MEET THE TEAM

diane-staehr

Diane Staehr Fenner, Ph.D.

Sydney-Snyder

Sydney Snyder, Ph.D.

Jill Kester, M.A.

Theodora Predaris, M.A., M.S.

Joanne-Urrutia

Joanne Urrutia, Ed.D.

Laura-Kuti

Laura Kuti, Ph.D.

Diane Staehr Fenner, Ph.D.

President

Diane founded SupportEd (formerly DSF Consulting) in 2011 as a way to serve all stakeholders who work to help ELs realize their full potential. At SupportEd, Diane serves as project lead for all the team’s work and communicates directly with clients. Some recent projects include developing a suite of five blended EL professional development modules for the National Education Association, creating a set of English language proficiency standards for adults and an online training module for the U.S. Department Education in partnership with the American Institutes for Research, revising the P-12 Professional Teaching Standards for TESOL International Association, and providing ESOL program support and technical assistance to the Syracuse City School District (NY). Diane is an author of four books, a blogger for the Colorín Colorado website, and a frequent keynote presenter on EL education at conferences across North America. Diane was a research associate at George Washington University’s Center for Excellence and Equity in Education, spent a decade as an ESOL teacher, dual language assessment teacher, and ESOL assessment specialist in Fairfax County Public Schools, VA, and taught English in Mexico and Germany. Diane earned her Ph.D. in Multilingual/Multicultural Education with an emphasis in Literacy at George Mason University. She earned her MAT in TESOL at the School for International Training and her Masters in German at Penn State University. She lives in Fairfax, VA with her husband, three elementary age kids who are in a Spanish immersion program in their public school, a dog, a few fish, and an elderly hamster. Diane speaks fluent Spanish and German, grew up on a dairy farm in New York State’s Finger Lakes region, and is a first-generation college graduate.

Sydney Snyder, Ph.D.

Principal Associate

Sydney began working for SupportEd as a way to build on her passion for advocacy and educational equity for ELs that flourished during her time as an ESOL teacher. Sydney has significant experience in developing and conducting interactive professional development for teachers of ELs. Sydney led a project for the National Education Association to create and pilot blended professional development modules focused on the instruction and assessment of ELs, advocacy for ELs, second language acquisition, and culture. She has also created and facilitated professional development that focuses on research-based strategies to support ELs’ language development and academic achievement for teachers in multiple states. Sydney also brings significant experience developing curriculum, writing literature reviews, and facilitating working group meetings. For the U.S. Department Education in partnership with the American Institutes for Research, Sydney helped convene a panel to select a set of English language proficiency standards for adults and is leading the development of an online module to provide training on the standards. For TESOL International Association, Sydney summarized the findings of an expert standards committee to write standards for short-term certificate programs and conducted a literature review to support the standards. Sydney brings extensive instructional experience, having taught ESOL/English as a Foreign Language for over 15 years. She taught most recently in Falls Church, VA where she was also the K-12 ESOL Curriculum and Instruction Resource Teacher for the district. Sydney earned her Ph.D. in Multilingual/Multicultural Education at George Mason University and her MAT in TESOL at the School for International Training. She lives in Scranton, Pennsylvania with her husband, two daughters, and one cat. Sydney had her own experiences with language learning while living and teaching in Argentina, Guinea, and Indonesia.

Jill Kester, M.A.

Senior Associate

Jill Kester joined SupportEd because she loves collaborating on advocacy and capacity development projects to empower English learners, their families, and their educators. At SupportEd, Jill serves as project manager, professional development trainer, and online content designer. She is currently project manager supporting TESOL International Association in revising their P-12 Professional Teaching Standards for English teacher education programs and developing formative assessment rubrics. Jill played a key role in the development of a suite of speaking and writing rubrics, along with extensive supporting materials, for teachers of ELs in New York City and oversaw the process through production quality control. Jill contributes research and technical writing skills to publications and designs training materials on effective teaching strategies of ELs. She has developed materials, reports, and provided support to educators for the British Council, Williamsville Central Schools (NY), and the National Education Association, among others. Jill worked with the U.S. State Department English Language Fellow Program in Vietnam on a two-year fellowship in which she provided consultation in strategic planning, teacher development, and textbook development for National Foreign Languages Project 2020, a national educational reform project sponsored by the Ministry of Education and Training of Vietnam. Jill has 20+ years’ experience teaching and leading teachers in English language education in New York and Virginia and internationally at the elementary, middle school, high school, college and adult levels. Jill has an MATESOL from the School for International Training and a B.A. in International Relations. Jill has a strong grasp of French and Japanese language, not to mention a smattering of Spanish, Chinese, and Vietnamese. Loving unique cultural experiences, Jill has mastered the abacus and dabbled in Vietnamese comedy. She lives in Northern Virginia.

