Keynote Speakers

Tuesday, April 5 at 9:00 AM

Ofelia Garcia, Ph.D.

Professor Emerita, Ph.D. Programs in Urban Education and Latin American, Iberian, and Latino Cultures (LAILAC), Graduate Center, City University of New York, New York, NY

Dr. García is internationally known for her work on bilingual education, language policy, multilingualism, and sociology of language. Her concepts of dynamic bilingualism and translanguaging have had a significant impact on understandings of the complex language practices of bi/multilingual students in the 21st century. This was the topic of her book, Bilingual Education in the 21st Century: A Global Perspective (2009).

Most recently, she has focused on bilingualism in formal and informal U.S. educational contexts, and particularly in New York City, coediting, with Zeena Zakharia and Bahar Otcu, Bilingual Community Education and Multilingualism: Beyond Heritage Languages in a Global City (2012) and co-writing Additive Schooling in Subtractive Times: Bilingual Education and Dominican Immigrant Youth in the Heights (2011) with Lesley Bartlett. Among her other books are Educating Emergent Bilinguals (with J. Kleifgen), Handbook of Language and Ethnic Identity, Vol. I & II (with J. A. Fishman), Negotiating Language Policies in Schools (with K. Menken), Imagining Multilingual Schools (with T. Skutnabb-Kangas and M. Torres-Guzmán), and Translanguaging: Language, Bilingualism and Education (with L. Wei).

Dr. García came to the Graduate Center from Columbia University’s Teachers College and was previously dean of the School of Education at the Brooklyn campus of Long Island University. Among other accomplishments, Dr. García was named to the Hunter College Hall of Fame in 2012 and was the 2012 Wits Claude Leon Distinguished Scholar (University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa) and received the 2008 NYSABE Gladys Correa Award. She has been a Fulbright Scholar, a Spencer Fellow of the U.S. National Academy of Education, and a Fellow of the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study (South Africa). For more information, visit

Wednesday, April 6 at 9:00 AM

Julie Sugarman, Ph.D.

Senior Policy Analyst for PreK-12 Education, National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy, Migration Policy Institute, Washington, DC

Dr. Sugarman is senior policy analyst for Pre-K-12 Education at the Migration Policy Institute’s (MPI) National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy, where she focuses on issues related to immigrant and English Learner (EL) students. Among her areas of focus: policies, funding mechanisms, and district- and school-level practices that support high-quality instructional services for these youth, as well as the particular needs of immigrant and refugee students who first enter U.S. schools at the middle and high school levels.

Dr. Sugarman came to MPI from the Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL), where she specialized in the evaluation of educational programs for language learners and dual language/two-way immersion programs. At CAL, she directed comprehensive program evaluations of instruction for ELs in K-12, and contributed to numerous research and evaluation projects, including studies of biliteracy development in two-way immersion programs and conducted the evaluation of the STARTALK program which funds teacher training programs and language instruction for students in grades K-16 in critical languages. She also provided evaluation expertise to the Cultural Orientation Resource Center at CAL, where she developed a toolkit to help practitioners assess the effectiveness of cultural and community orientation programs for refugees settled in the United States and collected data on overseas and domestic cultural orientation practices, successes, and challenges through practitioner surveys and learner assessments.

Dr. Sugarman earned a B.A. in anthropology and French from Bryn Mawr College, an M.A. in anthropology from the University of Virginia, and a Ph.D. in second language education and culture from the University of Maryland, College Park.

Thursday, April 7 at 2:30 PM

Makaya Revell, M.A.

Founder, Marie Mambu Makaya Foundation and Peace Promise Consulting, York, PA

Makaya was born in 1986 in the Congo DRC. He was 11 years old when the civil war started, and when he turned 16 years old war touched his family. After his father and younger brother were killed, Makaya was brought to the United States as a refugee and asylum seeker. He spent one year in a detention center in Reading, PA, and then was placed in a foster care home in Philadelphia. At 18, he was sent to York, PA to live at Friendship House, a residence for immigrant family groups and unaccompanied minors. Drs. Elizabeth and Alvin Revell adopted him in 2006.

Makaya received his high school diploma from Achievement House Cyber Charter School, where he earned a 4.0 average and was named valedictorian.

To honor his biological mother, Marie Mambu, who died in 2005, he created a nonprofit in 2012 called the Marie Mambu Makaya Foundation to assist orphans of war in Congo DRC. The Foundation now has an orphanage in Kinshasa and has provided assistance to thousands of orphans.

