Log in

Register today for the 2019 VATESOL Conference!

Meet the 2019 Keynote and Featured Speakers


Kathy Evans, Eastern Mennonite University

Kathy Evans is an Associate Professor of Education at Eastern Mennonite University, teaching courses in educational psychology, special education, and restorative justice in education. With a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology and Research from The University of Tennessee in Knoxville, her research, teaching, and scholarship focus on ways in which teachers participate in creating more just and equitable educational opportunities for all students, including those with disability labels, those who exhibit challenging behavior, and those who are marginalized for a variety of reasons, including race, ethnicity, language, sexual orientation, and gender identity. She has published several articles and book chapters related to zero tolerance policies, restorative justice, and school discipline practices, focusing on the ways in which restorative justice is applied to educational contexts.

Karen Taylor, The Color Vowel Chart

Karen Taylor is co-author of The Color Vowel Chart, a visual organizer that supports a brain-based approach for teaching and learning spoken English. Her work has reached over 10,000 teachers and more than 1 million English learners around the world.

An ESL teacher with over 25 years of experience, Karen co-founded English Language Training Solutions (ELTS), an educational training and publishing company dedicated to training teachers and school systems in the effective use of Color Vowel Approach. In 2012, ELTS partnered with the U.S. Department of State's Office of English Language Programs to make the Color Vowel Chart available to English teachers across the globe. In 2016, ELTS joined the award-winning tech start up Blue Canoe to create an English L2 pronunciation teaching app infused with AI, customized voice recognition, and the Color Vowel methodology.

Karen holds a Master of Arts in TESOL from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey and a BA in English Literature from Georgetown University. She finds passion and joy in training teachers, helping learners, and promoting the social good through positive leadership and practical phonology.



Leani Garcia Torres, New American Economy

Leani GarcĂ­a Torres is a State & Local Policy Manager at New American Economy, a bipartisan research and advocacy organization making the case for smart, sensible immigration policies in cities, states, and nationally. At NAE, she is responsible for managing and expanding the organization's state-level policy portfolio and advocacy efforts. Leani has more than six years of experience working on policy initiatives across the U.S. and Latin America. She holds an MA from New York University's Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies and a BA in Political Science from California State University, Long Beach.

Jessica Costa, Virginia Department of Education 

Workshop Title:  Quality Performance Assessments: Engaging English Learners in History and Social Sciences  

Description: In this session, participants will explore research and ideas related to balanced and performance assessments.  Then, they will apply their understanding of the needs of ELs to a sample rubric for creating quality performance assessments in History and Social Sciences content topics. 


Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software