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Leading adult education through support for and the effective application of technology.

About Us

Meet the Subject Matter Experts (SMEs)

Biographies

Alisa Takeuchi

Alisa Takeuchi

Alisa has a breadth of teaching experience in adult education including 5 years as an EFL Instructor in South Korea, 23 as an ESL and CTE Instructor at Garden Grove Adult Education, 3 years as a content developer for Sacramento County Office of Education, and some time as a remote ESL instructor for Tamalpais Adult School. Alisa has also worked as a Subject Matter Expert (SME) for OTAN since 2017. She provides trainings mostly in the areas of beginning ESL instruction, HyFlex, Bitmoji, EL Civics on Canvas, the Triple-E Framework, and training to support ESL and CTE pathways instruction as well as new adult education teachers. A sample of her certifications include the HyFlex Innovator Digital Badge and the IDEAL 101 and 102 Digital Badges, all from World Ed.

Audrey Dierdorff

Audrey Dierdorff

Audrey is a lifelong adult educator with the Sweetwater Union High School District Division of Adult Education. She started as an orientation teacher in 1993 and, since then, she has served in 12+ positions including ESL Teacher, ESL Distance Learning teacher, and Resource Teacher. Because of the pandemic, she began providing professional development for her colleagues which included video conferencing platforms, Google Workspace, Google Classroom, and other Google and non-Google software applications. Then, in 2022, she joined OTAN as a Subject Matter Expert (SME). As a SME, her presentation experience includes Screencastify, Google Calendar with Appointment Scheduling, and Creating with Canva. She is currently taking a deep dive into how AI can help educators with creating presentations, lesson plans, and worksheets.

Barry Bakin

Barry Bakin

Barry has been an educator with the Division of Adult and Career Education of the Los Angeles Unified School District since 1987. He was a classroom teacher of ESL, Citizenship Preparation, and VESL topics for most of that time. For the last 5 years, he has been an Instructional Technology Teacher Advisor at North Valley Occupational Center working with teachers who have been learning technology integration skills to benefit their instruction and, by extension, their students’ instructional experience in the classroom. In his role as a Subject Matter Expert for OTAN, he has delivered both face-to-face and online workshops and webinars on a variety of technology-related topics for OTAN and has also presented at numerous regional, state, national and international conferences. In addition to his many years of experience in the classroom, Barry has a master’s degree in Instructional Technology and is a Level 2 Google Certified Educator.

Chris Vela Che

Chris Vela Che

Chris has been an adult ESL educator for more than 10 years. Most of her teaching experience has been with low-literacy to beginning-high English language learners. One of the things she enjoys most about her job is finding ways to integrate digital technologies into her classroom in order to improve her students' learning experience and digital skills. She also enjoys going for long walks and spending time with family and friends.

Christina Hyatt

Christina Hyatt

Christina is the high school program coordinator for Corona-Norco Unified School District, and she has work experience in ESL, CTE, and the diploma track. Her specialty is using educational technology in math instruction, using Canvas for instruction and class management, and the OTAN Lesson Plan Builder. Christina holds the following credentials: Multiple Subject; Singe-Subject Math; Education, Business and Finance, and Marketing, all under the area of CTE; and a Site Supervisor Child Development credential.

Cindy Wislofsky

Cindy Wislofsky

Cindy was an adult-level ESL instructor for over 35 years with the San Diego Community College District. During her teaching career, she also served as an ESL Department Chair for 15 years and an ESL Technology Coordinator for 12 years. She enjoys assisting faculty with technology integration, especially using Google apps like Jamboard, Forms, Docs, Drive, and Sites, or other apps like Word, PowerPoint, and Padlet. She holds a Google Educator Level 1 Certification. She loves focusing on collaboration, organization, and supporting adult ed faculty and staff in the use of technology tools to better serve their students.

Dana Thompson

Dana Thompson

Dana brings over a decade of educational leadership experience driving innovation in learning through technology. As Director of Education Technology at the Ventura County Office of Education, Dana spearheaded professional development programs to empower educators with emerging edtech tools and pedagogies. She built online learning systems from the ground up overseeing course development, platform implementation, and training workflows. Dana has extensive knowledge and hands-on experience using the Canvas Learning Management System (LMS). She is skilled at leveraging Canvas tools and features to create online courses, customize course content, develop assessments, and track learner progress and engagement. Dana stays up to date on new Canvas features and functionality through regular training and professional development.

