Meet RBERN Staff

Lourdes Roa, Coordinator

Lourdes Roa Lourdes Roa is currently serving as the Mid-West RBERN (Regional Bilingual Education Resource Network) Coordinator at Monroe 2 -Orleans BOCES.  Lourdes has been working in Bilingual Education since 1982. She began her career teaching in Houston, Texas, then moved to Bridgeport, Connecticut, and later moved into Bilingual Special Education in 1991 for the Rochester City School District.  In 2006, Lourdes became an administrator in the Rochester City School District, and in 2009, moved to building administration at Eugenio Maria de Hostos Charter School until 2015, when she entered leadership of Mid-West RBERN.  Lourdes has served as adjunct professor at Nazareth College, Buffalo State College, and at SUNY Brockport in both TESOL and Bilingual Education graduate programs since 1996. Lourdes was born in Cuba, whose family immigrated as refugees in the early 1960s. Lourdes sees her role as advocate and educator to be an integration of both her personal and professional responsibilities.  Lourdes’s commitment to her community is inspired by a quote from Shirley Chisholm, “You don’t make progress by standing on the sidelines, whimpering and complaining. You make progress by implementing ideas.” 

Anna Stukes, Professional Development Specialist

Anna Stukes
Anna Stukes has ten years of experience as an ENL and Spanish educator serving in roles ranging from ENL teacher, mentor, Instructional Coach, and now Professional Development Specialist and Local PRHYLI Coordinator for Mid-West RBE-RN. She has done extensive work with educators and families of English language learners in providing and supporting them with the resources needed in language and literacy development.   She strives to continue to aid families and educators with the resources and knowledge needed in developing language and literacy skills to ensure access to a quality and equitable education.  Along with providing youth with a platform to develop transferrable and sophisticated language skills and leadership experiences through PRHYLI. Anna holds a Master degree in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages and Spanish; Bachelor’s degrees in Communications Studies, Spanish Language and Literature, and International Studies.

Nikki Bell, Professional Development Specialist

Nicole Bell
Nicole Bell is a specialist and latest addition to the Mid-West RBERN staff. She was a music teacher for 4 years before she decided to get her masters in TESOL at Nazareth College. Following grad school, Nicole was an ENL teacher for several years as a WFL BOCES Itinerant teacher and several years in the Sodus Central School District. She served as the coordinating teacher for the WFL ENL teacher consortium and was very committed to family engagement practices with ELLs and their families. Additionally, her interest areas include culturally responsive teaching, bilingual techniques in the classroom, the Latinx student experience, and migrant education. 

Jennifer Raponi, Professional Development Specialist

Jennifer Raponi Jennifer Raponi is a Resource Specialist and the senior member of the Mid-West RBERN team. She was a preschool speech therapist before deciding to get her Masters in TESOL at the University of Rochester. Jennifer worked as a K-12 ESOL Teacher in Geneseo and started the original GV ESOL Teacher Cohort to support ELL education in rural districts. She is passionate about the equitable education of English Language Learners. Jennifer’s particular areas of interest and expertise are Students with Interrupted Formal Education, Literacy Development for English Language Learners, and collaborating with Districts to create effective and responsive programming for ELLs.   

Shawnna Sweet, Professional Development Specialist

Shawnna Sweet
Shawnna Sweet is a first generation American and a native Rochesterian, with a passion for improving the lives of ELLs, their families and the community through education. She spent the majority of her teaching career as an ESOL teacher in the Greece Central School District, where she worked on teams to develop and implement various initiatives, including a Newcomer Program, ESOL Summer Enrichment Program, and Family Literacy Program. Additionally, Shawnna is an instructor at Nazareth College, teaching a variety of courses to graduate students in the TESOL and TESOL for International Educators programs. She holds a BA in English and Secondary Education from St. John Fisher College, an MS Ed in TESOL from Nazareth College, and  is currently enrolled in the Educational Leadership Program at the University of Rochester and serves as an executive board member for NYS TESOL.  Shawnna's areas of expertise include the NYS Seal of Biliteracy, graduation requirements and teaching initiatives. 

Patricia Nesbitt, Department Support

Tricia Nesbitt provides administrative assistance, supports financial and technology areas in the office, and guides the day-to-day office operations.