Heidi Goertzen
Program Associate

Photo of Heidi  GoertzenHeidi Goertzen is a Program Associate with SEDL's Education Systems Support (ESS) program.

Mrs. Goertzen’s current work involves the planning and delivery of technical assistance and professional development in Alabama as well as assisting in providing these same services to other states served by the Southeast Comprehensive Center (SECC). Mrs. Goertzen specializes in the development of evidence-based tools and support systems needed for school improvement practices associated with serving English Learners (ELs). Mrs. Goertzen also supports districts and states with the implementation of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).

Contact Information
You may contact Heidi Goertzen at 334-826-4003

or by using SEDL's contact form.

Areas of Expertise

Mrs. Goertzen’s interests include English Learners, leadership, school improvement, and policy. Her current doctoral studies focus on evaluation and accountability of educators of English Learners.

  • English Learners: Mrs. Goertzen has led numerous professional development trainings for both administrators and teachers nationally. She collaborates with educators to provide English Learners with access to the core curriculum and school community using evidence-based strategies and sound theory in second language acquisition. Mrs. Goertzen has nine years of experience as an English as a Second Language (ESOL/ESL) teacher in grades K-8 in Texas, Indiana, and Alabama.
  • Leadership: Mrs. Goertzen led the first EL comprehensive needs assessment (CNA) for the Alabama State Department of Education (SDE). She coordinated stakeholder participation and input, the collection, analysis, and reporting of statewide data, and prioritizing the needs of English Learners in Alabama. Subsequently, Mrs. Goertzen developed and implemented the EL Professional Development Academy, a statewide initiative that served over 60 schools and 20 districts over a three-year period. Mrs. Goertzen has also served as a district level administrator for federal programs, Title III, and student assessment and accountability. In addition to her experience with English Learners, Mrs. Goertzen served as a regional federal programs specialist in her position at the SDE.
  • School Improvement: During her tenure at the Alabama State Department of Education, Mrs. Goertzen led the implementation of the Title III Annual Measureable Achievement Objectives (AMAOs) requirements. As such, Mrs. Goertzen coordinated the EL School Improvement Coaches project. This statewide system of support team trains schools and districts on the use of data to guide instructional and programmatic improvements, and it provides training and support on EL instruction and assessment strategies to districts implementing and monitoring progress of their AMAO Continuous Improvement Plans.


Prior to joining SEDL in June 2013, Mrs. Goertzen served as director of federal programs, student assessment and accountability, and Title III for a school district in Alabama. There she supported Title I principals with budgeting, compliance, and continuous improvement, and provided leadership and expertise in Title III. Mrs. Goertzen also supported the school system with administration of the statewide testing and accountability program. Before serving at the district level, Mrs. Goertzen was a federal programs and EL specialist at the Alabama State Department of Education. Prior to living in Alabama, Mrs. Goertzen was a special projects coordinator at Indiana University’s School of Education where she developed online resources and tools for classroom teachers of English Learners. Mrs. Goertzen’s teaching experience and role in providing technical assistance and professional development to schools and districts has led to her interest in leadership and policy.


Mrs. Goertzen holds a BA in English from the University of Texas at Austin and a MSEd in Language Education with a specialization in ESL from Indiana University. Mrs. Goertzen has also earned an MA and EdS in education leadership from Auburn University where she is currently working on her PhD in education leadership. Mrs. Goertzen is certified in Pre-K–12 ESL and educational administration.

SEDL Publications

Selected External Publications

  • Goertzen, H. (2007). Providing English language learners with access to standards: A model of collaboration for ESL and content area teachers. In Pawan, F. &, Sietman, G.B. (Eds.). Helping English language learners succeed in middle and high schools (pp. 59–83). Alexandria, VA: TESOL.

Selected Presentations/Workshops

  • Hunt, C., Hatley, M., Cherry, T., &  Goertzen, H.. (November, 2010). Services for ELL students. Session presented at the Alabama State Department of Education’s Federal Programs Conference in Tuscaloosa, AL.
  • Goertzen, H. (June, 2007). The WIDA Standards. Session presented at University of Alabama at Birmingham summer graduate course. Birmingham, AL.
  • Rosenthal, R. & Goertzen, H. (January, 2006). English Language Learner—Professional Development Academy (ELL-PDA) for administrators. A series of training sessions for administrators and board attorneys presented in Birmingham, AL.
  • Goertzen, H. (January, 2006). Comprehensive Needs Assessment for ELs in Alabama. Session presented at Alabama–Mississippi TESOL (AMTESOL) conference in Jackson, MS.