Georgia Teachers of English to
Speakers of Other Languages

2019-2020 GATESOL Executive Board Profiles 


Greg Wickersham, Ed.S.

Greg Wickersham is a longtime active GATESOL member and current board member at-large who has dedicated his career to teaching and advocating for English learners. He has taught ESOL in Atlanta Public Schools, worked at the Georgia Department of Education, and served as an assistant principal. He currently teaches newcomer ELs at the DeKalb International Student Center. Greg just renewed his National Board Certification in English as a New Language, holds a master’s in Education Policy and Management from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and a specialist in Education Leadership from Kennesaw State. In his volunteer time, Greg visits with immigrant detainees and their families at Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin. Greg would be honored to continue serving on the Executive Board.

Immediate Past President

Lela Horne, Ph.D.

Lela Horne has 25 years of experience in education.  She has experience in  a variety of subjects in primary/secondary schools, a GED program, and a technical college.  Lela's dedication to the ESOL field is driven by a desire to help bilingual students and their families.  She earned her Ph.D. from the University of Southern Mississippi and has been teaching ESOL in Marietta City Schools since 1999.  Lela has been a member of GATESOL since 2011 and has served as our adult education interest section leader, grants and awards chair, our 2018 conference chair, and our 2018-19 president.  Her background in business helps her take on a variety of roles within Georgia TESOL.

1st Vice-President/Conference Chair

2nd Vice-President/Membership Chair

Jennifer Pendergrass, Ed. D.

Jennifer Pendergrass is an elementary ESOL teacher and Coordinator of ESOL Professional Learning for Floyd County Schools. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Deaf education at Ball State University, her master’s degree in curriculum and instruction at University of Phoenix, her ESOL endorsement at Northwest Georgia RESA, and her doctorate in teacher leadership at Walden University. Jennifer published her doctoral thesis, “Increasing the Vocabulary Acquisition Rate for Third Grade English Learners” in 2017. GATESOL In Action published her manuscript, “Cultivating Respectful Classroom Discourse in Trump’s America” in 2017 as well. She was selected by the Conferences Professional Council (CPC) of TESOL International to be the Poster Sessions Team Leader for the 2019 TESOL International Convention & English Language Expo. Jennifer served two years as GATESOL Regional Liaison for Regions 1 and 2. She also served as Secretary in 2018 and 2nd Vice President in 2019 on the Executive Board of GATESOL.


Christina Catinella, M. A.

Christina Catinella is currently a special education teacher at The GLOBE Academy, a dual immersion charter school in DeKalb County School District. Before teaching at GLOBE, she was an ESOL teacher at Lake Forest Elementary School in Fulton County Schools for three years. There she also served as the PTA Treasurer and was elected as the Teacher Representative on the School Governance Council. While at Lake Forest ES, she participated in two action research projects: one on new co-teaching models implemented at the school, and one on the possibility of implementing a dual immersion program at the school.

Christina began her service on the Executive Board of GATESOL as Treasurer, where she served for three years. Now she serves as a Member-at-Large, Regional Liaison for Region 4, and Dual Language Immersion Interest Section Leader. Christina has represented GATESOL three times at TESOL’s Advocacy and Policy Summit in Washington, D.C.

Christina is a Knoxville, Tennessee native and earned her Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and World Business from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Her passion for ESOL began when she worked in banking and tutored adults in the evenings for the Buncombe County Literacy Council in Asheville, NC. After moving to Atlanta, Christina earned her Master of Arts in Teaching TESOL from Kennesaw State University. There she was recognized as a nominee for Outstanding Scholar. Christina is passionate about advocacy, education policy, and dual immersion education. She enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, photography, and sports. 


Alicia Payne

Alicia Payne is an ESOL teacher at Alto Park Elementary School in Rome, GA. This is her 15th year teaching ESOL, and she has taught at all levels, K-12, during her career. Mrs. Payne graduated from Berry College with a Bachelor's Degree in English Education and with her ESOL endorsement, and then she received her Master's Degree in Elementary Reading and Literacy from Walden University. This year, Mrs. Payne presented at the Floyd County Schools Kick-Off Classic professional development event about the interpretation and uses of the ACCESS 2.0 reports. She thoroughly enjoys working with her students and colleagues in the world of ESOL, and she is an active member of her local GATESOL region.   

Member-at-Large, 2nd Year

Tuba Angay-Crowder, Ph. D.

I have had the opportunities to work with children and adults of many age levels and abilities while I was teaching English in my home country Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States, and when I conducted research at Georgia State University. I have worked with children in various settings and gained experience at many schools that serve a variety of populations. With my diverse background, I embrace the challenges and joys of teaching children, youth and adults, and working with passionate teachers. Across my experience at Georgia State University and Kennesaw State University, I have taught various undergraduate and graduate courses, redesigning and developing course syllabi for each. 

