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The ACTFL Florence Steiner Award for Leadership in Foreign Language Education, K-12

The Florence Steiner Award honors the memory of a teacher, department chair, professional speaker, and ACTFL President-Elect who was widely known and appreciated for her professional knowledge, her ability to communicate with teachers, and her wit. Working from her position as Foreign Language Department Chair in the Glenbrook, Illinois, Public Schools, she inspired a generation of foreign language teachers and challenged them to improve their teaching through better communication of the goals and outcomes of second language education with the public, administrators, colleagues, and students.

The Florence Steiner Award for Leadership in Foreign Language Education was originally supported by the generosity of the Illinois Foreign Language Teachers Association (IFLTA). Each recipient will receive a $500 cash award provided by ACTFL.

2014 Winner, Ken Stewart, on local (NC) radio station receiving his award:

  1. The recipient must be a current ACTFL member.
  2. The recipients must have a minimum of five years teaching experience with at least half of each year's assignment in the area of foreign language education.
  3. The recipients must submit evidence of excellence in teaching, such as program descriptions and supporting letters from students, colleagues, school or institutional officers; and/or
  4. The recipients must submit evidence of service to the school, community, and state, as well as to state, regional, and national professional organizations.
  5. In the case of administrators or supervisors, the recipient must submit evidence of instructional leadership.

Procedures for the Nominating Organization

  1. Nominations may be made only by organizational members of ACTFL.
  2. Include the following items on the online submission form:
    1. Nominator and nominee information.
    2. Curriculum vitae of the candidate (length must not exceed 10 pages).
    3. Current letters of support clearly explaining the rationale for the choice of this individual.
    4. Other documentation, e.g., copies of newspaper articles or other materials, if appropriate for the award.
  3. Evidence of the nominee's leadership should consist of a record of active participation in the activities of various foreign language organizations. This would include not only membership and holding office but also work on committees, significant publications, conference presentations, and other organizational activities.
  4. On the nomination form include a record of special honors and awards received and a brief description of innovative curricular programs that the nominee has inaugurated. Document also recognition of the nominee's professional contributions and leadership by those with whom the nominee has regular contact. This recognition should be expressed in supporting letters from supervisors, colleagues, students, or others who benefit from the nominee's services; a current supporting letter from the nominating organization; and in the case of a nominee who is in a supervisory position, supporting letters from those who work under the nominee's supervision. Supporting letters should indicate the nominee's excellence as a teacher and/or professional leader in foreign language education.
  5. No member of the ACTFL Board of Directors or Officer may write a letter of support for any award nominee or actively shepherd the nomination of an award candidate.  If an application is resubmitted that contains a support letter written prior to the establishment of these guidelines, that letter will be removed from the packet by the Committee Chair.
  6. No member of the ACTFL Board of Directors, Officer, or contracted employee is eligible for nomination for any award while holding these positions.
  7. Letters of recommendation are to be sent to the person submitting the nomination so that they may be included in the complete nomination submission package.


  • Nominations submitted online on or before: May 29.
  • Copies of all documentation pertaining to the winner(s) sent to the ACTFL Executive Director: September 1.
  • Copies of all documentation pertaining to finalist(s) returned to individual(s) who submitted them: September 1.
  • Winners and finalists notified by September 12.
  • Steiner Awards Chairpersons submit a 200-word statement on why the recipient was chosen: September 30.
  • Winner submits 150-word acceptance remarks to be printed in Awards Ceremony Brochure: September 30.

For Selection Committee Members: Please visit the ACTFL Online Community for specific information.

Nominations will be judged on:

  • Impact of the individual's leadership and contributions to the profession at the regional and national levels.
  • Impact of the individual's leadership and contributions to the profession at the state and local levels.
  • Individual's service to the profession at the regional and national levels (e.g., committees, projects, policy making, editing journals).
  • Individual's service to the profession at the state and local levels (e.g., committees, projects, newsletters).
  • Individual's participation in professional organizations and associations.
  • Individual's leadership and contributions to the profession recognized through special honors and awards received.
  • Quality and impact of innovative curricular/instructional projects developed by the candidate.
  • Quality and number of workshops and presentations given at local, state, regional, national, and/or international level.
  • Quality and impact of published materials (articles, books, monographs, reviews).
  • Support shown in letters of recommendation.

