Multilingual Learner Advisory Council

MLAC Roles and Responsibilities

Maine Department of Education (DOE) provides leadership to the Multilingual Learner Advisory Council (MLAC) by scheduling meetings, establishing agendas, facilitating discussions, and ensuring the MLAC’s views are communicated to Maine DOE.

MLAC members provide advice to the Maine DOE on its activities and policies related to English learner education. Members commit to attending two annual meetings, on the first Friday of every December and the last Friday in June. In addition, throughout the year there will be opportunities to provide feedback and advice via email and/or phone on specific activities and policies as they arise.


Name Title School
Lysa McLemore Director of Multilingual Programs Lewiston Public Schools
Christina Tideswell Assistant Director of Multilingual Programs Lewiston Public Schools
Heather Garcia Assistant Director of Multilingual Programs Lewiston Public Schools
April Perkins Director of Multilingual Programs South Portland Public Schools
Sheanna Zimmermann ESOL Teacher/Coordinator South Portland Public Schools
Regina Clement Director of Multilingual Programs Westbrook
Jennifer Rawlings ESOL Teacher Saco Public Schools
Rebecca Carey ESOL Teacher/Coordinator RSU 3
Dr. Melissa Cuba Assistant Professor of Special Education University of Maine
Carlos Gómez Director of Elementary Multilingual Programs Portland Public Schools
Don Bishop Director of Secondary Multilingual Programs Portland Public Schools
Melissa Frans Special Education Multilingual Coordinator Portland Public Schools
Christopher Indorf Assistant Superintendent Biddeford and Dayton School Departments
Jessica Inch ESOL Teacher/Coordinator Augusta School Department
Deborah Howard Teacher of the Deaf, ESOL, Curriculum & Instruction MSAD 51 (Cumberland, North Yarmouth)
Elena Smith ESOL Teacher/Coordinator RSU 12, AOS 93, and Wiscasset Schools
Lesley Herschlag

ESOL Teacher/Coordinator & Adjunct Professor, Literacy, Language, and Special Education

Western and Central Maine SAUs; University of New England & University of Maine, Farmington

Cristina Perez Zamora  ESOL Teacher  MSAD 37
Jim Koch ESOL Coordinator Brunswick School Department
Kathy Dorko ESOL Teacher/Coordinator MSAD 54
Cheryl Keeney ESOL Teacher/Coordinator Ellsworth School Department
Dr. Alec Lapidus Associate Professor, Literacy, Language, and Culture University of Southern Maine
June Sellers Director of Student Services and Multilingual Programs RSU 5
Melissa Hodgkins ESOL Teacher/Coordinator Auburn School Department
Dr. Clara Jean Howard Assistant Professor, Secondary and Multilingual Learner Education University of Maine, Farmington
Josephine Bizimana Parent Portland


Selection of MLAC Members

The MLAC includes two membership types: permanent and non-permanent (maximum service of two years). 

Permanent Members

Each Maine school administrative unit (SAU) that currently receives a Title III grant under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act will have representation on the MLAC according to ML enrollment count. SAUs are responsible for selecting the educators who will represent them. No application to the Maine DOE is necessary. It is recommended to select members who can commit to at least two years.

If a district no longer receives a Title III grant, MLAC membership will continue for two years. If during the two-year period the district remains ineligible for Title III, automatic membership will be discontinued, but individual members may apply to continue to participate if they desire.

Number of Students who are Multilingual Learners Number of Permanent MLAC Members
Fewer than 500 1
500-1000 2
1000 or more 3


There will be additional permanent members to represent each of Maine’s superintendent regions with no current Title III districts. These members will be selected by the Maine DOE on the basis of leadership and experience, as expressed in a statement of interest. The following criteria will be used to assist in membership determinations.

Selection Criteria for Regional Permanent Members
Leadership Administrative role
Professional organization membership
Presentations/professional development offered
PLC facilitation
Experience Total years in field
Language learning experience
Level of education in TESOL


Non-Permanent Members

Additional members may represent perspectives from:

  • Institutions of Higher Learning
  • Migrant Education
  • Non-profit community organizations serving immigrants and refugees
  • Family members of students who are multilingual learners
  • Former multilingual learners (graduates)
  • Retired ESOL educators

Potential non-permanent members must be nominated by permanent members and complete an application. If you are interested in becoming a non-permanent member contact your local MLAC member to indicate your wish to be nominated. Permanent MLAC members will vote by majority rule to confirm non-permanent members through an online forum. Confirmation of non-permanent members will be completed by May 1st every other year. New non-permanent members will attend an orientation in June, TBD.