The U.S. Department of State announced the selection of Maine educator Karina Escajeda of Maine for a five-month English Language Specialist project focusing on K4/K5 curriculum design and materials development for a new English immersion initiative in Curacao. She is hosted by a partnership between the Regional English Language Office in Panama, the US Embassy in Curaçao, and the Curaçao Chamber of Commerce. This project will involve researching and drafting curriculum by incorporating local knowledge and curriculum understanding from other countries and best practices given the goals of Curaçao. Escajeda is part of a select group, as her project is one of 150 that the English Language Specialist Program supports each year.
Escajeda is a K-12 ESOL educational consultant with over 20 years of experience teaching, training, presenting, administrating, designing curriculum, and writing reports for K-12 public and private schools in domestic and international environments. She earned a BA in formal linguistics and Spanish at the University of Southern Maine, TESOL at UCLA, K-12 teacher certification at CSU East Bay, and an MA and administrative credential in K-12 Educational Administration and Leadership at CSU Bakersfield. She also holds certifications in K-12 ESOL, K-12 Literacy, and K-12 Spanish. She received a Fulbright Distinguished Award in Teaching fellowship to Greece in 2019-2020 to study community-based refugee integration initiatives. She is the program director for Capital Area New Mainers Project, a non-profit in central Maine that supports immigrants and provides educational resources to the broader community.
The English Language Specialist Program is the premier opportunity for leaders in the field of teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL) to enact meaningful and sustainable changes in the way that English is taught abroad. Through projects developed by U.S. Embassies in more than 80 countries, English Language Specialists work directly with local teacher trainers, educational leaders, and ministry of education officials to exchange knowledge, build capacity, and establish partnerships benefiting participants, institutions, and communities in the United States and overseas.
Since 1991, the English Language Specialist Program has supported in-country, virtual, and mixed projects in which hundreds of TESOL scholars and educators promote English language learning, enhance English teaching capacity, and foster mutual understanding between the U.S. and other countries through cultural exchange. During their projects, English Language Specialists may conduct intensive teacher training, advise ministries of education or participate in high-level educational consultations, and offer plenary presentations at regional, national or international TESOL conferences. These projects are challenging and those selected represent the best of the U.S. TESOL community. In return, the program provides professional development opportunities to help participants experience different cultures and build skills that can greatly enhance their TESOL careers at home.
English Language Specialists are counted among the more than 50,000 individuals participating in U.S. Department of State exchange programs each year. The Specialist Program is administered by the Center for Intercultural Education and Development at Georgetown University.
For further information about the English Language Specialist Program or the U.S. Department of State, please visit elprograms.org/specialist, contact us by telephone at 202-632-6452, or e-mail ECA-Press@state.gov.