Georgia Teachers of English to
Speakers of Other Languages
2021-2022 President's Advisory Board
Advisors to President Elizabeth L. Webb, Ed.D.
The President’s Advisory Board is appointed President to serve as an advisory body during their term as President.
Members of the President’s Advisory Board represent various ESOL constituencies in Georgia and do not include members of the Executive Board.
The Past President shall serve on the President’s Advisory Council
Rita Gimenez, Ed.D.
ESOL Endorsement Coordinator
Metropolitan Atlanta Regional Educational Service Agency
Amy Pelissero, Ph.D.
Refugee Family Literacy
Jennifer Pendergrass, Ph.D.
Immediate Past President, GATESOL
Coordinator of ESOL Professional Learning and ESOL Teacher
Floyd County School District
Stephen Pruitt, Ph.D.
Southern Regional Education Board
National Association of Educational Translators and Interpreters of Spoken Languages
Founder, SeSo, Inc.
Dr. Rita Gimenez is the ESOL Endorsement Coordinator for the Metropolitan Regional Educational Service Agency and a high school English Language Arts teacher in Douglas County Public Schools. She taught ESOL in grade levels K-12 for 14 years, high school Spanish for one year, and high school English for two years in Douglas County. Dr. Gimenez holds an A.A. degree in English from Abraham Baldwin College, a B.A. degree in English from Georgia Southern University, an M.A. degree in Professional Writing from Kennesaw State University, and Ed.S. and Ed.D. degrees in Teacher Leadership with emphasis in Inclusive Education from Kennesaw State University. Dr. Gimenez is committed to fostering the best possible learning environments, relationships, and instruction to support English Learners and their teachers.
Dr. Amy Pelissero is an experienced educational leader and researcher. She earned a Ph.D. in Teaching and Learning with a concentration in Language & Literacy from Georgia State University and completed her dissertation research on the subject of refugee women’s language and literacy practices and refugee women’s education. Dr. Pelissero has more than 25 years of English teaching experience with students from preschool through adulthood, a decade of school leadership experience, and strong ties to the local refugee community. She works currently with Refugee Family Literacy teaching English to refugee-background women and their children. Dr. Pelissero is an approved English Language Program and Fulbright Specialist for the US State Department She earned TESOL’s Leadership in Mentoring Award in 2014 and completed TESOL’s Leadership Development Certificate Program in 2015. Dr. Pelissero is a mother of two teenage girls and an avid reader, writer, learner, and traveler.
Dr. Jennifer Pendergrass is the coordinator of English to Speakers of Other Language (ESOL) Professional Learning and ESOL teacher for the Floyd County School District. Her leadership journey started in 2007 when she began working with teachers to give them the tools to keep English Learners engaged. This motivated her to become a leader in the TESOL field.
Dr. Pendergrass is passionate about her work: “I love working with students who are so eager to learn language . . . the language support helps them to survive in other classes and in the world. I help them find their own voice in this new language."
That passion is clear in her record of service to the profession. Pendergrass served as GATESOL President for 2021, as 1st Vice President and Conference Chair of GATESOL in 2020, 2nd Vice President in 2019, Secretary in 2018, and as GATESOL Regional Liaison for Regions 1 and 2 for the two years prior to that. She currently serves as immediate Past President, drawing on her years of dedicated service to provide the current GATESOL board with invaluable insight and advice. She also serves on the Board of Directors for the National Accreditation of Educational Translators and Interpreters of Spoken Languages (NAETISL).
Dr. Stephen Pruitt took office as the sixth president of the Southern Regional Education Board in July 2018. He started his education career as a high school chemistry teacher in Fayette County, Georgia and has amassed education policy, assessment, and instructional background at the local, state and national levels.
Before coming to SREB, Pruitt was Kentucky’s state commissioner of education. At the national level, he has worked closely with state agencies and educators around the country to improve policy and practice in science education. In Georgia, Pruitt served as science and mathematics program manager, director of academic standards, associate state superintendent for assessment and accountability and chief of staff for the Georgia Department of Education.
Dr. Pruitt served on the National Academies of Science Committee on Conceptual Framework for New Science Education Standards that developed the Framework for K-12 Science Education setting the vision for science education in the country and currently serves on national boards of the National Research Council’s Board on Science Education, as well as multiple other boards.
Ana Soler is the Chairperson of the National Association of Educational Translators and Interpreters of Spoken Languages (NAETISL: https://naetisl.org/) and Founder of SeSo, Inc., a source of qualified and trained interpreters, and multicultural family engagement workshops for school districts. She completed her degree in Social Work at Georgia State University, her Master’s Degree in Public Health at Emory University, and is a Ph.D. in Special Education student at the University of Georgia. For over a decade, Ana worked with the largest school district in Georgia as the Language Services and Parent Outreach Coordinator, developing, implementing and evaluating professional development opportunities for multilingual personnel, as well as discovering endless opportunities to engage multilingual families in their children’s education. 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 online courses for the University of Georgia, including the Professional Interpreter in Education Certificate course and the Professional Interpreter in Special Education Certificate course. Ana hopes to continue identifying ways to highlight the cultural wealth of multilingual families while supporting schools to strengthen cultural and linguistic bridges.