Board Members

TESL Ontario Board Members

Chair:  Jennifer Allore
Vice-Chair:  Alex Harchenko
Treasurer:  Cecilia Aponte de Hanna
Secretary:  Mary Rizzi
Members-at-large:  Jenny Kirk
   Paula Ogg
   Mitra Rabiee
   David Wood

Jennifer Allore 2019-2022

Jennifer AlloreJennifer Allore has been involved in ESL teaching since 2002 in a variety of contexts, from a conversation school in Japan to an English immersion program in a refugee camp on the Thai-Burma border, to a Canadian university EAP classroom. She also has experience in the development, implementation, and management of educational programming. In recent years, her teaching has centred around both credit and non-credit EAP and communication courses in the post-secondary context.

Jennifer has a Master of Education from Ontario Tech University, where she focused on education and digital technologies in the ESL adult learning context. She is currently working with faculty from Ontario Tech’s Faculty of Education to research how past experiences affect English language acquisition and acculturation in learners with refugee experience, and she recently presented the preliminary data at the 2019 Canadian Association for Applied Linguistics (ACLA-CAAL) conference.

Jennifer also co-founded and served as a Board Member for a registered Canadian children’s charity, Room to Grow Children’s Foundation, which operated out of Thailand between 2007 and 2018. She provided strategic planning and fundraising support from Canada. She is excited to work with the TESL Ontario Board and to both extend her support to TESL professionals and the Board, as well as continue to learn from her professional community.

Alexander Harchenko 2019-2022

Alexander Harchenko

Alexander Harchenko possesses a wide range of experience in the field of ESL, LINC, ELT and OSLT in Canada and the USA. Alexander has taught and held leadership roles at colleges and universities across North America. He participated in the development and implementation of a number of innovative IRCC-funded programs in Ontario, such as ELT Your Way - the first online ELT program in Ontario. Alexander has served as a TESL Ontario Board Member from 2016 until 2019.

Alexander has been consistently committed to his TESL PHE Affiliate for eight years, as a Chair of the Board and Membership Services Committee and currently as President. During the last eight years as the Affiliate Executive, Alexander has implemented a number of innovative approaches to assist members of the Affiliate. Alexander’s extensive experience in executive positions with other Boards, along with excellent knowledge of governance in Canada, is a strong contributing factor to his current role.

Alexander is passionate about providing better support for foreign-trained ESL teachers working in Ontario. Alexander is actively engaged in the research of government-funded programs and communicates about benefits and improvements to these programs to his students; he continuously provides guidance to newcomers and students regarding various issues affecting the community.

In addition to his teaching experience, Alexander's involvement goes beyond the ESL sector. As a Certified Settlement Professional, Alexander is actively involved in the issues that affect newcomers and refugees today. He is particularly interested in the issues of minorities.

Alexander Harchenko is an honours graduate in International Relations and Political Science from Cleveland State University in the USA. He has obtained post-graduate certifications in settlement and immigration practice in Canada. Alexander is a winner of the Close Up Foundation Scholarship.

Cecilia Aponte de Hanna 2020-2023

Cecilia Aponte de HannaCecilia Aponte-de-Hanna, M.A, OCELT, OCT is a very active member of TESL Ontario, first as a volunteer for the webinar and blog teams since their inceptions, and second, as past Executive Board member and Communications Officer of TESL Toronto (2014-2017). In addition, Cecilia has extensive experience teaching in both the private and public sector and is a trained language assessor and teacher trainer.

Cecilia has also presented at various conferences, including TESL Ontario (2012), York University Linguistics and Literature Department Graduate Forum (2012), College Association of Language and Literacy (CALL 2012), TOSCON (2014, 2017), TESL Ontario's Best Practices Webinar (2017), and T4T (2014, 2019). She has also published in College Quarterly and written for Seneca and Centennial Colleges' literary magazines. At Centennial College, where Cecilia currently works, she has been involved in the development of hybrid and online English courses for international students and in integrating intercultural pedagogy in the first year English curriculum. In 2019, she represented the college as co-host and co-coordinator for the province wide, 3-day, College Association of Language and Literacy (CALL) annual conference.

Cecilia's keen interest in second language education, cultural integration, and professional development, which grew out of her own experience as a language learner and newcomer to Canada as well as living in four different countries, continue to drive her commitment to the vision of TESL Ontario and the many opportunities for the professional growth of all its members.

