ESOL Conference

English for Speakers of Other Languages

2018 ESOL Keynote Speakers 

Keynote Tuesday, February 6, 2018 - Tonya Ward Singer

Tonya Ward Singer, M.F.A.

Sponsored by Kennesaw State University  Bagwell College of Education

Tonya Ward Singer, M.F.A., is a professional learning leader with a deep commitment to ensuring diverse learners excel with rigorous expectations. She consults nationally helping K-12 educators realize new possibilities in language and literacy learning to close opportunity gaps for ELs and students in poverty.  

Tonya has taught at multiple grade levels as a classroom teacher, reading teacher, and EL specialist, and has extensive experience helping school leaders transform learning at scale.  Her choice work is supporting educators in launching and sustaining site-based, continuous inquiry around live lessons.  She has been collaborating extensively with multiple districts developing, testing, and refining observation inquiry, the focus of this book. 

An expert in pedagogy for linguistically diverse learners, Tonya has co-authored curriculum for international publishers including Scholastic, Longman and Oxford University Press.  She thrives on leveraging research and innovation to solve educational challenges, and inspiring others to do the same.

Keynote Wednesday, February 7, 2018 - Diane Staehr Fenner


Diane Staehr Fenner, Ph.D. is the president of SupportEd, LLC ( SupportEd is a woman-owned small business based in the Washington, DC area that provides educa-tors of ELs the skills and resources they need to champion ELs’ success within and beyond students’ classrooms. At SupportEd, Diane serves as project lead for all the team’s work providing EL professional development, programmatic support, and research to school districts, states, organizations, and the U.S. Department of Education. Diane is an author of four books, a blogger for the Colorín Colorado website, and a frequent keynote presenter on EL education at conferences across North America. Prior to forming SupportEd, Diane was a research associate at George Washington University’s Center for Excellence and Equity in Education and spent a decade as an ESOL teacher, dual language assessment teacher, and ESOL assessment specialist in Fairfax County Public Schools, VA. 

She also taught English in Veracruz, Mexico and Berlin, Germany. Diane earned her Ph.D. in Multilingual/Multicultural Education with an emphasis in Literacy at George Mason University. 

She lives in Fairfax, VA with her husband and three kids who are in a Spanish immersion program in their public school. She’s married to a graduate of Pebblebrook High School in Mableton, GA. Diane speaks fluent Spanish and German, grew up on a dairy farm in Central New York State, and is a first-generation college graduate. You can connect with her via email at or on Twitter at @DStaehrFenner. 

Keynote Thursday, February 8, 2018 - Stephaney Jones-Vo

Stephaney Jones-Vo, MA

Stephaney Jones-Vo, MA, graduated from Iowa State University specializing in TESL (Linguistics). She has provided professional development on K–12 and adult ESL and diversity topics for over two decades for numerous school districts across the United States and around the world. She has designed and delivered ESL curricula for a variety of medical programs; developed and taught job-specific ESL classes for manufacturing and hospitality industries; and consulted with and presented at universities, medical schools, and businesses on engaging English learners and enhancing cultural competence. She also dedicated 10 years to a successful teaching career in a K–12 ESL program that she founded.

Personal involvement in the refugee resettlement process motivated her to serve as project director for two Title III grants in the Des Moines Public Schools and to teach a variety of graduate classes for educators of ELs. Currently an ESL/diversity consultant at Heartland Area Education Agency, she is a frequent presenter at state, national, and international conferences. Jones-Vo has published numerous articles in magazines and journals and coauthored numerous book chapters. Her first book, coauthored with Shelley Fairbairn, is Differentiating Instruction and Assessment for English Language Learners: A Guide for K–12 Teachers (Caslon, 2010).

A co-recipient of the Governor’s First in the Nation in Education (FINE) Award, Jones-Vo also received the Beyond the Horizon Award for exemplary teaching and advocacy for ELs, and the Governor’s Volunteer Award (four times) for service through the Iowa Bureau of Refugee Services. She was recognized with an Outstanding Alumni Award from Drake University in 2010.