It shall be the function of this committee to survey the membership and to name a slate of two candidates for the following annual election.  The nominating committee shall report the names of its nominees to the executive board at least 90 days before the nest annual business meeting.  The co-chairs of the nominating committee shall be responsible for obtaining the consent of each petitioned candidate and verification of their membership in Sunshine State TESOL, as well as preparing relevant biographical information and a statement from each nominee to accompany ballots mailed to the membership.

Section 3.  The officers and members-at-large to be elected shall be chosen by a ballot mailed at least 60 days prior to the annual business meeting.  The mailing of the ballot, accompanied by relevant biographical information, and a statement from each nominee shall be the responsibility of the president, acting as co-chair of the nominating committee.  The ballot shall provide a space for possible write-in candidate for each office.

Section 4.  Election of all open offices shall be determined by a majority of the votes returned by an announced date no later than 30 days before the annual business meeting.  A tie shall be broken by the executive board.

Section 5.  A vacancy in any office shall be filled by an appointment by the president in consultation with and by approval of the executive board.


Section 1.  The membership year shall be for 12 months from the date of initial sign up.

Section 2.  Categories of membership shall be individual, lifetime (limited to individuals only), and institutional.

Section 3.  The dues shall be determined each year by the executive board.


Section 1.  The Standing Committees of Sunshine State TESOL shall be a Nominating Committee, a Membership Committee, a Publications Committee, an Advocacy Committee, a Professional Development Committee, an Organizational Development Committee, and a Finance Committee.

Section 2.   The president shall appoint a chair for each committee with approval by the board.

Section 3.  Membership on a standing committee shall be open to all members in good standing.


Local Chapters shall be areas of the state affiliated with Sunshine State TESOL providing they follow the rules set up for such by the Sunshine State TESOL Executive Board.  Local Chapters are independent entities affiliated with Sunshine State TESOL.


The rules in Roberts Rules of Order Revised shall govern the association in all cases to which they are applicable, and in which they are not inconsistent with the constitution and bylaws of the association.


Amendments to the bylaws may be made by a simple majority vote of the membership at any business meeting, provided that notice has been given at a previous business meeting or by mail to the membership at least 30 days prior to the time before amendments are voted upon.

Amended  3/97

Amended  5/98

Amended  5/2000

Amended  5/2001

Amended  5/2007