Makaya received his B.A. in international relations from York College of Pennsylvania, receiving numerous awards including induction into Pi Sigma Alpha and Political Science Honor Society.

He received his M.A. in international peace and conflict resolution from American University in Washington D.C. He was a recipient of the Pat and Jerry Mische Family Scholarship and for demonstrating the potential to make a significant contribution to peace and conflict resolution in Africa. In 2020 he received the Youth Heroes Award from the International Association of Youth and Students for Peace.

In 2021, Makaya created a consulting company called Peace Promise Consulting. Peace Promise Consulting is an international company dedicated to the goal of peace. Its goal is to build long-lasting peaceful environments and create positive relationships among families, businesses, schools, institutions, communities, and states. Learn more at and

Invited Speakers

Pauli Badenhorst, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor in Teacher Education, Department of Teaching and Learning, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, Edinburg, TX

Tuesday, April 5 at 11:00 AM | Empathy and Emotional Capacity-Building for Multilingual Language Learner Support

Dr. Pauli Badenhorst’s primary scholarship engages psychoanalytic approaches to the study of race and ethnicity as relevant to teacher education, schools, and society. He is also focused on designing holistic epistemological frames to inform socially responsible and sustainable teaching, learning, and curriculum. Dr. Badenhorst possesses 15 years’ experience working with multilingual language learners in diverse settings ranging from Ecuador, South Africa, South Korea, and the US. Within these locales, he has also worked extensively in pre- and in-service teacher education contexts focused on preparing educators to effectively and efficiently support multilingual language learners in their academic and personal development.

Heather-Lee Baron, Ph.D.

Professor, Department of Middle and Secondary Education and Educational Leadership, Edinboro University, Edinboro, PA

Wednesday, April 6 at 11:00 AM | Culturally Responsive Teaching from Preschool to Teacher Education

Dr. Heather-Lee Baron earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology, with a minor in sociology, from Edinboro University. Her degree would lead her to a career as a juvenile mental health specialist in the residential treatment field. Her work with children fostered the idea of becoming an educator. She obtained a master’s degree in education; teaching certifications in elementary education and English 9-12; program specialist certifications in reading and English as a second language (ESL); doctoral work in reading; and finally, an interdisciplinary Ph.D. in reading education and linguistics. She has had the good fortune of teaching grades K- 2, 7- 10, and higher education at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, for close to 20 years. She is currently finishing a second master’s degree in multicultural and ethnic studies and plans to pursue an educational leadership doctorate focusing on race, ethnicity, and educational policy.

Marina Burka, M.A.

Immigrant Justice Partnerships Program Manager, The Resurrection Project, Chicago, IL

Wednesday, April 6 at 11:00 AM | From Navigating Immigration to Navigating School: Immigrant Families as Key Partners in Promoting Educational Equity

Marina Burka manages partnerships, builds program capacity, and provides bilingual Spanish/English training to more than 40 organizations that receive funding through the Chicago Legal Protection Fund, Illinois Access to Justice program, Afghan Legal Services program, and Illinois Eviction Prevention Outreach Program. Prior to joining The Resurrection Project (TRP), she worked as a paralegal and outreach specialist at Legal Aid Chicago and Metropolitan Family Services, specializing in anti-trafficking outreach, labor trafficking of migrant workers, and immigration relief for survivors of crime. Marina received a Fulbright Fellowship to the United Kingdom in 2016, where she earned her master’s degree from the University of Glasgow in human geography, focusing her research on the externalization of the enforcement of the UK immigration system to everyday citizens. She grew up in State College, PA, and earned her bachelor’s degree in human geography from the Schreyer Honors College at The Pennsylvania State University.

Nelson Flores, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Educational Linguistics, University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education, Philadelphia, PA

Tuesday, April 5 at 2:30 PM | False Positives, Re-Entry Programs and Long-Term English Learners: Undoing Dichotomous Frames in U.S. Language Education Policy

Dr. Nelson Flores studies how language and race intersect in bilingual education policies and practices in ways that are harmful to bilingual students of color. This includes historical work that traces the origins of these policies and practices as well as contemporary work that documents the ways that these policies and practices are enacted in classrooms. He also works with bilingual teachers, administrators, and policymakers on reconceptualizing bilingual education policies and practices in ways that recognize and build on the linguistic dexterity of bilingual students of color. His work has been featured by NPR, Education Week, and Los Angeles Times.

Michelle Nutter, M.Ed.

