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Invited Speakers

Friday Keynote
Pedro Martinez

Honoring Language and Culture:
Honrando Lenguaje y Cultura

Description: Educators of the multilingual population in this country hold the power to nurture, motivate and educate for success, even in times such as this. Multilingual learners deserve a high-quality education that is equitable and accessible. Traditionally, universities and many K-12 districts have focused their attention on English as a second language instruction as means to teach language. Research has shown that Dual Language programs grounded on the building of strengths of language of culture provide the best academic opportunities for our students. In San Antonio, TX, Dual Language programs grew from being in place at 2% of the schools to over 60% under Superintendent Martinez, resulting in students in DL programs outperforming the district and State in academic gains.

Strategies will be shared that can be applied in Illinois at all academic levels. These strategies will inform a new vision for the expansion of Dual Language programs in Illinois. 

Pedro Martinez began his tenure at Chicago Public Schools on September 20, 2021. Born in Aguascalientes, Mexico, Mr. Martinez came to Chicago with his family at the age of five in search of a better life. The oldest of 12 children, his CPS journey began as a student on Chicago's west side, and he credits the education he received in our district's schools with changing the trajectory of his life. 

A proud graduate of Benito Juarez in the Pilsen community, CEO Martinez was the first in his family to graduate from high school and college, and he chose to dedicate his life to education, eventually returning to the school system of his youth as CPS' Chief Financial Officer from 2003-2009.

Prior to joining CPS, CEO Martinez served as the Superintendent of the San Antonio Independent School District (SAISD), where he was focused on academic excellence, talent recruitment, culture shift, stakeholder engagement, and strong fiscal management - five priorities that are closely aligned to the CPS 5-year vision. Prior to his time at SAISD, Mr. Martinez served as Superintendent in Residence for the Nevada Department of Education, where he was responsible for advising the Governor's office and the State Superintendent of Instruction on education policy decisions. And before that, he served as superintendent for the Washoe County School District in Reno, Nevada. 

As a data-driven leader with in-depth knowledge of academic reform strategies, he firmly believes that with the right supports, students can and will rise to any challenge, and that by setting the bar high, many more young people will demonstrate the aptitude and aspirations to perform at higher levels and be well-prepared for success in college, career, and civic life.

CEO Martinez earned his M.B.A from DePaul University in Chicago and his Bachelor of Science in Accounting from the University of Illinois. He is also a graduate of the Broad Superintendent Academy. 


Friday Plenary
Stephen Krashen

A Pleasant and Effective Path to High Levels of Language Competence (Pre-recorded Video Presentation)

Description: A powerful path to high levels of language competence is reading, but not just any kind of reading. One kind that really works is fiction, sometimes known as "literature" but more commonly known as "stories." But not just any fiction- but fiction that we really want to read. This is much more likely to happen when readers select their reading themselves. To make sure everyone can find fiction that is right for them, they need access to lots of books; that's what libraries are for. 


Stephen Krashen is a Professor Emeritus, University of Southern California. He is active in language acquisition, bilingual education, literacy and heritage language development. He has published over 560 professional papers and books. Many of his books and papers are available for free download at He no longer writes books because nobody can afford them. 


Friday Featured
Sandra Moran

An Investigation of Bilingual Additive Mathematics Instructional Practices and Achievement on State and Local Mathematics Assessments for Fourth-Grade Latinx English Learners

Description: In this session, we will explore and understand the role that language plays in the academic achievement of mathematics and math assessment of English learners. Mathematics instruction is a content area in bilingual education programs that is misunderstood by educators. Many educators believe that math is a standard subject that students can attain without much difficulty because it is based on numbers or that it is a "universal language." This misconception has caused educators to believe that English Learners do not need English language proficiency to perform and attain math concepts and math problems. A review and the findings in this dissertation research study will be presented regarding whether there are statistically significant differences in student achievement in IAR and MAP math tests between Latinx ELs in a fourth-grade one-way dual/developmental additive elementary bilingual language program receiving math instruction in Spanish and students receiving math instruction in English. In addition, findings of the effect of conducting these tests in Spanish versus English among Latinx EL students who received Spanish instruction will also be presented. This session will also focus on providing recommendations and consideration for School Districts, school leaders, and administrators. 


Sandra Moran received her doctorate from Aurora University. She obtained her master's degree from National Louis University in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in English as a second language and bilingual education. Mrs. Moran completed her B.A. at U.I.C. She immigrated with her family to the United States from Mexico at the age of 7 and was raised in the Chicago Pilsen neighborhood. Dr. Moran is currently the Director of Bilingual Education and English as a second language for Wauconda Community Unified School District 118. She has been involved in dual and bilingual education for 27 years as a bilingual/ESL educator, district administrator, professional developer, and researcher. Dr. Moran has extensive experience collaborating and facilitating bilingual parent advisory committees, collaborating with PK-12 districts across Illinois, designing and implementation, and revisions of multicultural programs. 