My research interests are second language writing, second language identities, adolescents’ multimodal practices, and professional development. I have published on diverse topics in top-tier journals, including TESOL Quarterly, TESL Canada Journal, Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, International Literacy Association: Reading Today Online, Global Education Review, Talking Point, and Ubiquity: The Journal of Literature, Literacy, and the Arts. My most recent co-authored article with a title “Self-sponsored
writing in the contexts of second language writing: Pedagogical implications” will be published shortly in TESOL Encyclopedia of English Language Teaching respectively. I have also co-edited a book, which will be published by Routledge in 2018. This is a collection of scholar talks—both intellectual and practical--between 2010-2016 by some of the most renown literacy and language education scholars in the last decade. 

Additional outreach activities include serving as an editor and manuscript reviewer for different journals. I served on the Georgia Association of Teacher Educator’s Executive Committee for proposals, co-organizing proposal submissions and reviews. To note, I have received the Beverly J. Armento Award for my commitment to improving pedagogy in teaching and teacher education (April 2014). 

Member-at-Large, 2nd Year

Ethan Trinh

As a Vietnamese immigrant, Ethan Trinh has pushed himself to be an active educator to work toward one common goal: touching students’ lives in the U.S. classroom. His teaching philosophy is “to put students first."  He uses all capabilities and explores every possibility to make sure every student is actively engaged in the lesson and valued for their own culture and identity.  Mr. Trinh keeps doing the "try-and-fail" cycle and continues to think critically to benefit his students.  His ultimate goals are to encourage students to go to college, not to give up on their dreams, to work hard and to be better human beings, to give back to the society.

Mr. Trinh has been teaching ESOL for 5 years in Vietnam after resigning from his position of a Coordinator at Duke’s.  He will earn his Master’s in TESOL in Spring 2018 at Georgia State University.  Besides, he has worked as a Graduate Research Assistant to teach Computational Thinking for Latino/a middle school students since 2016. In 2017, he joined the Crest-Ed Initiatives, a federally-funded grant to teach at a high-need school. Furthermore, he saves some time to assist in a literacy project for low-income African-American elementary students in downtown Atlanta. He works relentlessly to ensure he can learn and contribute all he had to American education.

Mr. Trinh was also awarded for different grants and awards to attend CamTESOL in Cambodia, TEFL in India, and Muslim Perspectives Workshop at Duke’s. Recently, he is honored to be the recipient of the Georgia State University’s College of Education and Human Development for Outstanding Graduate Student, the recipient of the 2017 SETESOL Travel Grant from GATESOL to attend the conference in Birmingham, Alabama, and the recipient of the 2017 Public Service Award from GATESOL for his works in the Georgia ESOL Community.

Mr. Trinh loves teaching. This is the only profession he wants to do in his entire life. He is passionate, compassionate, and critical to make a difference on his classroom.

Member-at-Large, 2nd Year

Phoenicia L. Grant, M. Ed.

Phoenicia L. Grant began her professional life as a primary school ESL teacher for eight years before becoming an EL Counselor and International Transcript Evaluator for DeKalb County School District in Stone Mountain, Georgia. She has evaluated thousands of foreign transcripts from over 142 countries spread across six continents.

She has presented on foreign transcript evaluation nationally, at the state level, district level, and the school level. Additionally, she has received several invitations to present and train educators in neighboring school districts and out of state on her widely used transcript evaluation framework.

Additionally, Phoenicia coordinates a grant funded district level Parent Outreach Program, is responsible for grade level placement of all international students K-12 , and provides professional development for teachers, parents, and staff.

She has a B.A. in Elementary Education with an ESOL Endorsement from Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers, Florida and a M.Ed. in School Counseling from Georgia State University in Atlanta, Georgia.

The Conferences Professional Council (CPC) of TESOL International selected Phoenicia to be the Networking Sessions Team Leader for the 2019 TESOL International Convention & English Language Expo.

Member-at-Large, 2nd Year

Felicia Hill, Ed. S.

Felicia Hill is an elementary ESOL teacher, who for 12 years has taught English language learners to improve their English language proficiency in speaking, reading, writing, and listening through academic content.  She believes that teacher preparation and professional development directly connects to what students learn. 

Felicia has supported professional development by serving as a Content Reviewer for the U.S. Department of Education, Office of English Language Acquisition.  In 2006 and 2007, Cobb County School District selected her to continue her Spanish language professional development in Cuernavaca, Mexico.    

Her training includes differentiation strategies and SIOP lesson planning for ESOL students.  She is currently working on an Academic Coaching Endorsement through Cobb County School District.

Additionally, she is a trained speaking rater for the TOEFLibt and scoring leader for many programs sponsored by Educational Testing Service.  She has also served as an item writer, passage writer, and editor for several testing companies.

