Rebecca Aubrey, the 2019 ACTFL World Language Teacher of the Year, teaches Spanish in South Windsor, Connecticut. With over 10 years of teaching experience in the K-8 setting, Rebecca is also a member of multiple world language teacher associations. Rebecca advocates for all students to have the opportunity to study another language and be prepared to live in a globalized world.
Candace Black is the World Languages Associate at OBEWL/NYSED. She has a B.A. in French from SUNY Potsdam and both an M.B.A./M.A.T. from the University of Rochester. A National Board-Certified Teacher, Candace taught French for 21 years. She has been an active member of NYSAFLT for decades and was president of NYSAFLT in 2016. In all her roles, most especially her current one, Candace is deeply committed to the professional learning and support of WL teachers.
Brenda Buckley is an American Sign Language Teacher that has been teaching for 11 years in city school districts. She has taught PreK through 12th grade, as well as adult classes. She has presented at multiple conferences and has a passion for building positive communities. Her passion has driven her to start her own non-profit girls to women group called I AM ME.
Marissa Coulehan has been an early language teacher for 15 years. She currently teaches FLES in the Dobbs Ferry School District Marissa also teaches the FLES certification course at Manhattanville College in Purchase, NY. She serves as NNELL Executive Secretary, ACTFL Language Learning for Children Special Interest Group chair, and NYSAFLT FLES Committee co-chair. In her free time, she enjoys her family, friends, and her Great Dane, Blue.
Jenny-Lynn Delfini (@JL_Delf) is a world language teacher for the New Paltz CSD where she has been a K-8 French and Spanish teacher for 19 years. Jenny is the 1st Vice-president of NYSAFLT, and social media consultant for NECTFL. She was a NYSAFLT nominee/participant in ACTFL’s Leadership Initiative for Language Learning, and was a NYSAFLT Leader of Tomorrow in 2016. Jenny is a member of the NYSED-OBEWL Regional Standards Committee for the Mid-Hudson area.
Valérie Greer currently sits on the NYSAFLT Executive Committee as Secretary-Treasurer. She graduated from SUNY Stony Brook with her Bachelors in 1998 and her Masters in 2001. She began teaching in Bay Shore in 1998 and has been there ever since. She has presented multiple times for LILT, NYSAFLT, NECTFL, and ACTFL. In 2017, Valérie and Wendy Mercado also presented sessions for NYCAFLT and ACTFL. They were named Best of NY for their session at the 2017 NYSAFLT Annual Conference and Best of NECTFL 2017.
Jessica Haxhi has been the Supervisor of World Languages in New Haven Public Schools since June of 2013. She leads curriculum, instruction, and assessment for 6 languages and 90 teachers. Before this, she taught PreK-5 Japanese for 20 years in Waterbury, CT. She is past president of AATJ, served on the NECTFL Board of Directors, and teaches methods courses at Southern Connecticut State University. Jessica is President-Elect for ACTFL.
Bill Heller has taught students in public elementary, secondary, community college and undergraduate classrooms for 40 years including 24 years as the high school Spanish teacher at Perry Jr/Sr High School. He has been a methods and Spanish instructor at SUNY Geneseo since 2001. He served as Conference Chair for the 2017 Northeast Conference. He is currently serving on the NYSED Leadership Team for World Languages. He and his rescue pup, Sadie, live in the Village of Warsaw, NY.
Mary Holmes has been a world language teacher for over 25 years, teaching all levels from elementary to college. She is an award -winning presenter – working locally and nationally for over 20 years. She has won multiple awards including the NYSAFLT President’s Award, the Ruth Wasley Distinguished Teacher Award, and was also selected Best of the NYSAFLT Annual Conference.
Michael La Paglia is a Spanish teacher in the Kenmore Tonawanda UFSD in a suburb of Buffalo. Michael has 22 years of experience and is currently teaching in the International Baccalaureate Program. Michael sits on the NYSAFLT Board of Directors, representing Western NY. He enjoys travelling with his students and coordinates an exchange in Santa Marta de Tormes near Salamanca, Spain. Michael is looking forward to experiencing his first NYSAFLT Summer Institute.
Wendy Mercado received both her bachelors and masters degrees from SUNY Stony Brook. She began teaching in Bay Shore in 1998 and has been there ever since. She and her colleague have presented multiple times for LILT, NYSAFLT, NECTFL, and ACTFL. Wendy is currently an officer for the ACTFL Language Learning for Children SIG, as well as the NYC-Long Island Regional Director for NYSAFLT.
Patricia Moller is a veteran language teacher of 25 plus years’ experience with a master’s degree in Spanish Linguistics and Pedagogy. In addition to classroom teaching, she presents to other teachers on comprehensible input techniques around the state and beyond. She is a coach for Blaine Ray at the National Teaching Through Reading and Storytelling conference each July. Patricia is an adjunct instructor at Marist College, where she supervises aspiring language teacher candidates.
Joanne E. O’Toole, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of Modern Language Education in the Curriculum and Instruction Department at SUNY Oswego. A primary focus of her scholarship is world language literacy. She has held leadership roles in several world language education professional organizations, and is a frequent presenter at national, state, and local conferences. She previously taught Spanish 7-12 in the Baldwinsville Central School District.
Sarah Shainfeld teaches middle school Spanish at Maple Ave Middle School in Saratoga Springs. She has been in education for 15 years from Naples, NY to the Capital Region, and has “dabbled” in administration. She is excited to be joining her first summer conference to add members to the Teach Like a Pirate Crew!
Beth Slocum (@SlocumBeth) teaches Spanish for the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership (GVEP) in Western NY. She served as NYSAFLT President in 2019 and currently works with the Genesee Region Teachers’ Center where she serves on the Policy Board and chairs the World Language Network for teachers in the region.
Melanie Thomas teaches Spanish at Spencerport CSD. Her experience includes levels I, III, IV and V in conjunction with Syracuse University. She earned her National Board Certification. Her MATL from the University of Southern Mississippi focused on the knowledge, skills, and theories in language, language acquisition, and language instruction. This background in SLA supports her strive to teach with Comprehensible Input to help learners acquire the language they study. @senoramthomas