We would just like to highlight a few of our newest board members, including new members-at-large and SIG leaders.

New Special Interest Group (SIG) Chairs

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Marie Friesema, Adult Education SIG Co-Chair 2013-2014

I grew up in the Philippines and came to the U.S. as a teen. As a non-native English speaker, I have an affinity with other ELLs and a unique perspective as an ESL professional. I have worked full time as the Academic Coordinator for the English Department at Wheaton College for the last six years.

I just finished the coursework for my Masters Degree in Intercultural Studies/TESOL from Wheaton Graduate School, and I am currently writing my masters thesis about English teaching at the backstretch of America's racecourses. Since 2009, I have been an ESL Instructor/Program Coordinator to the migrant adults who live and/or work in the two Chicago area thoroughbred racetracks during the racing season. Due to their long workday schedules and migratory lifestyles, the adult workers can't go to school; therefore, I want to bring school to them. I recently founded an organization, Trackside Literacy Council, which aims to help facilitate and create partnerships among ESL professionals, churches, local libraries, businesses, schools, colleges, and other interested individuals, in order to provide English classes and other educational resources to both parents and children in this hidden and under served minority population.

I also teach Advanced Grammar as an adjunct instructor in the Intensive English Language Program at Moraine Valley Community College. In addition to my love for teaching, I enjoy writing creative non-fiction and fiction, playing the piano, playing tennis, and watching NASCAR races. :)

Victoria Bilys (Vicki), Adult Education SIG Co-Chair 2013-2014


Teaching English to adults is my stress relief. I love being creative and work for progress. I fell in love with teaching ESL during the time when I lived in London. I received my B.A. from the Precarpathian National University in Ukraine in Linguistics and my MA in TESL from Northeastern Illinois University this May. During my studying at NEIU I worked as a graduate assistant. I love to travel so I try to spend every summer in Europe and learn Italian there. I am very interested in accent reduction. I look forward to meeting and networking with new colleagues in Adult ESL as a C0-Chair for the Adult Ed SIG.

Connie Schneider, Elementary Education SIG Co-Chair 2013-2014


First of all, I think a little background information is necessary. I have been married to the same man for over 28 years and we have two children together, aged 27 and 25. I waited to go back to college until my two children were both out of high school and in college as well. So the three of us really bonded over late night study sessions, midterms and finals, and –thank God- the breaks!

I have been a District ESL teacher at Kankakee School District 111 for this past year, where I balance my teaching time among three different schools and service almost 70 students with the help of my full time aide. Prior to that, I was employed in the same type of position for Danville CUSD 118, my first teaching assignment after graduation from Northeastern Illinois University in May 2011. My initial degree was a Board of Governors/Liberal Arts degree with a minor in Linguistics. However, it was immediately obvious to me that I had not fulfilled my lifetime dream of becoming a teacher, so I obtained a second BA in Elementary Education. I hold an Elementary Education certificate with endorsements in middle school, TESL, French, Language Arts and Social Studies. As I became more familiar with my job at Kankakee, I began reaching out for some professional associations to increase my knowledge of my specialty. I was referred to ITBE by my supervisor in the fall, and after researching the organization online, I knew I would join! I asked my supervisor to be sent to the spring conference and the rest is history.

I was not disappointed by the conference! I walked away with several great ideas as well as many new contacts with whom I will be able to network. I see the co-chair position as a great way to offer my time and get actively involved in an organization in which that I truly believe. I am looking forward to attending the next workshop as well as next year’s conferences.

Connie will be co-chairing the Elementary Ed SIG with Margaret Gigous.

New Members-at-Large

Matthew Van Someren, Member-at-Large 2013-2016
Matthew has been teaching ESL for over 12 years and is an Instructor/Trainer and Spoken English Coordinator at the English Language Academy (ELA) at DePaul University. He has a MEd. in Bilingual Bicultural Education from DePaul. He spent three years teaching in Thailand and in 2004 returned to the US where he taught for many local colleges and universities including DePaul, Purdue Calumet, Illinois Institute of Technology. Matthew will be our new Registration Chair.

Cathy McCabe, Member-at-Large 2013-2016
Cathy McCabe, our previous Adult Ed SIG Chair, was elected as a Member-at-Large. Cathy received her B.A. in English from Northern Illinois University and her M.A. in Linguistics/TESOL from Northeastern Illinois University. Her professional interests are in course planning and curriculum development.  She is currently teaching in the Intensive English Program at Western Illinois University.  As a Member-at-Large, she plans to take an active role in planning the annual convention and workshops.

And welcome back to Bill Phelps, who was re-elected for another 3-year term! 

William Phelps received a B.A. in English and Latin American Studies from Augustana College (IL) and an M.A. in Applied Linguistics/TESOL from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Bill has taught or tutored ESL/EFL since 1996 in a variety of settings including (but not limited to) high schools, two-year colleges, vocational colleges, universities, and adult education programs. Bill’s professional interests include Composition Theory and Second Language Writing, Bilingualism, and CALL. Bill enjoys cooking, baking, and hiking. However, his true passion is baseball, and the Chicago Cubs are his team. Bill does not dance.

Click here to read more about all of the ITBE Board Members, including SIG Chairs.
The ITBE Link - Summer 2013

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