English Learner Advisory Council


Hilary Barber

ELL Director

Lewiston Public Schools

Xavier Botana


Portland Public Schools

Regina Clement

ESOL Teacher/Coordinator


Michelle Demers

EL Teacher

Saco School Department

Fern Desjardins

Superintendent, Retired

RSU 33-Madawaska and Frenchville

Robin Fleck

ELL Coordinator, Retired

Auburn School Department

Maureen Fox

Language Acquisition Specialist, Multilingual & Multicultural Center

Portland Public Schools

Carlos Gómez

Director of Language Development

Portland Public Schools

Deborah Howard

Teacher of the Deaf, ESOL, Curriculum & Instruction

MSAD 51 (Cumberland, North Yarmouth)

Christopher Indorf

Assistant Superintendent

Biddeford and Dayton School Departments

Jessica Inch

ESOL Teacher

Augusta School Department

Melanie Junkins

ELL District Coordinator


Elena Smith

ESOL Teacher and Specialist

RSU 12- Sheepscot Valley, and Wiscasset Schools

Sheanna Zimmermann

English Language Teacher/District EL Coordinator

South Portland School Department

Cristina Perez

ESOL Teacher Coordinator


Sarah Gagnon

ELL Teacher/Coordinator


Sandra Seavey

EL Teacher 

RSU 26

Cheryl Keeney

ELL Teacher

Ellsworth School Department

Dr. Alec Lapidus

Associate Professor, Co-Chair of Department of Literacy, Language, and Culture

University of Southern Maine

Lysa McLemore

Assistant ELL Director 

Lewiston Public Schools

Melissa Hodgkins

ELL Coordinator

Auburn School Department

Dr. Clara Jean Howard

Assistant Professor, Secondary and English Learner Education

University of Maine at Farmington

Josephine Bizimana


Mufalo Chitam

Executive Director

Maine Immigrants' Rights Coalition


Membership Policy

Roles and Responsibilities

Maine Department of Education (DOE) will provide leadership to the English Learner Advisory Council (ELAC) by scheduling meetings, establishing agendas, facilitating discussions, and ensuring the ELAC’s views are communicated to Maine DOE.

ELAC members will provide advice to the Maine DOE on its activities and policies related to English learner education. Members commit to attending two annual meetings, on the first Friday of every December and the last Friday in June. In addition, throughout the year there will be opportunities to provide feedback and advice via email and/or phone on specific activities and policies as they arise.

Selection of ELAC Members

The ELAC includes two membership types: permanent and non-permanent (maximum service of two years). Total membership will not exceed 25.

Permanent Members

Each Maine school administrative unit (SAU) that currently receives a Title III grant under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act will have representation on the ELAC according to EL enrollment count. SAUs are responsible for selecting the educators who will represent them. No application to the Maine DOE is necessary. It is recommended to select members who can commit to at least two years.

If a district no longer receives a Title III grant, ELAC membership will continue for two years. If during the two-year period the district remains ineligible for Title III, automatic membership will be discontinued, but individual members may apply to continue to participate if they desire.

Number of Students who are English Learners Number of Permanent ELAC Members
Fewer than 500 1
500-1000 2
1000 or more 3


There will be additional permanent members to represent each of Maine’s superintendent regions with no current Title III districts. These members will be selected by the Maine DOE on the basis of leadership and experience, as expressed in a statement of interest. The following criteria will be used to assist in membership determinations.

Selection Criteria for Regional Permanent Members
Leadership Administrative role
Professional organization membership
Presentations/professional development offered
PLC facilitation
Experience Total years in field
Language learning experience
Level of education in TESOL


Non-Permanent Members

Additional members may represent perspectives from:

  • Institutions of Higher Learning
  • Migrant Education
  • Non-profit community organizations serving immigrants and refugees
  • Family members of students who are English learners
  • Former English learners (graduates)
  • Retired ESOL educators

Potential non-permanent members must be nominated by permanent members and complete an application. If you are interested in becoming a non-permanent member, contact your local ELAC member or April Perkins (april.perkins@maine.gov) to indicate your wish to be nominated. Permanent ELAC members will vote by majority rule to confirm non-permanent members through an online forum. Confirmation of non-permanent members will be completed by May 1st every other year. New non-permanent members will attend an orientation in June, TBD.