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ITBE Board

Welcome to our New 2018-2020 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. 

    Maria Alanis Advocacy Chair Contact:

Maria Alanis has dedicated her educational career to linguistically and culturally diverse learners. She served as the Director of ESL/Bilingual Education for Champaign CUSD #4 (2005-2017) and has held instructional and leadership roles in PK-12 and post-secondary education in Illinois and in Texas. She has taught English as a Second Language, dual language, transitional bilingual education, and special education and was an adjunct professor of ESL and bilingual education at the University of St. Thomas. Maria holds a M.Ed. in ESL and Bilingual Education from the University of St. Thomas (Houston, Texas) and a B.S. from the University of Houston. Maria has been a member of ITBE since 2006 and serves on the Board of Directors of the East Central Illinois Mutual Assistance Center (ECIRMAC) and Habitat for Humanity’s Development Committee. She is a member of the Illinois Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents (IALAS), Altrusa International, and the Latino Partnership in Champaign County.

Maria’s passion to develop safe spaces, to advocate, and to facilitate authentic outreach, support, empowerment, and inclusion of marginalized stakeholders was the impetus for her to found Xenia, a non-profit organization in Champaign County (

    Emily (Emmie) CrementProf. Dev. Committee
Dr. Emily Crement is the principal of Hodgkins School in La Grange 105. She previously served as the principal of Leman Middle School in West Chicago District 33 and was an instructional specialist in Berwyn North 98. Dr. Crement achieved a Bachelor’s degree from Carnegie Mellon University, an MA in Reading education, an MA in Educational Leadership from Concordia University, and a Ed.D (doctorate) in Educational Leadership from National Louis University. Dr. Crement’s dissertation focus was teacher professional learning, and she is proud to serve on the ITBE Board.


    Joseph HesterAwards Co-Chair    Contact:
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 KangAwards Co-Chair    Contact:

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 (2017-2018)Social Media Chair    Contact:
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           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.


     Akiko Ota (2017 - 2018)Technology Chair    Contact:
Akiko Ota is the director of the English Language Learning Center at Governors State University. She attained an M.A. TESOL, an M.S. Education (Postsecondary, Adult, and Continuing Education), and Ed.D. on Educational Leadership: Postsecondary Education from Portland State University in Portland, Oregon. She has been teaching English in the United States and Japan across the full spectrum of instructional levels (literacy to college transitional ESL) for various student populations and institutions for more than eighteen years. In addition to her expertise in teaching English, she specializes in international student research and teacher and student services personnel training in U.S. higher education. On her free time, she enjoys taking photography, Zumba, and good coffee at local coffee shops. 

    Lauren Schultz, Publicity Chair    Contact:
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!

    Nancy Whaley (2015-2018), Treasurer    Contact:

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.