ELL Endorsement Academy

Next cohort starts Fall Quarter 2020 

The online English Language Learners (ELL) Endorsement Academy consists of eight classes that meet in virtual, synchronous sessions twice a week in the evenings, with additional asynchronous work throughout the week. Our classes are developed with teacher's schedules in mind. 

This program helps Washington state teachers regardless of where they live prepare for the required WEST-E exam, offering a rigorous and affordable pathway to earning an ELL endorsement. Teachers can apply their learning in the classroom immediately and adjust their techniques as the academy progresses.

Brought to you by the College of Education's office of Professional & Continuing Education, courses are taught by expert practitioners including certified current and former classroom teachers from a variety of Washington school districts. Seattle University faculty oversee the courses to ensure that the materials and teaching are current and relevant.

Review the upcoming cohort calendar,ELL Endorsement Academy Calendar 2019-2020, for class dates and times.

For More Information:


Endorsement Academy Instructors

Jeom Ja Yeo, Ph.D.

Dr. Jeom Ja Yeo earned her Ph.D. in Language, Literacy, and Culture at the University of Washington. Her research interests are immigration, race and ethnicity, ELL, Second Language Acquisition (SLA), multicultural education, and World Englishes. She teaches courses in Teacher Education Program focusing on K-12 ELL education and Second Language Teaching and Learning. Dr. Yeo has extensive international teaching experience.


Leslie Schicht

Leslie Schicht, MiT, University of Washington, is a National Board Certified Teacher who has been teaching and working in public education since 2005. She has taught ELL students in support classes and worked with secondary ELL students in Language Arts and Social Studies. She has worked as the only ELL teacher in a small school district teaching grades K – 12, served as ELL Facilitator and instructional coach in a high school, and managed all ELL services as a district ELL Coordinator. Additionally she works around the country as an Education Consultant. She brings her expertise in culturally relevant and responsive practices to all of her work and credits her ELL students with constantly helping her to be a better educator.


LaWonda Smith, Ed.D.

Dr. LaWonda Smith holds a Leadership for Learning doctorate from the University of Washington, a Master of Leadership degree from UW Tacoma, and Master of Teaching and Liberal Arts degrees from Oregon State University. Dr. Smith’s career spans that of elementary teaching, building administrator in the Road Map region, Title I and LAP Program Supervisor at the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, Program Manager of the English Language Arts Program at PSESD and Executive Director of Race to the Top. Dr. Smith has spent her career providing opportunities to empower students, families, instructors and community members in ways that promote lifelong learning.


Thad Williams, M.Ed.

Thad Williams currently serves as an ELL Instructional and Professional Development Coach in the Bellevue School District. He is presently completing a Ph.D in Language, Literacy and Culture with an expected completion in spring, 2018. Mr. Williams is a National Board Certified Teacher and has served emergent bilinguals and their families as a classroom teacher and ELL instructional coach for more than a decade in the Jackson-Madison School District (Tennessee), Kent School District and Bellevue School District (Washington). He has designed and facilitated dual language and Sheltered Instruction (SIOP) professional development focusing on areas including dual language fundamentals, teacher development, instructional coaching, literacy, sheltering instruction, language program models, cultural competency, and racial equity. He has several years of experience as an instructor in teacher education courses focusing on teaching ELLs. Mr. Williams also serves as a national professional development facilitator for the Center for Applied Linguistics. 


Charlene Vermilion, M.Ed

Charlene Vermilion is a district leader in the area of coaching teachers, coaches, and improving instruction. With over a decade of experience in the field, she is currently the PK-6 ELA Program Specialist serving 28 elementary schools in the highly diverse Kent School District where over 130 languages are spoken. Charlene provides district-wide professional development and creates curriculum documents for ELA instruction to support ELL students in classrooms. As a BEST Mentor, she coaches and supports new teachers both to promote best-practices instruction and retain quality teachers in the field. She is a National Board Certified Teacher and Facilitator for new National Board Candidate cohorts and is currently serving as an OSPI ELA Fellow.