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Stella Villalba

Elementary EL Lead Teacher at Dublin City Schools


Teaching from Strength: Creating Learning Spaces that Honor The Brilliance of Multilingual Learners

Multilingual learners come to our learning spaces bringing with them their world knowledge, their full linguistic repertoires, a deep sense of cultural traditions which honors not only their identities but also their roles in relation to communities. As our multilingual learner population continues to grow in educational settings around the USA, it provides a beautiful opportunity to ask ourselves some critical questions such as: Do we know all that multilingual learners bring into learning settings? How are we, teaching staff and administrators, honoring their full linguistic gifts? What do we need to rethink in education in order to better meet the academic needs of multilingual learners?  In this keynote, explore these questions grounded in an asset-based pedagogy, one that honors and acknowledges the humanity of multilingual learners.

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About Me

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Instructional Excellence

Are you ready to (re)ignite your passion for teaching and take your instructional prowess to the next level?  Educators are the driving force behind shaping young minds and transforming lives. This masterclass is designed exclusively for you, honoring your dedication and recognizing your vital role.
Get ready to be inspired, challenged, and empowered as fellow subject matter experts guide you through an immersive experience to unlock the tools, techniques, and inspiration to make a lasting impact in the classroom. As iron sharpens Iron, so does on person sharpen another. Together, we will explore innovative strategies, research-backed methodologies, and game-changing insights that will elevate your teaching to new heights.

Each concise keynote in this masterclass has been distilled to be motivational and actionable - no time for fluff - and are available on-demand because we know your schedule is impacted and variable.  You are also invited to a live, VIP Q&A session with each speaker. 

13 powerful keynotes.  13 actionable Playbooks.  Live Q&A sessions. 
This is the professional development you, and your students, deserve. 

Getting to Know Stella



What sparked your interest in your keynote topic?

It is my hope that with this keynote, people walk away with the understanding that multilingual learners bring so much community cultural wealth into our classrooms. They bring languages, experiences, knowledge and ways of being that amplify the lens to which we see

the world. As Paulo Freire writes, “Liberating education consists in acts of cognition, not transferals of information.“ This quote makes me wonder if we are tapping on the strengths that multilingual learners bring or are we teaching from a deficit lens? Do we truly believe in a global education where we nurture

a multilingual, multicultural education? This kind of work asks us to be open, vulnerable, and welcoming. It also asks

us to rethink ideas and let go of educational beliefs that are harmful for multilingual learners. Every child matters. Every language should be nurtured. Every possible way of learning and being.


What was your first teaching experience? What did you learn from it?

My first teaching experience was full of wisdom and understanding that came from the students in my classroom. I‘ve learned

that no one can pre-design lesson plans for me. I am the only one who shares learning spaces and day- to-day experiences with my students. Every child has a story and every child is different. So I‘ve learned to plan a roadmap of our learning but the daily learning experiences are something that we co-create together. The only way for me to know where we are headed next is by tapping into what they already know, elevating the gifts they already bring, and co- design from there, with them by my side.


What missteps would you caution others to avoid as they strive for Instructional Excellence?

As we continue to strive for educational excellence, I think of the book Think Again by Adam Grant. His book challenged me to stay open with possibilities, to acknowledge what I know but staying open to questioning ideas. Adam Grant says, “Good teachers introduce new thoughts, but great teachers introduce new ways of thinking.“ In order for me to bring this level of thinking into all the spaces I co-share and co-create, I need to also introduce new ways of thinking in teaching and learning. Understanding that growth is a never ending cycle and that there‘s beauty in the unknown.

Audience and Lecturer


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“The classroom, with all its limitations, remains a location of possibility. In that field of possibility we have the opportunity to labor for freedom, to demand of ourselves and our comrades, an openness of mind and heart that allows us to face reality even as we collectively imagine ways to move beyond boundaries, to transgress. This is education as the practice of freedom.“

bell hooks (Teaching to Transgress 2014)

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