Sharon Besser

Sharon Besser, Ph.D.


Sharon Besser is an Assistant Professor in the School of Education specializing in literacy and language development. She teaches graduate courses in the Reading Program and undergraduate classes in literacy methodology. Her teaching explores ways to integrate language learning and literacy development. This focus grew out of her teaching both in the US and overseas. She taught middle school in San Francisco and third grade in Hong Kong. She earned her Ph.D. in 2002 from the University of California at Berkeley. Prior to coming to Edgewood, Dr. Besser was an instructor at the Hong Kong Institute of Education where she taught Hong Kong teachers how to teach English literacy development in a foreign language context. Her research is grounded in sociocultural theory and systemic functional linguistics. Particular areas of interests are boys' literacy development and applications of genre pedagogy in the elementary classroom

Nichole Berg

Nichole Berg


Nichole Berg graduated with honors in her major from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, earning a BA in Spanish Literature and Culture and Certificate in Chican@ Studies. She earned her Masters degree in Bilingual Education from Edgewood College. A committed advocate for bilingual learners, she has worked in various bilingual capacities in the Madison Metropolitan School District, from para-professional to her current role as Assistant Principal of Velma Hamilton Middle School. She has also served as a Family Services Worker for migrant families and blogger for the publication Teaching Tolerance. Nichole's academic interests include critical race theory, bilingual education, immigration, law, and transformative education leadership.

Amy Christianson

Amy Christianson, Ed.D.


Amy Christianson has been in the field of education for 22 years working in K-12, Institutions of Higher Education, and early childhood settings. She received her Bachelor’s degree in early childhood education and English as a Second Language (ESL) from UW-Milwaukee. She also obtained her Master’s degree from Cardinal Stritch University and Doctoral Degree from Edgewood College in field of Educational Leadership. Amy’s teaching licenses are early childhood education and ESL, and her administrative licenses are principal, director of instruction, and superintendent. She currently is the Director of Satellite Family Child Care System, a program at Reach Dane in Madison, WI.

Pam Dorn

Pam Dorn



Pam Dorn is a lifelong learner who has been an educator for 29 years. She has served as an elementary classroom teacher, Bilingual Resource Teacher, ESL classroom teacher, interventionist, and coach. She has taught in urban and suburban public school districts in Tampa, Sauk Prairie, and Madison. She holds a BS in Elementary Education as well as ESL & Bilingual Certification from UW Madison, a MA in Applied Linguistics from the University of South Florida, and a Literacy Coach Certificate from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. Pam finds her passion in exploring the classroom experience and working with teachers to develop reflective practices.

Emily Evans Fanaeian, Ph.D.

Emily Evans Fanaeian earned her Ph.D. at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2018, focusing on Teacher Education and ESL. She is certified to teach K-6, Spanish K-12, and English as a Second Language (K-12 and Adults). After teaching language learners for several years in PA and VA, she began working in the field of educational research, first at the Center for Applied Linguistics in Washington DC and later with WIDA in Madison Wisconsin. Dr. Evans Fanaeian has taught and supervised teacher candidates in multiple states, at both the Elementary and Secondary level, as well as offered mentoring and coaching to experienced educators taking graduate coursework or professional development offerings. Her research focuses on the intersection of language policies and teacher education, particularly with regards to the preparation of mainstream classroom teachers to serve ELs. Additional areas of interest include: language assessment, practice-based research, and issues related to clinical practice.

Caroline Hesse


Caroline has worked in some form of bilingual education for much of her career. In part thanks to her family's globe-trotting, over the years she has lived, studied, and/or taught in Spain, Ecuador, Germany, and North Carolina. Caroline has degrees and certifications from Viterbo University, Universidad de Salamanca, and Duke University, among others. She is experienced and licensed in several k-12 areas, including emergent literacy, middle school math, gifted education, and bilingual education. Caroline's favorite subjects to teach include Spanish for Spanish Speakers, Spanish sociolinguistics, 8th grade math, and she finds dual language setting a favorite work environment. Inspired by the work of Dr. Kim Potowski , Dr. Jeffrey Duncan-Andrade, Dr. Deborah Palmer, and many others, she is pursuing a doctorate with a focus on bilingual education

Sara Huse

Sara Huse


Sara Huse has a strong passion for bringing practical strategies to educators in the TESOL licensure program. She began her career as a third-grade bilingual teacher and has taught extensively at the elementary and middle school level. She is currently a Professional Development Teacher Leader in the Madison Metropolitan School District, focusing primarily on coaching teachers serving English Learners.

Emily Kintzer

Emily Kintzer


Emily Kintzer has been teaching bilingual students for ten years, starting when she lived abroad in Monterrey, Mexico, and now in Madison Metropolitan School District. Emily has led the course Paradigms of Bilingual Education which is a great fit because she loves language, culture, history, and people. Emily has played an integral role in supporting students from First Nations communities. Emily is passionate about helping teachers improve their ability to support bilingual students!

Ron Lott

Ron Lott has served as a teacher, building principal, and centralized support of schools across his 36 years in public education. Until retiring from the Madison Metropolitan School District last year, he had committed the last two decades to supporting principals and instructional coaches, providing professional development and individualized coaching to many leaders. Along with Kelly Jones, he has developed an Instructional Coaching Credential Program through Edgewood College Professional Development that will start its fourth year this fall. Ron has focused much of his career on coaching based on the research and principles behind coaching and believes the practice is an essential means to influence teacher thinking and improve instructional choices.

