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ITBE Board

Welcome to our New 2020-2022 Board!    

Illinois TESOL-BE's Board also consists of Officers and SIG Leaders. For more information on each Board position, view TESOL-BE's Constitution and Bylaws webpages. 

Bryan Danna
Webinar Coordinator

Bryan has been an ITBE members since 2018, and recently presented at the 2020 Spring convention. He brings 14 years of ESL/EFL teaching experience, most of which were in South Korea as an assistant professor of English. He has been teaching ESL in the Chicago area since 2017 and is currently a full time instructor in Chicago. Besides a love for teaching, Bryan enjoys being involved in leadership roles and team projects. At almost every school he has worked at, he has taken on voluntary and assigned non-teaching roles, such as IT management, curriculum development, and coordination of student activities. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Film and Theater from the University of Miami, and a Master’s Degree in Applied Linguistics from the University of Massachusetts. 
Marie Friesema
Past President/ Exhibit and Advertising Chair

Marie Friesema is the Assistant to the Dean of Humanities and Program Coordinator for the Interdisciplinary Studies at Wheaton College. She received her B.A. from Trinity International University majoring in General Studies with emphases in English Communications; Health Performance and Wellness; and the Social Sciences. She holds an M.A. in Intercultural Studies and TESOL from Wheaton College Graduate school.  Marie has taught ESL for 13 years, mostly in Adult Migrant Education to the workers of the thoroughbred horse racing industry at the two Illinois racetracks. She also served as adjunct instructor for five years in the                                             Intensive English Language Program at Moraine Valley Community College.
Joseph Hester
Awards Co-Chair    

A passion for language learning and teaching led Joseph Hester to get his MA TESOL at the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2005 under the supervision of program director, Elliott Judd. He served for 10 years as an Academic Support Center Coordinator, where he gained expertise in ESL tutoring, assessment, and resources. He served for a year as Associate Manager of the English program at a private language school in Chicago. He was the recipient of the ITBE Professional Development Award to attend the 2018 International TESOL conference, where he completed the TESOL Leadership Management Certificate Program. He is currently an adjunct faculty at the University of the Potomac in Chicago. 
Leah Kang

Awards Co-Chair

Leah Kang is the ESL and International Student Academic Advisor at Harper College. She received her BS in International Business and French, with a minor in Korean Studies from North Park University, and she received her M.A in TESL from Northeastern IL University.  Leah has been working in higher education for the past 12 years.


 Allison Lewis

ITBE Link Editor/ Social Media Chair    

Allison Lewis is an adult ESL instructor at Richard J. Daley College and at Pui Tak Center. She received a B.A. in English and Secondary Education from Wheaton College, and she received an M.A. in Linguistics/TESOL from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She first developed an interest in teaching English when she started tutoring refugees in 2010. She has taught ESL to students of all levels and also has experience in curriculum and materials development. She is the author of a graded reader for ESL students, titled My Fake Boyfriend

Stephanie Mielcarek

Convention Program Designer

Stephanie Mielcarek is currently a visiting lecturer at the Tutorium in Intensive English at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where she has been teaching and assisting in curriculum development for the UIC Global pathways program. She has also worked as an ESL instructor at Roosevelt University, Kendall College, St. Augustine College, and as a substitute instructor at Stafford House. Her career in TESOL began in 2009 when she completed a SIT-TESOL certificate and traveled to China to teach EFL. She later received her M.A. in Applied Linguistics from UIC. Stephanie also holds an M.A. in Slavic Languages and Literatures and B.A. in Art History from the University of Chicago, where she briefly taught Polish as a foreign language.


Mary Elizabeth Moore

Proposal Chair

Mary Elizabeth Moore currently works at Harper College in Palatine, IL and at College of Dupage in Glen Ellyn, IL as an instructor in academic ESL and adult education and literacy. She has experience in placement testing and essay scoring and seven years’ experience in ESL tutoring. She completed her M.A. in TESOL and intercultural studies at Wheaton College Graduate School in 2015, after which she taught reading and writing for a year in an intensive English program run by ELS Language Services. Mary Elizabeth has taught in two summer English programs in China and has travelled in India and Ireland. She became interested in ESL as a vocation while completing her B.A. in English at Martin Methodist College in her home state of Tennessee, where she participated in an undergraduate ESL program, tutored international students, and roomed with Korean students who became lifelong friends. Some of her academic interests are writing composition, innovative teaching methods, and emotional intelligence/teacher and student mental health. Other interests include singing, cooking and international travel.

