melissameisterheimMelissa Meisterheim, Iowa

Melissa Meisterheim received her M.A. in Linguistics with a TESL focus and her Ph.D. in Linguistics from the University of Iowa. She has been teaching at the University of Iowa for 12 years, teaching various types of courses for graduate students, students in the Iowa Intensive English Program and the MBA program, as well as employees in area businesses. In addition to teaching, she is the curriculum coordinator for the IIEP and has served on committees responsible for addressing international student needs at the university.




Elizabeth (Liza) Armstrong, Missouri

Liza Armstrong earned her MA-TESOL from Northern Arizona University. She has taught in intensive English programs at Northern Arizona University, Al Akhawayn University in Morocco, and Missouri State University, and since 2012 she has been a full-time lecturer in the Center for English Language Learning at the University of Missouri-Columbia. Having previously been on the MIDTESOL board as the IEP Interest Section Chair, she is happy to return to the board to serve as the secretary.


kimberleykreicker_editedKimberley Kreicker, Kansas

Dr. Kimberley Kreicker is an ESOL Instructor and Coordinator at South Middle School in Lawrence, Kansas. Kim has worked in most every aspect of ESOL education, from the state and federal level, to the K-12 level in Kansas and New York, to teaching the ESOL endorsement courses at a number of universities in our area. Despite a strong preference for being at the beach, Kim lives happily in Lawrence with her partner of 25 years, librarian and ESOL teacher Arla Jones.

Past President & Nominating Committee Chair

BirdieMorgan_editedRoberta (Birdie) Morgan, Missouri

Roberta “Birdie” Morgan, Program Director of Missouri University of Science & Technology’s Applied Language Institute serves as MIDTESOL’s Past President. She has an MS in American Studies from Utah State University, with a primary focus in folklore and cultural studies and a BA and BS from Missouri S&T in English and History. Morgan is active in TESOL and NAFSA, at both the national and regional levels, and has completed leadership programs from both associations. A member of English USA  for more than 15 years, Missouri S&T’s IEP is accredited by CEA.

2017 Conference Chairs

VickiAnderson_editedVicki Anderson, Nebraska

Dr. Vicki Anderson is director of undergraduate and graduate ESL/ELL/TESOL teacher preparation programs at Concordia University Nebraska (in Seward, NE) and chair of that institution’s Department of Intercultural Studies and Modern Languages. Vicki received her PhD in Linguistics from Indiana University (Bloomington, IN) and her MA in TESOL/Linguistics from Ball State University (Muncie, IN). She has taught English in a variety of K-12 and university contexts in Chile and France, as well as in Intensive English Programs at Indiana University and Ball State; she currently trains and leads teams of students every summer to China to run ESL summer camps. When not working, Vicki enjoys cooking and hiking and drinking espressos on the front porch with her husband and two teenaged sons.

lilysorenson_editedLily Sorenson, Missouri

Lily has an M.A. in TESOL and has been actively involved in the field for more than 19 years. She has taught in a number of different university ESL programs. She has experience in teaching all different levels and subjects. She currently serves as the Director of the Intensive English Program at the University of Missouri in Columbia, Missouri. She is interested in program development and the use of technology in the classroom. She loves to travel, read, eat great food, and spend time with her family.

Exhibitor Coordinator

CBThiessen_editedCrystal Bock Thiessen, Nebraska

Crystal Bock Thiessen graduated with Bachelor’s degrees in both Photography and Spanish, and received her Masters in TESL from the University of Central Missouri, USA where she eventually worked with the Intensive English Program (IEP) for a year and a half.  She taught EFL in Sapporo, Japan for three years, and in Lugansk, Ukraine for one as an English Language Fellow in conjunction with Georgetown University and the U.S. Department of State. She has worked as an English Language Specialist in Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Moldova, Georgia, and Russia, with a focus on novice EFL teacher training, Peace Corps team teaching training, and most recently, resiliency training for English teachers displaced by the conflict in Ukraine.  Currently, she is an ESL instructor at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, Nebraska, USA, and especially enjoys American Culture and photography and technology in language learning as professional interests. Besides teaching, she is a professional photographer specializing in weddings and travel photography and, combined with her love of travel, has photographed and visited 44 countries and 28 U.S. states.

Conference Program Chair

Alicia Ambler, Iowa

Alicia Ambler earned her M.A. in Theoretical Linguistics with a TESL emphasis from the University of Iowa where she has taught ESL for ten years. Her professional interests include academic writing and listening and academic culture. Her current work outside of teaching includes sexual misconduct education and prevention for ESL students as well as prison education. She works to represent ESL programs throughout the University and strives to let all ESL students know that they belong here and are valued.