Debbie Jensen

Debbie Jensen

Debbie Jensen worked as an instructor for 33 years at Baldwin Park Adult and Community Education in Southern California focusing on Adults with Disabilities, Adult Basic Education, and assisting teachers with integrating technology in their classrooms. She currently works for OTAN creating online resources, courses, articles, presentations, and workshops. She is a CK-12 Certified Instructor and a Level 1 Google Educator. She has presented at multiple conferences including COABE, CUE, CASAS SI, CCAE, CAEP and OTAN’s TDLS. Her current presentations focus on CK-12, Accessibility, Google, Digital Literacy, the Triple E Framework, and AI in the Classroom. When she is not focused on education, she enjoys family history and time with her grandchildren

Elisia Doonan

Elisia Doonan

Elisia currently works for San Diego Community College District/Continuing Education. She has 17 years of experience in Parent Education, teaching classes from infancy to Pre-K, all the while working in Disability Support Programs and Services (DSPS) for the district. She has worked a total of 38 years in the field of Special Education. She has experience working in classroom settings as well as with distance learning. Elisia has presented on behalf of OTAN at annual conferences for CATESOL and CAPED, and at OTAN’s Digital Leadership Academy (DLAC). During her downtime, Elisia enjoys card making, crocheting, hiking and kayaking.

Farzana Cassim

Farzana Cassim

Farzana is an Instructional Technology Teacher Advisor at Evans Community Adult School, part of the Los Angeles Unified School District. She has been with Evans CAS for 29 years, starting as an ESL Level 1 student before taking on different roles from Educational Aide and Teacher Assistant to CTE and Individualized Instruction Lab instructor and Technology Coordinator. Farzana leads two projects at Evans CAS, one involving Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) applications, the other focusing on creating a dedicated space for Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) and Positive Behavior Intervention and Support (PBIS). Her passion lies in creating engaging and interactive learning opportunities for teachers and adult-ed students. Farzana is also a Subject Matter Expert for OTAN, creating and delivering technology-focused, face-to-face and online workshops, as well as presenting at a variety of conferences.

Francisca Wentworth

Francisca Wentworth

Francisca began her career as an adult education ESL teacher in 1987. She taught all levels of ESL and was an Instructional Technology Coordinator at Jefferson Adult School for ten years before and became Director of Jefferson Adult School. Her journey in technology in instruction began with the OTAN project called the Instructional Technology Assistance Project (ITAP). She was a participant in the first Technology Integration Mentor Academy (TIMAC) cohort (now known as the Digital Leadership Academy or DLAC), and then became a coach/SME for OTAN. In 2010, she was hired by OTAN to create an Advanced ESL Online course in Moodle. Then in 2012, she created “The Write Stuff” which was also made available to Adult Education agencies in California through OTAN. She has revised both courses in Canvas and provides training on how to use the courses as part of a blended/hybrid or distance learning program. Francisca holds multiple certifications including the Leading Edge Digital Educator (LEC) certificate and the Ed Tech Leaders Online Certification.

Francisco X. Pinedo

Francisco X. Pinedo

Francisco has been in Adult Education since 2004. He has worked as an ESL, CTE, Citizenship, and Computer Literacy instructor for Soledad Adult School. In 2018, he became Lead Instructor for Soledad Adult School where he has administrative responsibilities in addition to teaching ESL. Fransisco has also been an OTAN SME since 2012 and enjoys teaching colleagues around the state how to incorporate technology in the Adult Education classroom. Francisco’s trainings typically focus on Canvas in adult education, apps for adult education, and the Digital Learning Guidance.

Jaemi Naish

Jaemi Naish

Jaemi Naish is an educator of 25+ years who lives and works in Marin County as Director of Tamalpais Adult School, where she drives a whole-school team approach centered on adult learner success. Her expertise is integrating digital literacy into adult education programs, and she has spearheaded initiatives to ensure that all adult learners and their teachers are equipped with essential digital skills to ensure student access to education. Her dedication to providing accessible, high-quality education has made her a trusted advocate among adult school educators locally and across California. Jaemi is a board member of the California Adult Education Administrator’s Assocation (CAEAA) and the Workforce Alliance of the North Bay. Her service to Marin County’s adult learners and her leadership in Marin’s CAEP consortium collectively demonstrate her unwavering commitment to the advancement of adult education in California. As an OTAN SME, she lends her expertise in workshops and presentations centered on student data and the CIP process.

Jennifer Gagliardi

Jennifer Gagliardi

Jennifer has been teaching ESL/Citizenship for 20+ years. As a Subject Matter Expert for OTAN, she presents on the topics of Citizenship and Technology at Adult Education conferences. She was recently tapped to be the moderator for the new Civics Education and Citizenship forum on LINCS.ed.gov.

Kristi Reyes

Kristi Reyes

Kristi Reyes, M.A., Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL), is a tenured faculty member in the Noncredit ESL Program at MiraCosta College, California, with more than two decades of experience teaching adults. Kristi has conducted a number of different tech-integration workshops and webinars for OTAN since 2009 on topics including digital storytelling, web-based tools, teaching vocabulary with technology, online teaching best practices, teaching hybrid courses, project-based learning, and Canvas. She has nearly a decade of experience teaching online, with online teaching credentials from @ONE and TESOL International.