Saturday Keynote
Debbie Sternecky

Using a Psychological Approach to Address Needs of Educators and Students During the Pandemic

Description: Multicultural learners often have elements of trauma in their background, ranging from personally experiencing traumatic events to inheriting trauma from past family suffering. Whether they were born in the US or came here recently, multicultural learners are often separated from friends and family in their country of origin, causing anguish. The pandemic has placed additional layers of stress and trauma on these learners, including physical isolation, fear of illness and death of loved ones, and simply living through uncertain times.

Educators are navigating their own challenges during the pandemic. In addition to fears and worries about the virus itself, educators also face increased responsibility to make up for academic gaps, lack time for self-care, are compelled to manage escalation of difficult student behaviors, and find themselves teaching amidst an ever-polarizing political environment. It's no wonder that it feels like the bottom is going to drop out at any moment!

Without specialized training in social work, psychology, or counseling, educators often ask if they can really help students - and themselves - navigate these very choppy waters. The answer is a resounding "YES!"

Retired EL teacher and current child therapist Debbie Sternecky will help you see what's really going on under the surface of the behaviors you are currently witnessing. She will provide you with tools so that you and your students can create a calmer, more joyful learning environment during these turbulent times. This presentation will bring together psychoanalytic theory, brain research, and mindfulness to give you insight into the source of the issues as well as provide resources you can use immediately to help heal your students and yourself.

Transform your teaching through a therapist's perspective!

Debbie was a teacher for over 30 years. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Illinois and a Master of Education degree from Northern Illinois University. She taught English Learners for 18 years at the high school and junior high levels in Plainfield, Bolingbrook, and Naperville. During her career as an educator, she was also an adjunct professor at College of DuPage and National Louis University.

ITBE has been near and dear to Debbie ever since her first ITBE convention at Navy Pier in 2002! Since then, Debbie has presented at ITBE conventions and workshops numerous times. She served on ITBE's board from 2010-2017, serving as Executive Secretary, Vice-President, Convention Chair, and President. Debbie went to Washinton, D.C. twice to meet with legislators through International TESOL'S Advocacy Day, advocating on behalf of English learners and Bilingual teachers.

In preparation for her retirement from teaching English Learners at Naperville High School, Debbie enrolled at Aurora University. She obtained a Master of Social Work degree in 2020 (at the age of 59) and is licensed in both Illinois and Wisconsin. In 2021, Debbie began her next career as a child therapist with Child Therapy Chicago, a private practice in Chicago, Naperville, and the North Shore; and she currently practices in the Northbrook office.

Saturday Plenary
Carly Spina

Coming Together & Moving Beyond for Multilingual Learners (Pre-recorded Video Presentation)

Description: This session will help us to reflect on our current practices in the various roles we serve in our fields. During the session, participants will reflect on how linguistically inclusive our classrooms, schools, districts, and communities are across our field. We will discuss the importance of addressing our own biases and examine our language

Carly Spina has 15 years of experience in Multilingual Education, including her service as an EL teacher, a third-grade bilingual classroom teacher, and a district-wide Multilingual Instructional Coach. She is currently a multilingual education specialist at the Illinois Resource Center, providing professional learning opportunities and technical assistance support to educators and leaders across the state and beyond. Spina enjoys connecting with other educators and leaders across the country and beyond and is an active member of the multilingual education professional learning community. Her first book, Moving Beyond for Multilingual Learners, was published in November 2021 by EduMatch Publishing and is available on Amazon.
Saturday Featured
Ulugbek Nurmukhamedov

Professional Development Opportunities for MA-level TESOL/Applied Linguistics 

Description: There are many academic, employment, and professional development opportunities for MA-level graduates who have specialized in teaching foreign languages. But what are they? This session provides an overview of useful resources and practical recommendations for recent MA TESOL/Applied Linguistics graduates and experienced colleagues who would like to navigate professional development opportunities beyond teaching. Please come to learn about these opportunities and/or to contribute to the conversation by sharing your experiences with us.


Dr. Ulugbek Nurmukhamedov is an Associate Professor of TESOL at Northeastern Illinois University where he teaches courses on Second Language Assessment, TESL Methodology, Second Language Vocabulary, and Academic Reading/Writing. His main research interest is on second language vocabulary, with a particular focus on formulaic language, productive vocabulary skills, and computer-assisted vocabulary learning. He has published in these areas in journals including TESOL Journal, ELT Journal, RELC Journal, Language Teaching, and International Journal of Lexicography. His book (with Randall Sadler) is New Ways in Teaching with Games (2020, TESOL Press).