Abdulsamad Humaidan is an ESL Lecturer at the Department of Linguistics, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and is also a Ph.D. Candidate majoring in Language, Literacies, and Culture/TESOL at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Abdulsamad first came to the United States of America in 2012 as a recipient of a Fulbright Foreign Students Scholarship sponsored by the U.S. Embassy in Yemen to pursue an MA/TESOL at Southern Illinois University Carbondale and since then, Illinois has been home for him. Abdulsamad was also a recipient of a 2021 TESOL Leadership Mentoring Program Award by TESOL International Association. He also served as a member of the Professional Development Professional Council (2019-2021) - TESOL International Association – where he was involved in a range of activities such as reviewing book proposals, revamping course materials, and sharing input on professional development needs for the TESOL community.
Akiko Ota is the director of English Language Learning and Educational Partnerships at Governors State University. She obtained Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership, M.S. in Postsecondary, adult, and continuing eduction, and M.A. in TESOL - all from Portland State University in Portland, OR. She has served ITBE Board since 2017 as the technology chair, Vice President, President, Past, President, and Operations Manager. In 2023, Akiko is back to board as the technology chair. 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 twenty years. In addition to her expertise in teaching English, she specializes in international student research and teaching, student services personnel training in U.S. higher education, curriculum development, and online teaching and learning. In her free time, she enjoys taking photography and good coffee at local coffee shops.
ITBE Link / Publicity Chair
Allison Lewis has taught ESL at various community colleges and community-based organizations in the Chicago area. 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 two graded readers for ESL students: My Fake Boyfriend and Amazing Lives: The True Stories of Eight Famous Americans.
Director of Exhibitors
Maria A. Remigio (Angie) has served as ITBE's Elementary SIG Chair/Vice President/Convention Chair/and Past President. Angie currently serves as an English as a New Language Specialist in a suburban school district. She has done this for the past 7 years. Prior to this, she was a regular education teacher in the same district for 8 years. Angie has been an active member of ITBE since 2016. Angie holds a B.S. Degree in Engineering, a Masters Degree in Bilingual Education, a Masters Degree in Educational Leadership and is a National Board Certified Teacher. She has made a positive impact on English Language Learners and teachers. Other contributions include presenting in numerous conferences, facilitating workshops in her school district and participating in ITBE/TESOL events and professional learning opportunities.
Ayesha currently teaches 4th grade In Evanston, IL. She received my B.A in Elementary Education with an endorsement in TESOL from NEIU and is working on my M.A in Curriculum and Instruction from Concordia University Chicago. In her free time, she likes to read, travel, kickbox, and spend time with friends and family. She is also Bilingual in English and Urdu.
Gina Johnson Wells
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.
Dr. Huseyin Uysal is a visiting assistant professor at the Department of Educational Studies at Knox College in Galesburg, IL. He received his undergraduate degree in English Language Teaching from Mehmet Akif Ersoy University, his master’s degree in Linguistics from Ankara University, and his PhD degree in Curriculum and Instruction, specializing in ESOL/Bilingual Education from the University of Florida. He taught at various higher education settings including Turkey, Colombia, and the U.S. His scholarship is driven by the values of social justice and grounded in understanding power, identity, and inclusivity in linguistically and culturally diverse schools. He positions himself within the critical and constructivist paradigms by advocating for long-term English learners in the U.S. schools. Some of his research interests include fairness, justice, and equity in language testing, test-taker perspectives on assessment practices, and English learner reclassification.
Member at Large
Dr. Jacinta Thomas recently retired from the College of Lake County, having worked there for 30 years. During her tenure at CLC, Jacinta created and subsequently taught in the Academic English Language Instruction (ELI) program at CLC. In addition, Jacinta created and taught in CLC’s ELL endorsement and TESOL programs. Jacinta has served as an adjunct professor at Northeastern Illinois University, and has offered Administrator Academies in the area of teaching ESL as well as in diversity, inclusion and equity. As a consultant, Jacinta has worked with several school districts in Lake County, offering workshops to teachers on a variety of topics. Jacinta has also presented at local, national and international conferences.
Convention Proposal Co-Chair
Convention Program Designer
Member at Large
Richard Sasso has been an ELL educator for almost 30 years now. Has worked in Adult Ed, higher Ed, family literacy, citizenship/naturalization education, and secondary Ed. He is looking forward to serving ITBE.
Member at Large
Walter has worked with international students and immigrants for almost 25 years. Has served as conversation/tutor with international students at UIC. Taught English in a Chinese high school for 2.5 years, focusing on conversational English and preparing students for taking IELTS. Since then, he has been involved with TESOL at the Pui Tak Center in Chicago for over 11 years - teaching a variety of levels and then taking over administration of the program 6 years ago. In addition, he has traveled internationally extensively. In the last few years his travels have taken him to Ethiopia, Guatemala, South Africa and Belize (upcoming). Usually, however, these trips do not have a TESOL focus... simply encounters with a variety of cultures and language groups.