TexTESOLER of the Year is an annual award presented by the TexTESOL V board to an individual being recognized for their service to the ESL profession in the North Texas area. 


Dr. Jey Venkatesen

Dr. Venkatesan served on the TexTESOL V Board for many years as the Publications Copy Coordinator, TexELT journal reviewer, president-elect, president, and past president. She taught English as a Second language and college composition in the U.S. and India for several years. Currently, she is a Professor of ESL at Collin College. She has also been an IELTS (International English Language Testing System) examiner for many years. In 2011, she taught English in Yakut, Russia, as part of the TexTESOL V and Yakut TESOL partnership. 

Congratulations, Dr. Venkatesan, for being named the Region 5 TexTESOLer of the year!




Terri Watson is an ESL Instructional Coordinator at the Eagle Mountain-Saginaw I.S.D.
She holds a Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction. She was an ESL teacher and
reading interventionist at the middle school level for many years.
Currently, she provides professional development and instructional support for K-12
teachers of ELLs. Her work with teachers includes incorporating ELPS and language instruction into content areas as well as building academic language. She has presented at numerous local, state, and national conferences including Title 3, TABE, and NABE. After serving as the president-elect, president, and past-president on the TexTESOL V Board, she has been serving as the Secondary Education Representative. 



Jayson Hammett made language acquisition a cornerstone of his education and career. His educational background includes an Associate Degree in Interpreting for the Deaf, a Bachelor’s degree focusing on Linguistics and Foreign Language Acquisition, a Masters of Education in Policy Studies and a Principal Certification.

His education career began with teaching elementary students Spanish and general studies in several North Texas school districts before moving to Arlington ISD to teach 4th grade. There he found a passion for teaching ELL students how to succeed. This experience led him to an Instructional Coach and Response to Intervention Facilitator role and to a position as a World Languages Instructional Specialist.

He was then offered an amazing opportunity with Texas based Project Education (formerly Project ELL) as the Director of Program Management. In this role, he helped expand their ELL offerings to numerous other states. While helping design proficiency tracking and targeted intervention software to meet English Learner needs, one of his duties includes partnering with school districts across the United States to create a seamless process using Project Education software.

He is extremely honored by this nomination as TxTESOLV TESOLer of the Year, and wants to express gratitude to those who have helped guide him in his career including President and Founder of the Global Institute for Language and Literacy Development Kathleen Leos, Professional Development Consultant Cindy Brennan, and countless superintendents and directors in Texas who are trying to do what is best for students who walk in the door looking for hope.



Dr. Amie Sarker spent several years teaching ESL and serving as a literacy strategist on a dual language campus in the Texas public school system. She also taught English as a foreign language in Taiwan and South Korea.

Dr. Sarker designed and served as program administrator for the M.Ed. in Bilingual Education and the M.Ed. in Reading and ESL for Dallas Baptist University. Her research interests focus on culturally responsive instruction and literacy instruction for CLD students, including teacher self-efficacy and funds of knowledge integration.

In addition to serving on the TexTESOL V board, Dr. Sarker is also serves the profession in other ways:

Board Member of the Christian English Language Educators Association.
Mentor to Santa Clara of Assisi Catholic Academy with the TWIN-CS (Two-Way Immersion Network for Catholic Schools) program organized by Boston College
Heavily involved in an international non-profit that operates 22 small primer schools in rural Bangladesh.



Dr. Marco Shappeck earned his doctoral degree in linguistics from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and is currently an Associate Professor of Teacher Education at the University of North Texas at Dallas. He specializes in language acquisition, contact linguistics, and lifespan development. He is co-author of two books: Linguistics for Pre-Service Educators and Aging in a Second Language: A Case Study of Aging, Immigration, and an English Learner Speech Community. He has published work in the Journal of Latinos and Education, Hispanic Studies Review, English in Texas, and the International Journal of the Linguistic Association of the Southwest. As a board member of Tex TESOL V, he served in the roles of membership coordinator, president-elect, president, and past-president.



Les Brinkerhoff Leslie A. Brinkerhoff, Jr oversees the Continuing Education Program at Mountain View College in Dallas, Texas. He teaches credit classes for upper-level writing courses for the ESOL program there as well. Prior to working at Mountain View College, he worked in several countries in Africa, particularly francophone countries, as a literacy consultant assisting local communities in the development of literacy programs fitted to local cultures, languages in use, and other environmental factors. He graduated with a Master’s degree in Linguistics from the University of Texas at Arlington and a Bachelor’s degree in French from Houghton College in New York State. He is fluent in French and has an intermediate ability to communicate in Spanish.