IMG_1167Since its formation in 1999, WestEd’s Quality Teaching for English Learners team of professional developers, teacher leaders, researchers, and materials developers has been recognized for its expertise in helping educators increase their capacity to teach rigorous academic content to English language learners. Under the directorship of Aída Walqui, the team has tapped into its members’ extensive experience in the education of English language learners to produce the modules and the processes that lie at the core of QTEL’s work. Members of the QTEL team draw on backgrounds as K-12 teachers, teacher leaders, school and district administrators, university teachers, professional developers, and curriculum specialists.

The QTEL Team

Elsa Billings, Senior Program Associate I
Pía Castilleja, Literacy and Language Education Specialist
Nicholas Catechis, Senior Program Associate
Echo Chen, Administrative Assistant
Haiwen Chu, Program Associate in Mathematics
Leslie Hamburger, Co-Director, Quality Teaching for English Learners
Lee HartmanEducation Program Associate
Nanette Koelsch, Senior Research Associate
Patricia López-Hurtado, Program Assistant
Peggy Mueller, Senior Policy Associate
Mary Schmida, Senior Research Associate
Aída Walqui, Director, Teacher Professional Development Program


Aída Walqui

Director, Teacher Professional Development Program


Aída Walqui directs WestEd’s Teacher Professional Development Program as well as the Quality Teaching for English Learners (QTEL) project. As Director of the Teacher Professional Development Program, she is responsible for collaborating with ongoing WestEd teacher professional development efforts and leading the agency’s commitment to supporting teachers throughout their careers, from preservice through lifelong learning and teacher leadership.

As Director of QTEL, Walqui brings a wealth of experience and expertise to the QTEL initiative, thus ensuring the fulfillment of its mission — to provide high-quality instruction to all English language learners.  She leads the development and implementation of QTEL professional development, as well as articulates the principles that provide the foundation for QTEL curricula. Walqui collaborates with school and district leaders across the country to tailor QTEL implementation that is responsive to local needs. She is often found observing and coaching in the classrooms of teachers learning the QTEL approach.

Aída Walqui has had a long and successful career in the development of teacher expertise to work with second language learners in deep, rigorous, and accelerated ways in both their family and second languages. Aída, a Ph.D. graduate from Stanford University, taught Language Arts, ESL, and Social Studies in Spanish and English at Alisal High School in Salinas, California for six years. There she started Spanish for Spanish Speakers courses –today’s Heritage courses-, and the simultaneous teaching of subject matter content in English and English language with high challenge, high support pedagogies. Dr. Walqui developed appropriate materials, ambitious pedagogical practices, and championed their use across the state. She has also taught at the university level in her home country, Perú, in México, England and at Stanford University and the University of California Santa Cruz in the United States.

A member of several national and international teacher professional development advisory boards, Aída is one of the founding members of the Stanford University Understanding Language initiative, and co-wrote two of the seminal white papers that lay out a vision for the education of English Language Learners in an era of Common Core Standards. She has published extensively on indigenous education in Latin America and the education of English Learners in the United States. Two of her main books are Scaffolding the Academic Success of Adolescent English Language Learners: A Pedagogy of Promise co-authored with Leo van Lier, and English Language Learners and the new standards. Developing language, content knowledge, and analytical practices in the classroom, co-authored with Margaret Heritage and Robert Linquanti and published by Harvard Education Press in 2015.

Learn more about Our Team.

Read about QTEL in the News.