Awards Committee Chair

LindseySimanowitzLindsey Simanowitz, Missouri

Lindsey Simanowitz is from Kansas City, Missouri. She received her undergraduate degree in Communication with an emphasis in Electronic Media in December 2006 from William Jewell College in Liberty, Missouri. She completed her Masters in Education with a focus in English Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) in May 2013 from MidAmerica Nazarene University (MNU). Lindsey has been involved in various roles in the field of ESL/ELL education since January 2007.  In August 2013 Lindsey began teaching full time in the Intensive English Program at the English Language Center at the University of Central Missouri (UCM). Lindsey has experienced many cultural opportunities and service opportunities and is also a strong advocate for attending, participating, and presenting at professional development opportunities such as NAFSA, MIDTESOL, and TESOL conferences. Contact Lindsey at

Rules and Resolutions

portraitElizabeth Gould, Kansas

Dr. Elizabeth Gould is an Assistant Language Specialist at the University of Kansas Applied English Center, where she has been on the faculty since 2011. Her duties include a mix of teaching, research and administration, including acting as the coordinator for all accreditation processes. She has given presentations at several conferences including TESOL, MIDTESOL and ANUPI, and served on the 2013 MIDTESOL conference planning committee. Before coming to Kansas, she taught English abroad in Honduras and then served in various administrative positions at a proprietary language school in the Chicago area for five years where her duties included acting as the Director of Education and coordinating all accreditation efforts for the organization. Dr. Gould also conducts site visits for the Commission on English Language Program Accreditation (CEA).

Socio-Political Concerns and Professional Standards Chair

AdrienneJohnson_editedAdrienne Johnson, Missouri

Dr. Adrienne Johnson is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Education at Missouri Western State University, preparing both undergraduate and graduate teachers to teach English language learners.  Adrienne earned her Ph.D. in Linguistics (Second Language Acquisition) from the University of Kansas following 8 years teaching K-12 English language learners in rural and inner-city public schools in South Korea, Chicago, and Michigan.  She has taught in EFL, ESL, bilingual, sheltered, and dual language environments and is always learning.  Originally from Colorado, when she is not teaching, you can find her running, biking, swimming, playing with her kids, and just enjoying being active outdoors.

Member-At Large: Iowa

ZacharySmith_editedZachary Smith, Iowa

Zachary Smith earned BA degrees from Drake University in Public Relations and Secondary English Education with additional certifications in ESL, religion and journalism.  He is currently the ELL teacher at Washington High School in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Previously, Zachary has taught at Kirkwood Community College (Cedar Rapids, Iowa), Ottumwa High School (Ottumwa, Iowa), Ivy Collegiate Academy (Taichung, Taiwan – Republic of China), and Changed Medical University (Changde, People’s Republic of China).  His interests outside teaching include traveling to any place with interesting religious and cultural history, trying new and exotic foods, and reading anything written by Bill Bryson or Haruki Murakami.  He is excited and motivated to bring new ideas, resources and events to Iowa’s members.

Member-At-Large: Kansas

Melanie Stuart-Campbell, Kansas

Melanie started her career in TESOL in the early nineties, teaching both adult ESOL and elementary ESOL in New York City, where she earned her Master’s degree in TESOL at Hunter College, City University of New York. Overseas, Melanie taught EFL in Ecuador and 1st grade in the Republic of Congo. Since then, she’s taught ESOL to international students at both the University of Kansas and Washburn University, taught teacher preparation courses for ESOL certification at four Kansas universities, worked at the Kansas Department of Education as the ESOL consultant, and taught elementary ELL in Topeka Public Schools. Currently, Melanie is working at Greenbush Educational Service Center in the Migrant Education Program.

Member-At-Large: Missouri

AndreaHellman_editedAndrea Hellman, Missouri

Andrea Hellman is an Assistant Professor of English at Missouri State University where she teaches courses in the TESOL and Applied Second Language Acquisition programs. Previously, Andrea prepared elementary pre-service teachers for language minority students in the mainstream classroom at the MSU College of Education. Between 2008-2012, she served as principal TESOL faculty for Project SPEAK, a National Professional Development grant at Missouri Southern State University. Andrea is the Chair-Elect-Elect of the Teacher Education Interest Section of TESOL International Association.

Member-At-Large: Nebraska

jillfox_editedJill Fox, Nebraska

Jill Fox has been involved in the field of ESL since 2000, when she started a Master’s program in ESL Education in the teachers’ college at the University of Tennessee. She completed the program in 1 year, then taught as an itinerant K-12 instructor for the Knoxville Public Schools for 2 years. That was followed by an adventure on the coast of the Arctic Ocean where she lived and worked for a year as an ESL teacher-trainer to core teachers across the district (many in schools/villages only accessible by bush plane). In 2004 Jill returned to the Midwest as a middle school teacher in Fremont, Nebraska. She moved to Lincoln in 2006, and worked as an ELL sub in the public schools, coordinated a family literacy program through a local non-profit literacy association, taught ESL adults for the local community college, and then worked as an instructor in the state university’s intensive English program while starting a PhD program through the teacher education department. In January of 2015 she became the Director of Creighton University’s intensive English program in Omaha, Nebraska.