Education and Outreach Program Manager and Civil Rights Outreach Specialist, Office of Public Engagement, Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General, Harrisburg, PA

Tuesday, April 5 at 11:00 AM | Protecting Immigrant Students from Bullying and Harassment

Michelle Nutter is a Pennsylvania-certified teacher and former safe and supportive schools manager for the Pennsylvania Center for Safe Schools. Michelle provides training and technical assistance for schools and community organizations. She is a nationally recognized speaker and frequently serves as a facilitator for the Student Problem Identification and Resolution of Issues Together (SPIRIT) program coordinated by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Community Relations Service. She is a certified Olweus Bullying Prevention Program trainer and a certified Partners Against Hate trainer. She assists schools in the prevention of, and effective response to, bullying, cyberbullying and bias-related tension incidents. Michelle received her B.A. degree in English education from Messiah College and M.S. degree in education law. Michelle participated in the 2016 White House Bullying Prevention Summit and the 2016 Federal Bullying Prevention Summit.

Stephanie Serriere, Ph.D.

Professor of Social Studies Education, Indiana University – Purdue University Columbus (IUPUC), Columbus, IN

Thursday, April 7 at 9:00 AM | The Journey Box Read-Aloud: Promoting Historical Understanding of Marginalized Narratives Through Award-Winning Read-Alouds and the Library of Congress Resources

Dr. Stephanie Serriere is an associate professor of social studies education in the Division of Education at IUPUC. Dr. Serriere is a former elementary classroom teacher who has taught in Italy, India, and in the United States. As a scholar of elementary social studies education, her research centers around the idea that public schools are places where children learn to be and become citizens that participate in a diverse democracy. In addition to publishing in leading social studies journals such as Social Studies and the Young Learner and Theory and Research in Social Education and working alongside classroom teachers, Dr. Serriere serves as a national consultant for PBS kids’ programming for social studies content. She is the co-author of the book that is a five-year case study of a public democratic elementary school, Civic Education in the Elementary Years: Promoting Student Engagement in an Era of Accountability, published by Teachers College Press. It is her goal to promote powerful teaching practices in schools so that civic education remains at the heart of the U.S. public school system with a commitment to justice-oriented citizenship that reaches populations less civically empowered.

Elizabeth Smolcic, Ph.D.

Teaching Professor, Second Language Education, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA

Tuesday, April 5 at 11:00 AM | Building Virtual Engagement Across Borders: Benefits to Multilingual Learners

Dr. Elizabeth Smolcic prepares teachers to work successfully with multilingual learners in K-12 schools and other educational contexts. Her research explores teacher learning about additional language learning as well as the development of equity-based and culturally sustaining instructional practices. She coordinates and teaches in the Teaching ESL certificate program for K-12 pre- and in-service teachers. The program offers a cultural/linguistic immersion and field teaching experience in the Andean Highlands of Ecuador. She has taught English Learners in bilingual schools in Ecuador, Mexico, Spain, and the U.S and was the director of an intensive English language program for international students at Juniata College.

In research activity, she is working on a longitudinal study of pre-service teacher learning during and five years after an immersion experience in a new cultural/linguistic context for young teachers, documenting their development of sociopolitical consciousness. Other projects include investigating how university faculty and staff can move towards reciprocity and decolonial thinking in study abroad and exchange, including virtual interactions. Her most recent book, Redefining Teaching Competence Through Immersive Programs: Practices for Culturally Sustaining Classrooms, was published in 2019 by Palgrave Macmillan.

Session Presenters

Go to Session Presenters Bios to read more about the session presenters.

Lysandra Alexander, J.D.

Barbara Andrews, M.A.

Cindy Barnes

Julie Baxa, Ph.D.

Kevin Briggs, D.Ed.

Jose Castro

Darlyne de Haan, Ed.D.

Joseph DiLucente, M.S.Ed.

Soyoung Sarah Han

Julia Hutton

Michelle Johnston, M.Ed.

Andrea G. Kolb, Ph.D.

Laurie Kolka, M.A.

Kathy Maximov

Susan McKeever, M.S.Ed.

Bob Measel

Sarah Misner, M.Ed.

Susan Morris-Rutledge, Ph.D.

Andrea Salgado O’Brien, M.A.

Carey Rhodes, M.Ed.

Chelsea Rivera, M.S.

Varquidia Rosario

Jennifer L. Ross, M.A.

Carmen Shahadi Rowe, Ed.D.

Jodie Shell, M.A.

Susan Silver, Ed.D.

Megan Syed, M.A.

Esperanza Wickert