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The SWEL Team

Michelle Benegas

Michelle Benegas, PhD, TESOL Faculty

Michelle Benegas is an associate professor in the TESOL program at Hamline University in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Her TEDX Talk entitled Confessions: New Teacher of Newcomers tells of her early experiences engaging with newcomers to Minnesota. She was the 2015 President of MinneTESOL (Minnesota Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages). She was the principal investigator of the ELM (English Learners in the Mainstream) Project, a US Department of Education funded initiative that prepared over 400 teacher leaders across the state to coach their general education colleagues to effectively and respectfully meet the needs of language learners. Benegas is the co-author of Teacher Leadership for School-Wide English Learning (TESOL Press) with Amy Stolpestad. Her research interests include ESL teacher leadership, teacher leader identity, and systemic approaches to improving services for multilingual learners.

Amy Stolpestad

Amy Stolpestad, EdD, TESOL Faculty

Amy Stolpestad co-authored Teacher Leadership for School-Wide English Learning with Dr. Michelle Benegas and most recently served as the director of The English Learners in the Mainstream (ELM) Project at Hamline University. She is a Minnesota licensed K-12 ESL teacher and experienced teacher educator who consults with local, regional, and state education agencies. She is also serves as the 2022 MinneTESOL Affiliate president. Stolpestad completed her doctorate degree in Organizational Change and Leadership at the University of Southern California. Her research interests include teacher leadership, peer instructional coaching, teacher identity, and organizational change management.

Gracie Allely, MEd, Associate Director, TESOL Education

Gracie Allely has taught K-12 ESL internationally for over ten years. She completed her master's degree in English language learning at the University of North Dakota (UND) and is currently completing her educational doctorate in educational leadership at UND.  Allely is an experienced teacher educator, program developer, and curriculum designer. She has extensive experience working with grants and co-developed a teacher training program for public school English teachers in Ecuador. Allely coordinated the transition to remote learning for the grant program in 2020. As the TESOL Education Associate Director, Allely manages TESOL’s professional learning offerings, as well as develops new courses.


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