Theodora (Teddi) Predaris, M.A., M.S.

Senior Consultant

Teddi joined SupportEd so that she could apply her expertise as a successful district level administrator in Fairfax County Public Schools, the tenth largest school district in the US, to other districts who are experiencing growth in their EL population. Teddi primarily provides program support and technical assistance to the Syracuse City School District (NY) as they implement new state policies affecting their population of ELs and scale up their dual language programs. Teddi has also provided research support to a national study on dual language program implementation and policy in partnership with the American Institutes for Research. As director of Office of Language Acquisition and Title I in Fairfax County Public Schools, Teddi developed, implemented, and supervised successful Dual Language Immersion, ESOL, World Languages and Title I programs. During her tenure in FCPS, former limited English proficient students who had become English proficient performed at or above the level of their other English proficient peers on state assessments in language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies. Teddi has served as an expert panel member on numerous projects for the U.S. Department of Education. Prior to her twenty-four year tenure in Fairfax, she was the assistant director of the national information center on English learner education, the National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition (NCELA – formerly National Clearinghouse for Bilingual Education). Teddi has taught ESOL and Spanish in the US and abroad and holds a B.A. from Duke University in Spanish and Secondary Education, an M.S. in Applied Linguistics from Georgetown University, and an M.A. from Middlebury College in Spanish Language, Literature and Culture. She grew up in a home where modern Greek was spoken, lived and studied in Spain for several years and now lives with her husband near Washington, D.C. Teddi loves playing the violin and guitar, cooking, international travel, and foreign films.

Joanne Urrutia, Ed.D.

Consultant

Joanne chose to lend her services to SupportEd to work with a team dedicated to fostering ELs’ academic and personal success. She is a Senior Consultant with SupportEd who was recently part of a team of experts working on developing a suite of formative assessment rubrics and supporting materials for ELs in K-12 for the New York City Department of Education. She also provides professional development and technical assistance to schools and districts around the United States on effective instructional practices for ELs and the implementation and evaluation of language instruction educational programs. Most recently she contributed to an EL resource guide for the New York State ELA Curriculum in partnership with the American Institutes for Research. A native of Puerto Rico, Joanne brings rich experience in the education fields of ESOL, dual language programs, and foreign language instruction. She has provided leadership at the district, state and national levels in the development and implementation of instructional programs, curriculum development, professional development, and assessments and accountability systems. Previously, she was the Deputy Director for the Office of English Language Acquisition (OELA) at the U.S. Department of Education. Joanne held multiple positions as a teacher and administrator with Miami–Dade County Public Schools, Florida. As the Director for the Division of Bilingual Education and World Languages she had overall responsibilities for all instructional programs for ELs in K-12. Under her leadership, the infusion of technology into ESOL instruction became an integral part of Miami-Dade’s program. She also oversaw dual language programs and world language instruction, retiring from the district. Joanne is a supporter of the arts, and you can often find her attending shows with her husband.

Laura Kuti, Ph.D.

Consultant

Laura decided to collaborate with SupportEd to apply her knowledge of world language, ESOL, and assessment to contribute to ELs’ education and be of service to their teachers. Laura has recently provided research expertise to support the writing of Diane and Sydney’s new book which will be published by Corwin in Spring 2017. She has spent over ten years in the classroom teaching language learners and their teachers, including preschool through college classes. She has expertise reviewing and writing statewide ESOL curriculum and connecting instruction and assessment. Laura previously worked at the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) as the ESL Assessment Specialist. There she focused on English Language Proficiency (ELP) assessments, particularly assessment design, item writing, and disseminating assessment results to school districts. Laura has extended her expertise of policy, instruction and assessment to a school district with almost 4,000 English language learners where she oversees the Title III Grant and ESOL program for the district. She teaches graduate in-person and online courses at the University of Richmond for an ESL endorsement program. She completed a Ph.D. program in Education at Virginia Commonwealth University where she specialized in Special Education for Linguistically and Culturally Diverse Learners. She earned her Master of Teaching in TESOL from The College of New Jersey. Laura lives in Richmond, VA with her police officer husband and two sons. She always travels with her dance shoes in case an opportunity to salsa presents itself on the road.