TESOL Faculty

TESOL Program Director

Dr. Plaisance fell in love with the world of TESOL during her undergraduate studies in Quito, Ecuador and in Heredia, Costa Rica. Forced to eventually settle in one hemisphere, she pursued her MAT in TESL from the University of North Carolina in Charlotte. After some years of experience as an ESL teacher in NC public schools, she returned to UNCC to pursue her doctorate in Urban Literacy, with a TESOL concentration. Dr. Plaisance joined Greensboro College in 2014 as the program director and is now an associate professor of English and TESOL. She has worked to build the GC TESOL program into one of the most robust, rigorous, and dynamic TESOL degree programs in the country. Through a combination of innovative online curricula and traditional residential options, Dr. Plaisance has played an integral role in developing a uniquely comprehensive program of study with choices for every educator considering a career in teaching English to non-native speakers. She’s passionate about learning and life-long education, which makes her job in graduate studies one of her greatest pleasures.

Michelle Plaisance CV

Associate Director of TESOL and Assistant Professor of English and TESOL

Dr. King joined Greensboro College as a part-time instructor in 2014 and was named to the full-time faculty in 2016. She received her M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina in Charlotte. Her research interests include teacher perceptions of immigrant students and the language sharing of English learners in urban secondary schools. She has worked as a University Supervisor for TESL candidates, ESL instructor in an intensive English language program, adjunct faculty in the College of Education at UNC Charlotte, and in middle and secondary public schools as an ESL teacher.

Elena King CV

TESOL Instructor

Professor Wilder received her M.A. in TESOL from Greensboro College and her B.A. in English from Guilford College. She currently serves as the director of English for academic purposes and continuing education for non-native English speakers at Durham Technical Community College. Paula has been responsible for the creation and implementation of academic EFL curriculum programs at two community colleges in North Carolina and has worked as a consultant for other community colleges who are in the process of implementing their EFL programs. She is also an instructor in the TESOL certificate program at N.C. State and has taught at Harvard University’s Institute of English Language. In 2014, Paula received the TESOL International Ruth Cryme’s Award and was a runner-up in the 2016 TESOL International Teacher of the Year Award. She has presented her research in a variety of venues, including Oxford University, TESOL, Int'l, UNC-Charlotte, N.C. Community College System Office Conferences, SETESOL, Carolina TESOL, TALGs, NCADE, and NCEI. She has also conducted teacher training workshops in Canada, Mexico, and China. In her free time, Paula enjoys hiking, kayaking, and gardening. She is an avid reader and enjoys all genres. She has four children who range in ages from 23 to 28.

TESOL Instructor

Abby Dobs has been teaching and studying English since her days as an undergraduate. She completed her M.A. in English from UNC Charlotte and her Ph.D. in Applied Linguistics from Pennsylvania State University. Her work, as a teacher and a student, is motivated by a respect for the power of language and a belief that greater knowledge and awareness of language use in social practices may ultimately lead to change—at the societal, institutional, or personal level. Her research explores how teaching and learning are accomplished in classroom interaction. At present she is exploring how an ESL teacher fosters second-language motivation and learning through language play. Dr. Dobs also serves as editorial assistant for the Journal of Language Aggression and Conflict.

TESOL Instructor

Prof. Fortson received her M.A. in TESOL from Greensboro College and her B.A. from the University of Georgia. She also holds an M.A. in early childhood education but primarily focuses on adult instruction. She is currently teaching in community literacy programs in the Triangle area.

Degania has lived most of her life abroad and taught in a number of diplomatic, international communities. Her TESOL-related research interests explore the transformation of individual identity within a multilingual/multicultural context and the evolution of the global citizen. Her educational research interests include metacognition and the multiple brain functions leveraged in the learning process that collaborate to form unique learning profiles.

She is raising three “Third Culture Kids” and hoping to impart on them global competence and cultural intelligence.

TESOL Program Assistant Director

Prof. Girardi has been part of Greensboro College’s MA-TESOL Program since its inception in 2001. She began her TESOL teaching career at High Point University, offering foundational ESL courses to international students. At Greensboro College she has worked with Admissions and advising for adult programs and designed the first courses in Educational Inquiry and Current Issues in TESOL. A past member of International TESOL, FLANC, ACTFL and AATG, she served as chair of the Higher Ed Section of the Advisory Board of Carolina TESOL. Although officially retired, Professor Girardi continues as Assistant Director of the MA-TESOL Program and teaches Current Issues in TESOL.

TESOL Instructor

Dr. Lyday teaches first-year writing, linguistics, grammar, history of the English language, American literature, literature of the Holocaust, and Appalachian literature on a regular basis at Elon University in Elon, NC, where she has taught for 33 years. During the past several summers, she has taught applied and descriptive linguistics and grammar in the Masters of TESOL program at Greensboro College. After finishing her Bachelor’s and Master’s in English at Tennessee Technological University, she completed a PhD at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, in American literature and with special emphasis areas on English language studies and modern literature.

TESOL Instructor

Duaa Makhoul is a passionate TESOL instructor. She earned her bachelor's degree in Applied English from The University of Jordan and completed her master's degree in English for Specific Purposes (ESP) from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Her teaching seeks to explore methods and pedagogies that help teachers in maximizing learners’ potential for language acquisition based on students’ cultures, linguistics capabilities, and academic resources. Coming from an ESL/EFL learning background herself allows her to connect more to ESL students and relate to the challenges facing both the students and teachers in the field. Her research interests include language acquisition and development, neurolinguistics, and developing effective pedagogies and learning methods.

TESOL Instructor

Dr. Malcolm began working with English Language Learners in Argentina in 1999.  From there she returned to the United States to earn her M.Ed. in Bilingual/ESL/Multicultural Education at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Following graduate school, she taught ESL in New York State public schools and earned an M.S. in Technology in Education from Long Island University.  Leaving the full-time workforce to start a family, she taught part-time in Intensive English Programs and at Queens University, Central Piedmont Community College and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She completed her Doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and currently teaches ESL in Cabarrus County Schools.  Her research interests include identity work in female transnational students pursuing tertiary education in the United States.

Instructor of TESOL

Alicia Reid received her undergraduate degree in Therapeutic Recreation from Belmont Abbey College, a master’s degree in Education and certificate in Curriculum and Supervision from
UNC Charlotte. She is a National Board Certified teacher in English as a New Language and has her administrator’s license. Currently she is ABD in the Urban Education, Curriculum and
Instruction PhD program at UNC Charlotte. She has worked with individuals with disabilities, has been an ESL Teacher (K-12), a SIOP Title I Coach, an Instructional Support Coach and a
Dean of Instruction. Mrs. Reid has developed and facilitated professional development for Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools and is a member of the NC Department of Public Instruction’s
EL Support Team. She coaches and mentors teachers on instructional strategies, data, differentiation, and best practices for teaching English learners. Her research interests include
teacher education, teacher preparation, and Hispanic/Latino Student Success in K-12 and Higher Education.

TESOL Instructor

Dr. Sanczyk received a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction, Urban Literacy-TESL concentration from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English Philology from the University of Bialystok, Poland, and a master’s degree in English Linguistics from the University of Oslo, Norway. She has extensive experience in teaching English at the international level, and she taught adult ESL and was a program coordinator at Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte, N.C. She is passionate about ensuring a culturally responsive, collaborative, stimulating, and empowering language learning environment. Throughout her career in TESOL, her goal has been to make a positive difference in students’ lives as she nurtures and encourages lifelong learning and professional growth. Her research interests include language teacher agency, language teacher identity, culturally responsive pedagogy, critical pedagogy, intercultural communication, and ideologies in multilingual and multicultural contexts. She is a co-author of a textbook, First Steps in English, that was designed to help adult ESL teachers teach literacy skills to refugee students.

TESOL Instructor

Dr. Sims serves as the Director of Federal Programs for Hickory Public Schools where he supervises the oversight and implementation of multiple federal programs including Title I, English as a Second Language and Career and Technical Education. Dr. Sims has contributed to numerous NC initiatives including the K-2 Literacy Assessment Task Force, the Ready Schools Task Force, the Kindergarten Think Tank, the ELL Support Team, as well as the development of the NC English Language Proficiency Standards. Through the years, Dr. Sims has developed and provided professional development to educators from throughout the state covering such subject areas as literacy, English language learners, and school reform. Dr. Sims completed a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He earned his Master of School Administration from Appalachian State University and a Bachelor of Arts from Le Moyne College.

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