Lynn Bartlett

Lynn Bartlett

Lynn Bartlett, M.A. Educational Leadership and Policy Studies and Administrative Services Credential, began her career in adult education in the San Juan Unified School District in 1995, first as a teacher, then as project developer, and finally as the adult education principal. She was a key participant in developing policies and practices at the state level through work with the California Distance Learning Program (CDLP) Advisory Committee, and the successor state leadership project, the Outreach and Technical Assistance Network (OTAN). She has presented at local, state, and national conferences and in webinars on how to develop and implement an effective program using technology in education. As an OTAN Subject Matter Expert, Ms. Bartlett is presently researching, gathering materials, and writing new content to be added to an updated adult education history website and to the official publication, Meeting the Challenge: A History of Adult Education in California (California Department of Education, 2005 edition).

Marian Thacher

Marian Thacher

Marian Thacher, M.S, Ed., has worked in the field of Adult Literacy and English as a Second Language (ESL) since 1981, including teaching ESL and GED classes in Chicago and San Diego, and serving for twelve years as Coordinator and later Director of the Outreach and Technical Assistance Network (OTAN). Ms. Thacher developed and led OTAN’s Technology Integration Mentor Academy which has now become the Digital Leadership Academy (DLAC); she currently works with OTAN to coach and mentor DLAC participants. In her work with the American Institutes for Research, Ms. Thacher currently coordinates professional development for federally-funded adult education agencies in Nevada. She was the Project Director for a contract with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) to provide training on professional learning communities to the education staff from California’s 35 prisons. She contributed to the California Adult Literacy Professional Development Project (CALPRO) by managing the development of practice training materials on a variety of topics. Additionally, she has been a frequent presenter at national, state and local conferences on topics related to professional development and technology in adult education.

Paul Yung

Paul Yung

Paul started his career in adult education as an ESL teacher in Los Angeles while still in graduate school at UCLA. When he became the Distance Learning Program Advisor, he led a team to adapt the Putting English to Work (PETW) 1, 2 and 3 series, consisting of 64 half-hour video episodes with student workbooks and unit assessments, to Moodle. He is currently assisting OTAN in migrating the PETW courses to Canvas with full interactivity. Since 2021, Paul has been the EL Civics Advisor at the Los Angeles Unified School District’s Division of Adult and Career Education.

Penny Pearson

Penny Pearson

Penny was the former Coordinator for Distance Learning Projects at OTAN and supported adult education teachers with technology integration and professional development for California starting in 2007. She officially retired from OTAN in July of 2022 and now works part-time for OTAN as a Subject Matter Expert. She frequently presents at conferences at all levels. She advocates for accessible documents, and she is a vocal supporter of Open Educational Resources for Adult Learners. Prior to her time at OTAN, she was a Career Technical Education instructor for 12 years.

Susan Coulter

Susan Coulter

Susan Coulter is a seasoned veteran of OTAN with over a decade of dedicated service under her belt in addition to 33 years of experience in adult education. Susan's passion for empowering learners knows no bounds. Susan wears many hats at OTAN, from writing insightful web-based news articles to creating engaging “Teaching with Technology” activities; she has a true love for technology. But that's not all – Susan is a regular fixture at three to four conferences each year, where she generously shares her wealth of knowledge. Additionally, she's a coach for OTAN's Digital Leadership Academy (DLAC). Susan has an impressive array of certifications, including Google Certified Educator 1 and 2, GFE Trainer Skills Assessment, CK-12 Certified Trainer, and Adobe Creative Educator. Susan's recent retirement from Baldwin Park Adult and Community Education marks the end of an incredible career marked by unwavering dedication to adult education and a zest for all things tech. She is thrilled to continue her career with OTAN.

Yecsenia Delgado Lorenzo

Yecsenia Delgado Lorenzo

Yecsenia has over 13 years of adult education experience in various capacities including: Instructional Designer, E-Learning Developer, CTE Program Developer, and Technology Integration Specialist. Over the years, she has focused on understanding technology integration by assessing key aspects of teachers’ technology proficiency and needs. Yecsenia’s research has focused largely on investigating the technology integration barriers that educators face and the training they have received. Her goal is to find possible areas of improvement to advance distance education in adult education settings.

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OTAN activities are funded by contract CN220124 from the Adult Education Office, in the Career & College Transition Division, California Department of Education, with funds provided through Federal P.L., 105-220, Section 223. However, OTAN content does not necessarily reflect the position of that department or the U.S. Department of Education.