Audrey Lesondak

Audrey Lesondak


Audrey Lesondak is an Education Consultant at the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction where she implements programming for multilingual learners including managing grants for Title III, Immigrant Children and Youth, and bilingual education. Audrey has also worked on programs and policies centered on English learner assessments and language-related accommodations. Prior to her work as a K-12 Wisconsin educator for a decade, Ms. Lesondak engaged with diverse populations in Chicago, advocating in the areas of housing, homelessness, and cultural understanding. Audrey received her BA with a concentration in German and her MA in Urban Planning and Policy from the University of Illinois at Chicago, as well as her post-Baccalaureate teaching licensure from Concordia University.

Gerardo Mancilla

Gerardo Mancilla, Ph.D.


Gerardo Mancilla is the Director of Education Administration and Leadership in the School of Education. Prior to working at Edgewood College, Gerardo was working for the Madison Metropolitan School District where he was a Dual Language Immersion teacher at Cherokee Heights Middle School. Gerardo teaches both undergraduate and graduate courses at Edgewood College. Gerardo’s research interests include Critical Race Theory, LatCrit, the school-to-prison pipeline, bilingual education, and immigration. Gerardo has also been active in the Madison community for many years.

Mercedes Martin

Mercedes graduated from Edgewood College in 2007 with an M.A. in Educational Administration and is currently serving as Interim Principal and ESL teacher at Westside Elementary School in Sun Prairie. She is highly involved in the field of TESOL, served as President of WITESOL in 2007 and is co-creator/facilitator of Edgewood's Networking mini-conferences for ESL teachers.

Daniella Molle

Daniella Molle


Dr. Daniella Molle conducts qualitative research that can inform professional learning initiatives specifically designed for teachers of multilingual students. She is interested in designing and exploring different approaches to working with educators to support the academic success of multilingual students. She is involved in investigations of what educators learn during professional development, how they put that knowledge into practice, and how their practice facilitates the academic literacy development of multilingual students.

Alexis Nass


Alexis Nass has been working with and on behalf of English Learners for the past 14 years and currently serves as the Elementary English Learner Coordinator for the Verona Area School District. A recipient of the Wisconsin Association for Bilingual Education (WIABE) Educator of the Year award, Alexis has served as an instructional coach, has attended and led numerous workshops and conferences, and has been involved in various community partnerships with the purpose to increase educational opportunities for bilingual learners. She holds a B.A. in Elementary Education & ESL from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay and a M.A. in Education from Viterbo University.

Wendy Samaca


Wendy Samaca has been a bilingual teacher for eleven years. She is a graduate from Edgewood College’s 316 Reading Teacher program and has continued to study and explore a functional model of language since. She received a Masters’ degree in reading and literacy from Walden University and holds an early childhood generalist National Board certification. Currently, she teaches first grade at Nuestro Mundo, a 90/10 dual immersion school. She is a strong proponent of classroom action research as a method to increase teacher autonomy and student-centered learning.

Hallie Savage Martinez


Hallie Savage Martinez has been working with students since 1999. She holds her educator's license in the areas of elementary education, ESL, bilingual education and Spanish as a World Language. She has a Master's Degree from UW-Madison from Latin American, Caribbean and Iberian Studies (LACIS), which a focus on Latin American literature and theater. She is passionate about teaching children to love themselves and others. Her pedagogical approach centers on adjusting to students' needs and teaching them until they are successful - every child can learn. She loves to read, write, travel and dream.

Erin Teksten, ESL/Bilingual Program Support and Advisor


Donna Vukelich-Selva, Ph.D.


Donna Vukelich-Selva received her Ph.D in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2011. She also holds a Master of Arts in Latin American, Caribbean and Iberian Studies from UW-Madison. Before coming to Edgewood College in 2008, she taught at a K-12 bilingual school in Managua, Nicaragua, where she also founded and ran a study abroad program for US college students. Vukelich-Selva teaches both undergraduate courses in the School of Education, as well as graduate courses in the CTELL/TESOL program. She also teaches in Edgewood’s COR program for freshman students, and piloted a course on the history of immigration in the United States that is cross-listed with Ethnic Studies. Among her college responsibilities, Donna serves on the advisory board for Edgewood’s Center for Multicultural Education. Donna’s research interests include critical race theory, education and immigration, bilingual education and restorative justice. She has been active in the Madison community for many years.

Emily Zoeller

Emily Zoeller, Director of ESL/Bilingual Education


DeRicci Hall 226
Emily Zoeller is passionate about leading for equity by developing teachers of language learners at Edgewood College. Emily earned a B.A. from University of Notre Dame, an M.A. from University of San Diego, and is working on her doctorate at Edgewood College. Prior to her role at Edgewood, Emily worked as an instructional coach at Nuestro Mundo Community School, and promoted collaboration and reflective practice. Emily developed expertise in emergent literacy through her work in Descubriendo la Lectura/Reading Recovery in Madison Schools, where she trained reading specialists throughout the school district. Her current research interests include biliteracy development, educational leadership, and teacher preparation. A fluent Spanish speaker, Emily is happy to be raising her three daughters bilingually in Madison, Wisconsin.