Oregon Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages

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Board Officers

Davida Jordan

ORTESOL President


Davida Jordan has been teaching ESL for over 15 years. She started her career in Santa Cruz, California, where she earned her BA in Language Studies (French, Spanish, and Linguistics) from UC Santa Cruz. She moved to Portland in 2002 and earned her MA: TESOL from Portland State University in 2006. She has been teaching at PSU since 2007. She also teaches at Portland Community College. 

Davida is married and has two children: Emilia, age 6, and William, age 10. Emilia loves animals and wants to be a veterinarian when she grows up. William recently learned how to ride a unicycle and had the chance to ride with the Unipiper, a local Portland celebrity. Davida has lived with host families in Nimes, France to study French and in Morelia, Mexico to study Spanish. Her goal is to one day study all of her students' many languages! 

Jessie Jimenez

ORTESOL Vice President


When Jessie started her first position teaching English at Zhejiang University in China in 2006, she found that teaching ESOL brought together interests from many different experiences. As an anthropology undergrad at UC Berkeley, she was fascinated by the coevolution of language and the brain. Teaching ESL combined this interest in linguistics with a goal of advocacy born of the work Jessie did with a forensic psychologist arguing for life in death penalty cases. She went on to complete a Masters in English with an emphasis in TESOL at San Francisco State University. She has taught at several institutions including the Composition for Multilingual Students program at San Francisco State University, the American Language Institute at SFSU, and Refugee Transitions in Oakland.  Jessie settled in West Linn three years ago and looks forward to advocating for Oregon teachers.

Nanci Leiton
ORTESOL Treasurer


Nanci Leiton’s teaching career has come full circle. She began as a volunteer tutor through the Salem Public Library where she developed a passion for working with English language learners.  From there, she taught high school English in Latvia with the Peace Corps and business English in Ecuador with the U.S. Fulbright Commission before earning her Masters in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages at the University of Washington. Since returning to Oregon, Nanci has taught at both Portland Community College and Portland State University as well as directed two non-profit community language programs.

Nanci’s current interests include advocacy for ESOL learners and professionals, and language program development, continuity and relevance. In her spare time, she enjoys gardening, photography, hiking (often in combination) and paving the way for two teenagers to add value to the world.

Kit Emens-Hesslink

ORTESOL Secretary


Kit is excited to be a part of the ORTESOL Board as Secretary. She holds an MS in Education (TESOL) from California State University, Fullerton and taught ESL for several years in California before moving to Oregon. She also had the pleasure of teaching in Beijing, China. Prior to entering the field of ESL, Kit worked as a research scientist in San Diego, California. 

Since moving to Oregon, Kit has been teaching at Portland State University’s Intensive English Language Program and International Special Programs. She now teaches at Clackamas Community College as well. She believes that teaching students from all over the world and sharing each other’s cultures and languages is one of the best benefits of being an ESL instructor. 

Delpha Thomas
ORTESOL Post President 


Delpha Thomas holds a Masters in Education in Teaching English as a Second Language from Concordia University and has fourteen years classroom instruction experience. She spent four years abroad teaching English in Istanbul, Turkey and has worked in a variety of educational contexts with learners of all ages and motivations. In addition to teaching, Delpha has a professional background in language assessment and program administration.

Currently, she works as an ESOL instructor at Portland Community College. As well as serving the ORTESOL board, she is a board member of the Portland Literacy Council, where she enjoys connecting with and supporting volunteer literacy tutors and community-based programs working with adults.

Delpha is committed to working on both the equity barriers faced by English language learners and the employment issues facing teaching professionals working in adult education in Oregon. She has great enthusiasm for professional development, teacher training, leveraging technology in the classroom, and designing materials, including open educational resources.

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