From the President, Winter 2014

Dec 20th, 2014 | By | Category: Messages, President's Message
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Kimberley Briesch Sumner

Kimberley Briesch Sumner


—Hello, my name is Kimberley Briesch Sumner, and I’m this year’s president of CATESOL. As Past President Ellen Lange said in her presidential farewell CATESOL News article, I took up the reins on Saturday, October 25, during the Town Hall Meeting at the CATESOL Annual Conference “think, connect, create, share” in Santa Clara and am honored to serve you, the CATESOL membership.

Through the years CATESOL membership has meant a great deal to me. I have been a part of CATESOL since my days as a graduate student at UCLA. I’ve been teaching English learners since I got my TESL certificate in 1999 and got my first job teaching high school students TOEFL at a summer camp. I’ve also taught in many other contexts, including adult ed, community college, IEP, and I am now teaching at the university level. Through each context CATESOL was always there, offering me fresh ideas for the classroom and plenty of top-notch teachers to network with. In fact, it is this network that set me on the path to volunteering my time as a Board member of CATESOL. This volunteer experience with the Board of Directors made me realize that becoming a member of the Board is not unattainable—it’s something that we all can do and it gives us greater insight into what it’s like for teachers of all levels and interest groups across the states of California and Nevada. As you read through this issue of the CATESOL News, be sure to read an article or two that you might not usually have taken the time to read. As you attend a chapter event or a regional conference in the next months, be sure to talk to a few more people than you might have otherwise. As you go about your daily teaching duties, think about what makes your teaching activities or style interesting, fun, or unique and consider sharing what you do by submitting a poster or presentation proposal. Who knows? It might just lead to an enriching professional connection, a job in your favorite teaching context, or a position on the CATESOL Board, which could help shape the organization for future generations.

As I look forward to what’s next for CATESOL, I hope to accomplish much in this coming year, but I won’t be doing it alone. Our team of dedicated level chairs, their assistants, and our interest group coordinators will continue to be the pulse of CATESOL, learning from its members what topics are important to discuss. Our enthusiastic annual conference committee, chapter coordinators and the chapters they represent, and our regional conference committees and their liaisons will continue to search for fresh ways to introduce topics at CATESOL’s many events and conferences. Our hardworking general manager, executive committee, and sociopolitical leaders will be working to determine and address the important issues at hand throughout the year. As part of that executive committee, I have established a few initiatives for the new year.

  1. I plan to create a social media coordinator for the CATESOL Board in order to increase our presence in cyberspace and to reach a greater number of people.
  2. I plan to improve our presence in the K-12 system and to increase membership and volunteerism at all levels of CATESOL.
  3. I also wish to stimulate stronger activity and encourage more outreach with our partner CATESOL state, Nevada. I hope this outreach to Nevada will culminate in an annual conference in the “Silver State” a few years from now, but we cannot do this without your help. Please take the time to establish more connections with your teaching professionals across the state line, remind them that CATESOL is their organization too, and that we need to unite as one CATESOL to overcome the difficulties we may be having in the political realm of both states.

Indeed, as we look forward, let us all keep close our belief in the power of the members of this organization to build community with one another, to grow professionally by exchanging pedagogical knowledge, to inspire our students to be great, and to aspire greatness within ourselves.

Yours in CATESOL,
Kimberley Briesch Sumner

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