Committee Members of Familias en Amherst para Inmersiόn Recíproca(FAIR)

Lissa Pierce Bonifaz – North Amherst resident since 2007; M.Ed. and Ph.D. in Bilingual Education; taught in the inner city of DC for ten years Spanish, English as a Second Language (ESL) and General Education Diploma(GED) classes; worked at the Bilingual Office of DC Public Schools; received an Inter-American Foundation Fellowship to study in Ecuador, 1991-92; lived in Guatemala for a total of four years and taught ESL at an elite private school, worked with a human rights educational project in rural areas and created her own Spanish school for American students; Professor of Language and Literacy at Lesley University, Cambridge working with pre-service teachers and faculty on creating higher sensitivities to the needs of second language learners.  Spearheaded the Language Lounge with the help of a local business, “the Toybox”: a community language program at the preschool level, and “el Club de Superheroes de Español”, an afterschool club at Crocker Farm. She and her husband, John C. Bonifaz, are bilingually raising their preschool daughter.  Marisol, their daughter, goes to the pre-school, The Renaissance School in North Amherst.

Laurie Davidson – Montague resident since 2001; BA in Spanish, M. Ed. in Bilingual Education; taught Transitional Bilingual Education(TBE) in Chelsea, MA and worked collectively with the teaching staff to transform of their TBE program to a two-way program, “Caminos”; mentor teacher for new two-way immersion teachers; spearheaded “Mucho Gusto Spanish” classes, an interactive program teaching Spanish to children and their parents throughout the valley; with musician husband, Tom Carroll, performs children’s music in area libraries and schools. Tom and Laurie home school their three children are bilingually are raising them bilingually.

Frank Gatti – Amherst resident; Assistant professor of psychiatry, in the child division, at the University of Massachusetts Medical School (Worcester); worked with immigrant Chinese families and their children when program was housed in a Boston public school and there was ready access to the children and their teachers as the children adapted to both the English language and the American culture; worked with Deaf patients since 1985, both adults and children with a range of linguistic styles from early learned ASL (American Sign Language) to deaf people who use oral or only gestural language; worked with children with neurological language disorders, both expressive and receptive, mentally retarded and children of normal intelligence; was part of the Amherst community dual language committee when in 2004/2005 there were attempts to bring dual language Chinese/English and Spanish/English programs to the Amherst elementary schools.

Heyda Martinez – North Amherst resident for twenty years; born in Puerto Rico, Ed.D. in Social Justice in Education at UMASS, Amherst; M.S in Clinical Psychology and BA in Social Sciences in Puerto Rico; worked eight years at Wildwood Elementary as a School Psychologist, taught and supervised Master Students’ Thesis, School of Education, Puerto Rico; Professor of Social Sciences at Holyoke Community College for four years; worked for four years with the Social Justice Training Project, UMASS Amherst,  co-designing and facilitating anti-oppression workshops for undergraduate students on issues of racism, sexism, homophobia, religious oppression, and classism. Currently, an Educational Assessment Specialist, at Holyoke Community Charter School.

Craig McDonnell –Easthampton resident and Spanish teacher at Four Rivers Charter Public School in Greenfield; BA in Spanish and Biology, MA in Hispanic Literature (from UMass Amherst in 2001); residence in Spain and the Dominican Republic; ESL for migrant workers, family literacy (Educacio’n Para Todos), ESL instructor at World Sports Camp; worked at Williston Northampton School; leads students on language immersion trips to Central America; with non-profit Tools for Development;  Married, father of two bilingual-learning children, preschool and toddler.

Barbara Zurer Pearson – author of Raising a Bilingual Child, 2008 published by Random House; resident of Amherst since 1998; research associate in linguistics and communication disorders at UMass Amherst. MS in TESOL, Ph.D. in Applied Linguistics with a specialization in bilingual acquisition; study abroad in France, Fulbright fellowship in Italy; formerly at University of Miami with joint appointment in English and Psychology departments; coordinator of UM Bilingualism Study Group, federally funded research projects at Mailman Center and Dade County Public Schools (Coral Way Elementary and Marjorie Stoneman Douglas Elementary).  Married, 2 (bilingual) children, 6 grandchildren.

Zulma Rivera – North Amherst resident for three years; born and educated in Colombia; trained to teach in Colombia; mother of two bilingual daughters, one at Marks Meadow and the other in the Middle School. Spearheaded the Language Lounge with the help of a local business, “the Toybox”: a community language program at the preschool level, and “el Club de Superheroes de Español”, an afterschool club at Crocker Farm; currently a community organizer in Greenfield for Community Action.

Manuel Frau-Ramos – resident of Amherst for 21 years, Education, former adjunct faculty in the School of Education at UMass Amherst; editor and publisher of El Sol Latino (bilingual monthly newspaper for the Pioneer Valley);  former advisor of Holyoke Bilingual PAC. Married with two daugthers who graduated from ARHS.