Muhammed Saadiq
Professional Development Chair

Muhammed Saadiq has been an educator for ten years, seven in ESL and EFL. He spent several years in private secondary education in Florida, Illinois and the United Arab Emirates, and has spent the last six years teaching public secondary ESL and English and higher education ESL and English at various community colleges. Originally from Florida, Muhammed has a Bachelor's degree in English and ESL education from the University of South Florida, a Master's degree in English Teacher Leadership from the University of Central Florida, a Master's degree in Writing and Rhetoric from Bowling Green State University as well as a TEFL graduate certificate. 

Bonnie Schultz 
Technology Chair

Bonnie Schultz currently works as a preschool Special Education Paraeducator for the Des Plaines School District. She also is active as an online English tutor for approximately three years. She is a recent graduate from Western Illinois University with her Bachelor's degree in Speech-Language Pathology. She obtained her TESOL/TEFL/TESL certificate from Oxford Seminars in June 2019. She has served in Tech Support for her church for two years, designing  and maintaining websites and social media. In the near future, she hopes to complete her M.A. in Elementary Education with a concentration in ESL. 


Lauren Schultz
Publicity Chair    

Lauren Schultz is a dedicated educator who enjoys working with English language learners.  She received her Bachelor’s degree from Western Illinois University in Elementary Education.  Later, Lauren received her Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction with a concentration in ESL from National Louis University.  She has been teaching in the elementary/middle school classroom for ten years and currently teaches 8th grade Reading/Language Arts in Cicero District 99.  In addition, Lauren has been teaching a variety of adult English language classes at GT Educational Center.  Teaching English language learners of all ages is her passion!

Gina Johnson Wells
Advocacy Chair

Gina Johnson Wells has been an educator for nearly all of her professional life. A faculty member in the Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) Department at Northeastern Illinois University, Dr. Wells teaches courses in the TESOL Department, serves as the NEIU Graduate Program Advisor to MA TESOL and ESL Endorsement students, and teaches Bilingual/Bicultural courses in the Goodwin College of Education. She is a member of the NEIU Black Student Success Committee and NEIU’s Illinois Equity in Attainment/Partnership for College Completion Committee. Dr. Wells holds a PhD in Professional Studies in Education, focused on Educational Inquiry and Curriculum Studies, from Capella University. She holds two Master’s Degrees: one in TESOL and one in Music Education. Previously, she was a coordinator for the NEIU Grow Your Own (GYO) Teachers Program. Dr. Wells, a professionally licensed music educator, has taught music in four states in the U.S. and in Sweden. Her interests include: policy and advocacy for English Language Learners and TESOL teaching professionals; the role of cultural competency in the retention of minoritized student populations; and the processes that facilitate intercultural competence and cultural proficiency in all teachers, in general, and teachers of English Language Learners, specifically. Additionally, Dr. Wells enjoys singing, traveling, being outdoors, reading, playing board games, and spending time with her husband and their adult children. She speaks Swedish and has studied French, Spanish, and American Sign Language.

Nancy Whaley


Nancy Whaley is an ESL Instructor at Loyola University Chicago.  Nancy has been working in ESL in different capacities since 2003, when she worked as an ESL tutor and a substitute teacher in K-12 bilingual programs.  She received her B.A. in Spanish Translation from Brigham Young University and spent a semester studying Spanish in the Dominican Republic.  She later decided that helping people learn English was her true calling, and she received her M.A. in Applied Linguistics from the University of Utah.  After earning her Master’s degree, she spent half a year in Monterrey, Mexico teaching Business English to professionals.  She then moved home to Chicago where she worked in community English programs, language schools, and higher education programs. She has extensive experience teaching all 4 skills to each level, from Beginner to Advanced.  She has also created teacher training materials and led a course for training teachers.  She loves working with international students and helping them achieve their goals.