Mary Rizzi 2020-2023

Mary RizziMary Rizzi draws from years of experience as an educator in several ESL factions: LINC, ESL, ELT, and most recently in EAP. Her passion for learning shines when teaching students to acquire English, be it in advanced studies, finding a career, or simply integrating into their new life in Canada. Mary’s history as a mentor to student teachers and her qualifications as an accredited teacher trainer inform her teaching style – making it approachable and adaptable. Mary has served on the board of TESL WW (Waterloo-Wellington) for the last three years and has been their Affiliate Chapter Representative for the last two years. Serving on the board has provided Mary numerous opportunities to portray her positivity and bring her team-oriented outlook to all facets of the job by encouraging others and helping instructors in the Waterloo-Wellington area. Her work has provided balance between professional assistance for the teachers, camaraderie and socializing. Growing up in a multicultural neighbourhood in Montreal and speaking several languages combined with her TESL and ESL qualifications makes Mary a unique candidate for this role.

Jenny Kirk 2021-2024

Jenny KirkJenny has been a LINC teacher for the past 12 years in college, a nonprofit, and school board settings. She has also been a PBLA lead instructor since 2017 and was interim program coordinator 2019-2021.

She and the instructors transitioned a 125-student LINC and ELT program to emergency online instruction. She has experience communicating with funders, administrators, peers and learners and has been successful in gaining consensus and support.




Paula Ogg 2019-2022

Paula OggPaula Ogg, Language, Theory, and Methodology Instructor, has been a TESL Ontario member since 2001. She holds a Master of Education Degree in Curriculum, Instruction, Technology; a TESL Certificate; and a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature. For over twenty years, she has taught English language arts and academic skills from pre-college entry prep to post-doctoral fellows and mentored educators from pre-inservice teacher to tenured professor. At her current institution, she has governance experience as Chair of the Academic Policy Committee; Senator on Senate Academic Council; Steward on the Local Executive Council; and a former member on Academic Quality Assurance. In addition, she has a great deal of experience navigating governing bodies and initiatives such MCU, PEQAB, OCQAS, CVS, OUC, HEQCO, IRCC, CLB, PBLA, LINC, CEFR, CELTA, and TESL. Paula believes that leadership is about active listening, building relationships, and strategic visioning. In her experiences, in colleges and universities in Canada and abroad, she has consulted with educators on curriculum, instruction, technology; led workshops and authored resource documentation; conducted design-based research through institutional grants; and facilitated interdisciplinary teams using design thinking, creative problem solving, and process theory techniques. Her career interests include instructional design, curriculum development, distance education, grant writing, health education, travel and tourism, intercultural communication, and language arts.

Mitra Rabiee 2021-2024

Sharon DengI hold a PhD degree in Applied Linguistics (TEFL/TESL) with 28 years of teaching experience at the post-secondary level. I am TESL Canada and TESL Ontario certified English instructor and TESL trainer and mentor. I am currently working as an English Instructor in YUELI at York University and SELS at Seneca College in Toronto, Canada. My key responsibilities are teaching and assessing EAP at various levels & Specialized Programs including University Pathway/Bridging programs at YU and Communications & Interpersonal/Presentation Skills courses in SELS at Seneca.

I was an Assistant Professor in Azad University, Isfahan/Iran and worked for 20 years (1992-2012) by taking a leadership role in teaching and researching in BA and MA English programs. I also acted as the Head of English Department for 2 years and conducted bi-monthly theme-based roundtable discussions led by other experienced colleagues accompanied by guest speaker(s) addressing students’ questions and challenges that gained good feedback from University President and R&D Department. Some of my other achievements are: 10 published articles in accredited ELT Journals, 25 successful presentations in National and International Seminars and Conferences, 2 completed applied Research Projects at University level, and 10 supervised MA theses.

In addition to being a full-time faculty, I was also the Chief Administrative Officer in SADR (Private Institute of Higher Education/2002-2012) executing multiple roles from Program Director and Academic Advisor and TESL TTC (Teacher Training Programs) to expanding Education-training ties with stakeholders in various fields. I think, my solid experience and knowledge makes me a good fit to serve as a TESL Ontario board member. (258 words)

David Wood 2018-2024

David WoodMy career in TESL began in 1981, and after some 37 years in the field my enthusiasm has not waned. I could say I have seen and experienced TESL from all angles, and I am always eager to share my knowledge and experience and to keep learning from others. Over all these years I have taught ESL/EFL/EAP extensively in Canada and abroad, in community programs, specialized programs for settlement, university and college intensive and credit programs, in the private sector, and more. I have been involved in teacher education and development in university and college contexts in Canada and in Japan, and I have been an academic working as a faculty member in applied linguistics and TESL. I have a lot of administrative experience in the field and in TESL Ontario. I have experience coordinating ESL and TESL programs as well as academic units in universities. I have been a member of TESL Ontario’s Conference Organizing Committee and Standards Committee for some years. My professional mission in life is to growing our field and to bettering the lives of teachers and students. I firmly believe that a strong TESL Ontario is key to a strong and vibrant TESL profession.