Felicia holds an Educational Specialist degree in TESOL from Nova Southeastern University.  She earned a Master’s degree in Elementary Reading and Literacy from Walden University and a Bachelor’s degree in Spanish Education with ESOL endorsement from The University of Georgia.

The Conferences Professional Council (CPC) of TESOL International selected Kendra to be the Pre- and Post-Convention Institutes Team Leader for the 2019 TESOL International Convention & English Language Expo.


Member-at-Large, 2nd Year

Alisa Leckie, Ph. D.

Alisa Leckie is an Assistant Professor at Georgia Southern University.  Her work focuses on the education of culturally and linguistically diverse students and adolescent literacy. Currently she is studying meaningful discipline-specific academic language development and the impact of earning ESOL endorsements on the professional practice of  K-12 teachers.  She is also working with local school districts to help them address the growing numbers of English learners in their classrooms through collaborative coaching and  the modification of materials and assessments for emergent English learners.  Prior to moving to Georgia, Alisa taught Language Arts, Spanish Language Arts and ESL for 18 years at a middle school in southern Arizona.

Member-at-Large, 1st Year

JaYoung Choi, Ph.D.

Choi is an associate professor of TESOL in the department of Inclusive Education at Kennesaw State University. She joined KSU in fall of 2017 after having directed online language and literacy education programs at Georgia State University and after having led a Korean study-abroad program at Georgia Institute of Technology.  She holds teaching licensure in ESOL and reading and have experience teaching and mentoring K-12, immigrant adults, undergraduate, and graduate students in the areas of language, language pedagogy, and educational research.

JaYoung is currently interested in trilinguals’ language and literacy practices in and out of school contexts from the perspective of translanguaging and supporting teachers and immigrant families in disrupting the pervasive monolingual ideology and advocating for more multilingual society.

Member at Large

Cristina Washell, Ph.D.

Dr. Cristina Washell is an Associate Professor at the University of North Georgia and is the Coordinator for the Elementary/Special Education program in the Teacher Education Department. Dr. Washell has over 20 years of experience working with English learners in a variety of settings which include K-12 public schools, community out-reach programs, and alternative schools.  In her current role as Coordinator for the ELE/SPED program at UNG, Dr. Washell has been instrumental in integrating ESOL standards into the ELE/SPED program curriculum and has helped develop initiatives with K-12 partner schools to address the learning needs of their non-native English speaking students. Her experience as a special education teacher has made her a strong and passionate advocate of ELLs with special needs.  Dr. Washell continues to support the ELL community through literacy outreach programs such as the Casper Drive Mobile Literacy Clinic that provides literacy and language support to children and adults.

Dr. Washell’s research interests include developing literacy in second-language learners with dyslexia, teacher cultural biases and the effect they have on ELL’s academic motivation and self-efficacy beliefs; risk and resiliency factors related to the academic experiences of ELLs; pre-service teacher attitudes on equity education, transnational identity formation and the effect it has on Latino family dynamics, and field experiences and the impact they have on pre-service teachers’ global awareness and identity.

Past President and Southeast Regional Representative

Cherrilynn Woods Washington, Ed.D.

Dr. Cherrilynn Woods Washington has been an educator for 21 years, working in a variety of educational settings with diverse groups of learners and cultures. She has a B.S. in Home Economics with a concentration in Child Development, a M.S in Elementary Education, and Ed. D. in Teacher Leadership. Cherrilynn has taught Kindergarten, fourth, fifth grades and GED classes in the Atlanta Public School System. Presently, she is an itinerant ESOL teacher providing ESOL curriculum support for four elementary schools in the South Atlanta and Carver Clusters. Her work with adults includes teaching online educational classes from Grand Canyon University, ELL professional development training, trained SIOP Coach and co-presenting with other ESOL and Mainstream colleagues with in and out of my school system.  She is the retired Service Unit Director for Ben Hill Greater Atlanta Girl Scouts (21 years of service to girl scouts) and the President for GATESOL serving many roles on the board since 2007. 

Cherrilynn has been a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. for 20 plus years serving in various roles as Hostess, Membership Chair, Graduate Advisor Council, Pan-Hel Rep, Corresponding Secretary, Nominating Committee Chair, Presidents Assistant, and Leadership Logistic Captain, and Foundation Member.  Some of her accomplishments include two wonderful boys, WIDA educator of the month, Teacher of the Year awards by George Alexander Towns Elementary School, Outstanding Volunteerism Award from the Ben Hill community, and the Mentor-Leader Award.

The Conferences Professional Council (CPC) of TESOL International selected Cherrilynn to be the PreK-12 Dream Day Team Leader for the 2019 TESOL International Convention & English Language Expo.

Georgia TESOL

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