Communications Director / Chair

Shaeley Santiago - MIDTESOL PresidentShaeley Santiago, Iowa

Shaeley Santiago, ESL Instructional Coach for Ames Community Schools in Ames, Iowa, is an avid user of technology for professional development. In addition to her duties for Ames schools, Shaeley also teaches classes for Drake University’s teacher education program. She first got involved with MIDTESOL by attending a few conferences as a graduate student in the TESL program at Iowa State. Since then, she has served on the board as the K-12 Interest Section chair, Marketing Co-Editor, and Past President.

Editor, Website

melissaloweryMelissa Lowery, Kansas

Melissa Lowery first started building websites in 1996 when she decided to learn HTML “just because”. Since then she’s built websites and managed online presences for small businesses, celebrities, important causes, and family members. She assisted in managing a federal grant providing ESL endorsement to in-service teachers for six years and has nearly completed a Master’s degree in TESOL from Emporia State University, in addition to undergraduate degrees in History and English and an M.A. degree in English Lit. Melissa is a freelance writer, specializing in corporate supplier diversity and issues pertaining to minority business enterprises.

Editor, Conference Proceedings

ThuTran_editedThu Tran, Missouri

Dr. Thu Tran serves as the Student Program Administrator of the Intensive English Program at Missouri University of Science and Technology. He earned a BA in English Linguistics and Literature from Ho Chi Minh City University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Vietnam, an MA in TESOL from the University of Canberra, Australia, and a doctorate in TESOL from Alliant International University, San Diego, CA. His special interests include second language vocabulary acquisition and instruction, assessment, faculty professional development, and curriculum and materials development. Before joining the Intensive English Program at Missouri S&T, he taught English to speakers of other languages in Vietnam and New Jersey. He has been a CEA site reviewer since 2012.

Editor, Marketing – Membership

terrybarakatTerry Barakat, Missouri

Teaching English is Terry’s second half of life career where she is following her passion. After receiving her B.A. in Linguistics from Central College in Pella, IA, Terry was in the telecommunications world doing corporate people management and development for 20 years before returning to school for a Master’s in TESOL from The University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls, IA. Terry has taught at UNI’s CIEP as well as at Marshalltown Community College and has been at Missouri State University’s English Language Institute in Springfield, MO, since August of 2007, where she is currently an English Language Academic Specialist.

Editor, Marketing – Social Media

claudiafranks_editedClaudia Franks, Missouri

Claudia Franks is the MELL Instructional Specialist for southwest Missouri.  She works out of Missouri State University in Springfield, but spends most of her time traveling to schools and talking about her favorite thing: English Learners.  She provides technical support and professional development to K-12 educators working with English Learners.  This is her first time working with MIDTESOL.

Editors, Newsletter

KurtisFosterKurtis Foster, Missouri

Kurtis Foster earned an M.A. in TESOL from Missouri State University in 2011, but became a part of Missouri State University’s English Language Institute in 2009 as a Graduate Assistant and continued teaching there until the Fall of 2012 when he accepted an Assistant Professor position at Kyungnam University in Masan, South Korea. He has two published works. The first, “ÐætWæs God Gewrit: Parallels and Connectedness in the Telling of Tales,” appears in LOGOS:  A Journal of Undergraduate Research. The second, work , an article on education system differences between America and Korea entitled “Educational Values: Discovering the Difference.” was published in the Summer 2013 issue of The Kyungnam Times, at Kyungnam University in Masan South Korea. Foster joined the MIDTESOL Board as Co-Editor of MIDTESOL Matters because as a member of MIDTESOL over the past four years, I have benefited a great deal from attending MIDTESOL conferences and reading MIDTESOL’s publications. I understand the quality of professional development MIDTESOL offers and the potential to positively affect classrooms that the organization prioritizes.

Jan McClellan, Missouri

Jan McClellan is an ELL Specialist at Carver Middle School in Springfield, Missouri.  She has worked with ELLs for four years in the primary and secondary levels through Co-Teaching and Sheltered English Instruction.  She has presented at MIDTESOL on using technology and iPads in the ELL classroom and utilizing video tools to support ELLs in the mainstream classroom. She has a passion for personalized learning and English Language Learners.

Interest Section Chairs for Community College/Adult Education, Educational Technology, Higher Education/Teacher Training, IEP, and K-12 are listed on the Interest Sections page.

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