ORTESOL Board Report
The ORTESOL board met for the first of our 5 annual meetings on Saturday January 25th at Portland Community College, Southeast Campus. President Delpha Thomas moved into the Post President role. Davida Jordan moved from Vice President to the 2020 President, and Jessie Jimenez stepped in to become the Vice President. Beth Ronk became the new Refugee Concerns SIG Chair. Santiago Gustin became the new Communications Chair. Nanci Leiton will be continuing as Treasurer. Susan Caisse will be continuing as Conference Co-Coordinator. Josh Schultze will be continuing as Higher Ed Co-Chair. Patrick Ahern will be continuing as K-12 SIG Co-Chair. We also said goodbye to Secretary Kit Emens-Hesslink and Publishers’ Liaison Julie Vorholt.
We welcomed four new board members. Lily Cordero joins us as the Workshop and Conference Co-Coordinator, Naila Bairamova as the Volunteer Coordinator, Annie Ittner as the K-12 SIG Co-Chair, and Sarah Coffer as the Advocacy Chair.
The board spent the first portion of the meeting with transitions and introductions. We began a list of the other group affiliations on the white board. By the end of introductions, we’d covered almost 3 white boards with the groups, connections, and affiliations of board members.
Our first order of business was to make tough decisions about 2020 priorities. We’ve seen a decrease in membership since the last TESOL convention was in Portland in 2014. We’ve seen a decrease in the number of adult and higher education job opportunities. However, we have seen an increase in the number of K-12 job opportunities and the dire need for ESL education and training by K-12 teachers. Diversifying the theme of our professional development opportunities to include more K-12 activities was decided upon. The board discussed many ways of encouraging more participation from busy K-12 teachers.
In addition, ORTESOL seeks to have more engagement from members. We saw powerfully how the Immigrant Action Workgroup was able to organize a thread of sessions at our 2019 fall conference. We’d like to cultivate that spirit among members. The board voted to forgo the traditional spring workshop in order to organize smaller, but more frequent opportunities for professional development. We will be talking more about this for the future, so stay tuned!
Additionally, the board discussed ways to increase our efforts reaching students to bring vitality, growth, and connections into the organization. ORTESOL membership isn’t just an opportunity to support our advocacy efforts, or a way to ensure conferences, but it’s also a way to demonstrate members’ commitment to the field and interest in continual professional development. As an aside, we’ve already announced that TESOL 2023 will be in Portland, but few people realize that without ORTESOL, TESOL wouldn’t be coming. This awesome PD opportunity wouldn’t be available without the continued work that ORTESOL does every day.
ORTESOL members are welcome to attend board meetings. Our next board meeting will take place on March 7, 2020 at 10:00am at Portland Community College, Southeast Campus.