Submit Online

Previous Recipients

2019: Keith Cothrun, American Association of Teachers of German (AATG); 2018: Toni Theisen, Thompson School District, CO; 2017: Janine Erickson, Denver Language School (Retired); 2016: Greta Lundgaard, Plano Independent School District; 2015: Rita Oleksak, Glastonbury Public Schools; 2014: Ken Stewart, Chapel Hill, NC; 2013: Laura Terrill, Indianapolis, IN; 2012: Jacqueline Van Houten, Kentucky Department of Education; 2011: David Jahner, Decatur, GA; 2010: Yu-Lan Lin, Boston Public Schools, Lynne Tatlock, Washington University, St. Louis; 2009: Margot Steinhart, Northwestern University, Sheri Spaine Long, University of Alabama-Birmingham; 2008: Paul Sandrock, Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, Jana Sandarg, Augusta State University; 2007: Helene Zimmer-Loew, American Association of Teachers of German, Cherry Hill, NJ,   Hiroko Kataoka, California State University-Long Beach, CA;  2006: Virginia Gramer, Hinsdale School District, Hinsdale, IL,  Aleidine Moeller, University of Nebraska, Lincoln; 2005: Jo Sanders, Anchorage, AK; Sally Sieloff Magnan, University of Wisconsin, Madison; 2004: Peggy Boyles, Putnam City Schools, Oklahoma City, OK; Robert Terry, University of Richmond, Richmond, VA; 2003: Martha Singer Semmer, National Network for Early Language Learning, Breckenridge, CO; Frank W. Medley, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV;2002: Ann Tollefson, Language Associates International, Casper, WY; Emily Spinelli, University of Michigan-Dearborn, Dearborn, MI;  2001: Marie Trayer, In-Vision, Omaha, NE; Carine  M. Feyten, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida;  2000: Donna L. Clementi, Appleton West High School, WI;  Rebecca M. Valette, Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA; Judith Liskin-Gasparro, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA;  1999: Joanna Breedlove Crane, Alabama State Department of Education, Montgomery, AL; 1998: Martha G. Abbott, Fairfax County Schools, Falls Church, VA; 1997: Kathleen M. Riordan, Springfield Public Schools, Springfield, MA; Joann  P. Thrush, Madison Area Technical College, Madison, WI; 1996: O. Lynn bolton, Nathan Hale High School, West Allis, WI; Marcia Harmon Rosenbusch, Iowa State University, Ames, IA; 1995: Elizabeth Hoffman, Nebraska Department of Education, Lincoln, NE; Ray Verzasconi, Oregon State University, Corvallis; 1994: Gladys C. Lipton, University of Maryland, Baltimore, MD; Diane Birckbichler, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH;  1993: Helena Curtain, Milwaukee Public Schools, Milwaukee, WI; Renate Schulz, University of Arizona, Tucson; 1992: Carolyn L. Andrade, Cincinnati Public Schools, Cincinnati, OH; William E. De Lorenzo, Univer­sity of Maryland, College Park, MD; 1991: Christine L. Brown, Glastonbury Public Schools, Glastonbury, CT; Robert Di Donato, Miami University, Oxford, OH; 1990: Dorothea Bruschke, Parkway School District, Chesterfield, MO; Irene Thompson, The George Washington University, Washington, D.C.; 1989: Dora R. Kennedy, Prince George's County Public Schools, Upper Marlboro, MD; Kenneth D. Chastain, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA; 1988: Frank M. Grittner, Wisconsin Department of Education, Madison, WI; Carol Ann Pesola, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN; 1987: Kenneth A. Lester, Connecticut State Department of Educa­tion, Hartford, CT; Phillip J. Campana, Tennessee Technological University, Cookeville, TN; 1986: Maria Wilmeth, Fairfax County Public Schools, Fairfax, VA; Gerard Ervin, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH,  and (posthumous) Edwin Cudecki, Chicago Public Schools, Chicago, IL; 1985: Barbara Elling, State University of New York at Stony Brook, Stony Brook, NY; 1984: Constance Kay Knop, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI; Eleanor Lien Sandstrom, Greater Philadelphia Public Schools, Philadelphia, PA (retired); 1983: Lynn A. Sandstedt, University of Northern Colorado, Greeley, CO; Myriam Met, Cincinnati Public Schools, Cincinnati, OH; 1982: Kay Lyons, Half Hollow Hills High School, Dix Hills, NY; Robert G. Mead, Jr., University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT; 1981: Nancy Ann Humbach, Cincinnati, OH; 1980: Charles Hancock, University of Maryland, Baltimore, MD; Anthony J. Mollica, Wentworth County Board of Education, Ontario, Canada; 1979: Edward Allen, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH; Stephen L. Levy, Roslyn Public Schools, Roslyn, NY; 1978: Joseph A. Tursi, State University of New York at Stony Brook, Stony Brook, NY; 1977: Robert J. Ludwig, Mount Pleasant High School, Schenectady, NY; Wilga M. Rivers, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA.