LEES Program is funded by a National Professional Development grant from the U.S. Department of Education—Office of English Language Acquisition.

Building on the partnerships developed from our previous NPD grant, PATSEL (Preparing All Teachers to Better Serve English Language Learners) Program, LEES expands the teacher preparation and professional development opportunities.

LEES Program supports pre-service and in-service teacher preparation in Bilingual/Bicultural Education as well as professional development for early childhood teachers and paraprofessionals.



Gladys Vega, Ph.D.

Principal Investigator

Dr. Vega is an associate professor in the Department of Language, Literature, Culture and Writing at WPU where she directs the Bilingual/ESL Graduate Program. She oversees the design, implementation, and evaluation of the program in close collaboration with the Co-PIs, early childhood specialist, and evaluation team. She coordinates efforts between the university and district partners, leads the in-service teacher component of the project, collaborates with the early childhood specialist in the development of PD materials in Spanish, and facilitates team meetings.


Carrie E. Hong, Ph.D.


Dr. Hong is a professor of literacy in the College of Education. Her academic and research specialty is in literacy and second language acquisition. She leads the implementation of the project research study, assists the PI in evaluation of the program, and leads the recruitment and selection of undergraduate participants.


María P. Tajes, Ph.D.


Dr. Tajes is a professor of Spanish and current Spanish Program Director. Her research deals with the fields of Spanish Language, Spanish Migration, and Aging studies. She leads the Spanish language component of the grant, including assessment of Spanish language proficiency, training and supervision of Spanish language coaches, and coordination of Spanish tutoring services.


Kathryn Grogan, Ph. D.


Dr. Grogan is a Senior Research Associate at WestEd. She coordinates LEES research and evaluation activities. Dr. Grogan leads the design and administration of evaluation instruments, oversees quantitative and qualitative data analysis, and prepares evaluation reports.


Karen Nemeth, Ed.M.

Early Childhood Specialist

Karen Nemeth is an early childhood expert who has consulted with national organizations, schools, and government agencies for over two decades. She has developed the Language CASTLE Approach© for young dual language learners. She leads the professional development component of the grant. She designs and delivers the in-service workshops for preschool teachers and paraprofessionals as well as develops the materials for the professional learning communities.


Joselynne Tanis, MPA

Program Coordinator

Joselynne Tanis is an administrator with experience in higher education finance and project management. She manages daily activities, expenditures, hiring process of project employees, language testing/tutoring processes, assists with student recruitment and coordinates professional development activities.


Sofia Lauret

Spanish Language Coach


Grace Moreyra

Spanish Language Coach


John Orozco

Spanish Language Coach