Spotlight - NYS TESOL Awards 2009 Award Recepients of the 39th Annual NYS TESOL Conference
Lifetime Achievement Award: Estee Lopez
Estee Lopez, the former Director of Bilingual/ESL Programs in the New Rochelle City School District, also served on the Board of Regents’ ELA/ESL Content Panel since its inception. Her ongoing advocacy and tireless efforts on behalf of LEP/ELLs is outstanding, and it is due to her efforts that the ESL/ELA Working Group was convened this past spring. Estee’s commitment and forthrightness ensured that the Learning Standards in ELA/ESL were adequate, appropriate and of high quality. Her unstinting efforts to convene a team of ESOL and bilingual education professionals in a very tight timeframe resulted in an impact on the development of the ELA/ESL Learning Standards that is of historical proportions. Lastly, as you may already know, she not only was a teacher and principal, but she also directed the Southern Westchester BETAC for a number of years prior to taking on the Directorship of Bilingual/ESL Programs at New Rochelle. She is richly deserving of being recognized for her lifelong commitment to our field.
In the early ‘90s, after raising a family, Barbara Suter began to seek a full-time job in teaching. She returned to Stony Brook to obtain a Master’s degree in TESOL which would allow her to combine her expertise in English with her interest in cultural diversity. Her first job landed her in the East Meadow School District at the Bowling Green Elementary School where she has been teaching ESL ever since. In addition, she has been teaching English composition classes at Suffolk Community College in Brentwood, in which many ELLs or former ELLs are enrolled.
Barbara continues her work at Bowling Green with two additional dimensions to her recent teaching practices. Since the arrival of a literacy consultant in her school three years ago, she has piloted the use of reading strategies being used in mainstream classrooms with her ELLs and found them to be hugely effective; and she has been teaching collaboratively with a second-grade classroom teacher who has had a cluster of ELLs also for the past three years. She hopes that other teachers in her school will see how successful this collaboration is for ELLs and will want to do the same in their classrooms.
Barbara considers herself a lifelong learner and looks forward to new challenges and endeavors in the field of ESL.
Left to right: Barbara Suter, receiving the Outstanding Teacher Award from Fran Olmos (NYS TESOL President, 2008-2009) and Meredith Van Schuyler (Awards Committee Chair).
Recognition Award: Regent Saul Cohen & Dr. Walter Sullivan
Fran Olmos delivers the Recognition Award to Dr. Walter Sullivan
Regent Cohen, who was the Chairperson of the ELA/ESL Content Panel for the Board of Regents, and Dr. Sullivan, Coordinator of the Regents Steering Committee, (also Director, Center for Educational Policy and Practice, The College of New Rochelle) made sure that our ESL community became involved in the process. Their concern that the revised Learning Standards incorporate performance indicators that were achievable by ALL learners, including English language learners, bespeaks their understanding of the special nature of instruction that we as ESOL professionals provide. To that end, both Regent Cohen and Dr. Sullivan immersed themselves in learning about second language acquisition, even attending the full-day NYC Teachers’ Institute last year where they met with Dr. Jim Cummins, along with Estee Lopez and Dr. Pedro Ruiz. Their dedication also led them to authorize the creation of the ESL/ELA Working Group, whose purpose was to advise the ELA/ESL Content Panel on how the draft ELA/ESL Learning Standards and Performance Indicators could be modified or adapted to meet the needs ofLEP/ELLs. To that end, they themselves attended a number of the ESL/ELA Working Group meetings and actively participated in the discussions and the work that took place.