Ana Soler - Chairperson
Ana is the Founder and CEO of SeSo, Inc., a source of professional development opportunities for interpreters, and for organizations seeking customized cultural humility and family engagement trainings to strengthen cultural bridges with English Learner families. Ana has authored interpreter training curricula nationally including the Intercultural Parent and Youth Leadership Program, the Interpretation Academy for Bilingual High School Students, the Arkansas Interpreter in Education Credential Training, a 40-hour course for medical interpreters, and three online courses for the University of Georgia, including the Professional Interpreter in Education Certificate course and the Professional Interpreter in Special Education Certificate course, which she currently teaches. She remains an active medical and educational interpreter and translator.
John Botero - Vice-Chair
Before working with the Judicial Council/Administrative Office of the Courts, John worked with the Judicial Branch of the State of Connecticut first as an Interpreter and then as a Court Clerk. John graduated from Pace University’s Dyson College of Arts and Science with a Master of Public Administration. John obtained his Bachelor of Arts from the City University of New York’s John Jay College of Criminal Justice in 2006. John brought the knowledge of this profession to his current role, where he seeks to improve the part of the interpreters in Georgia’s courts and the Commission’s role and level of assistance to all parties and to improve equal access to justice. John’s expertise in working with other Court Professionals is also an asset that helps him advocate and advance the standing of all Court Professionals in Georgia.
Jessica Sanchez - Treasurer
This solidified her view on the need we have as a state and country for qualified interpreters. This need does not only pertain to the medical and legal field, but also the educational field. Jessica has worked in her local school district for the last 3 years, as a Special Education Interpreter and Translator. Previous to interpretation in the educational field, she worked as a medical assistant and Interpreter, focusing in pediatrics for the first 3 years, followed by 3 years in pediatric mental health. The children, our future, depend on parents being informed to make educated choices for their children. Her goal is to provide parents, guardians, community members with the information and tools they need to aid their children to success, through clear and concise interpretation and translation.
Elizabeth Watkins - Secretary
She realized early in her career that school districts can not appropriate serve ELs with disabilities and their families without access to skilled spoken language interpreters and cultural liaisons. She began to develop training modules for interpreters working in special education around 25 years ago, and currently oversee a workshop series and two university-level courses in special education interpreting. Other early projects were the development of glossaries of special education terminology in the Hmong and Somali languages. She also secured funding and initiated work that led to Minnesota’s Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice for Educational Interpreters of Spoken Languages, the first of its kind in the county. Although she is not an interpreter, she is committed to furthering language access in public education.
Elizabeth Campos Hamilton
Elizabeth was appointed to the Illinois Advisory Council on Bilingual Education by Illinois State Superintendent of Education, Dr. Carmen I. Ayala. In addition, Elizabeth serves on the Illinois State Board of Education’s Bilingual Special Education Subcommittee, a joint subcommittee of the Illinois Advisory Council on Bilingual Education and the Governor’s Advisory Council on the Education of Children with Disabilities. Elizabeth is excited to join NAETISL, a multi-state coalition that is working to establish national accreditation for Professional Interpreters in Education.
These experiences gave her a passion for the international community, and led her to working as an interpreter & interpreter trainer. Her interpreting work has specialized in the field of victim services with survivors of torture. She is an advocate of language justice and passionate about training others to leverage their language skills.
Maria finished her Bachelor's degree in Mexico. She has been a Davis, CA resident for the last 20 years and has worked for 10 years in Cesar Chavez Elementary School in Davis, CA as a paraeducator (bilingual). She worked for 2 years as an EL paraeducator. She is a Library Technician at Harper Jr. High and Interpreter for Davis School District.
Dr. Jennifer Pendergrass
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.
Mei Yan Lin
Though continuing education and training on topics such as remote interpretation, Mei Yan has developed expertise in multiple interpretation situations. As a member of the district's Interpreter Network Steering Committee, she helps promote language justice in Davis schools and empowers educational interpreters through professional development. In addition, she is a teacher for Davis NewStar Chinese School and the Peregrine School. Prior to her role as an educator and interpreter, Mei Yan was a physician for 14 years in China. Her breadth of experiences have shaped her into an active leader and skilled communicator, who is passionate about education, interpretation, and serving the community.
Dr. Rita Brusca-Vega
She is past chair and active member of the Illinois State Board of Education’s Joint Subcommittee on Bilingual Special Education. Rita has recently written about universal design for learning in the text, Universal Access Through Inclusive Instructional Design: International Perspectives on UDL. She is currently co-founder and consultant at EdPractices, a teacher support organization.
Édgar Hidalgo García
He initially became a Certified California State Medical Interpreter and worked several years as a Staff Interpreter both at Long Beach Memorial Hospital and Children’s Hospital of Orange County and in the private sector, as a freelance Medical Interpreter. Later, after becoming Certified by the Judicial Council of California as a Court Interpreter, he became employed for the County of San Bernardino where he worked as a Staff Interpreter for 9 years and as a freelancer for 6 years.. Mr. Hidalgo is an active member of interpreter organizations such as NAJIT (National Association of Judiciary Interpreters and Translators) and the ATA (American Translators Association). He currently trains novice and seasoned interpreters to pass State and National Certifications both in the legal and medical fields. He also provides continuing education courses for Certified Court/Medical Interpreters and Translators in all languages.
To establish a collective understanding of the standards, qualifications and accreditation requirements for educational translators and interpreters of spoken languages with the goal of enhancing English Learner family engagement, student achievement, and meaningful home-school connections.