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PCI Workshop A

AMTESOL 2025 logo_hi res.png

Thursday,  January 16, 2025

1:00 - 4:00pm

Montgomery, Alabama

Renaissance Montgomery Hotel & Spa at the Convention Center

Taking Ownership of Our Life Directions

This workshop focuses on providing teachers with the knowledge, skills, and strategies to take ownership of their life directions. By participating in this workshop, you will learn about and practice activities that empower us to take our lives in the directions we set for ourselves. Several of these activities are as follows:

  • Setting goals,

  • Developing leadership capacity,

  • Finetuning advocacy skills, and

  • Practicing well-being

By the end of this session, participants will have learned skills and strategies to continue to develop ownership of their life directions. Participants will be invited to meet annually as a teacher/educator group to share about and build upon what we initiated during this pivotal learning event.


Debra Suarez, Ph.D., President of TESOL International Association, keynote speaker at AMTESOL 2025 in Montgomery, Alabama, ,smiling in a royal blue suit in front of a window

Debra Suarez, Ph.D.

Dr. Debra Suarez is President of the TESOL International Association, Executive Director of Uplifting Teachers, LLC, and Adjunct Professor of International Teaching and Global Leadership at Johns Hopkins University. With an unwavering belief in the power of education to change the world, Debra has dedicated her professional life to improving the educational experiences of students and teachers in the field of English language teaching and, also, of immigrants, refugees, and members of minority populations, throughout the US and the world. Debra's professional roles have progressed through TESOL/TEFL positions, assuming increasing higher levels of responsibility and achieving wider levels of impact. During her 25+ year career, Debra has been a classroom teacher, university professor (initially at the University of Alabama), international consultant, senior federal leader, and global educational leader.

Lori Edmonds, Ph.D., UAB assistant professor, pre-conference institute presenter at AMTESOL 2025 in Montgomery, Alabama, smiling, in a dark green blouse

Lori Edmonds, Ph.D.

Dr. Lori Edmonds is assistant professor of English learner education at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where she teaches graduate courses in ESL methods, assessment, and family and community engagement. As the education specialist on a national professional development grant (EMPOWER), Lori provides professional development to educators in six partnering school districts. For the Alabama-Mississippi TESOL (AMTESOL) organization. Lori chairs the social media committee and represents AMTESOL on the Southeast TESOL Regional Council. Her research focuses on the value of teacher and student funds of knowledge in culturally diverse classroom environments. She also focuses her work on supporting educators in their pursuit to create equitable learning environments. Throughout all her efforts, Lori strives to create a local environment where educators feel valued and supported by their community.

Josephine Prado, Ph.D. associate professor at UAB, pre-conference institute presenter at AMTESOL 2025 in Montgomery, Alabama, smiling in a black blouse

Josephine Prado, Ph.D.

Dr. Josephine Prado is associate professor of English learner education at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where she teaches graduate courses in second language acquisition, grammar and linguistics for ESL teachers, multicultural education, and MA-TESOL methods. Currently, Josephine is program coordinator for UAB's ESL teacher education program. This online program includes an ESL master's degree and a TESOL education specialist degree (each with three tracks) as well as two graduate certificates. She is also principal investigator of the national professional development grant, EMPOWER. For Alabama-Mississippi TESOL, Josephine co-chairs the Advocacy Committee. Her research interests include exploring ESOL teacher advocacy to support multilingual learners, developing self-advocacy of ESL teachers to support their own wellness, and designing culturally sustaining curriculum for use in K-12 schools.

Stephanie Corcoran, Ph.D., NCSP, assistant professor of school psychology and psychometry at UAB, pre-conference institute presenter at AMTESOL 2025 in Montgomery, Alabama, smiling in a blue blouse

Stephanie Corcoran, Ph.D., NCSP

Dr. Stephanie Corcoran is assistant professor for school psychology and psychometry at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. As program coordinator, Stephanie oversees the online master's degree in school psychometry and the online education specialist degree in school psychology. She also serves as co-principal investigator on a national grant for special education teachers and school psychologists in partnership with local school districts. Stephanie is past president of the Alabama Association of School Psychologists and Alabama's current delegate to the National Association of School Psychologists. As a nationally certified school psychologist, Stephanie is passionate about serving all students with culturally responsive practices. She focuses her research on psychoeducational assessment, identification of learning disabilities, and academic and behavioral instructional strategies.

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