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Board Election

ACTFL's policy has been to alternate between candidates who work primarily in higher education with candidates who work primarily at the K-12 level. This year, the President-elect candidates are from K-12 and for the two at-large openings for the Board of Directors, members will select one from higher education and one from K-12.

Members are reminded that ACTFL has a strict “no campaigning” policy.

View the biographies, personal statements and videos for each candidate.

President-Elect Candidates  |  Higher Ed Candidates  |  K-12 Candidates

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President-Elect Candidates

Jessica Haxhi

Candidate for President-Elect
After completing a degree in Comparative Area Studies (East Asia/Latin America) from Duke University in 1990, Jessica went to Osaka, Japan to be an assistant English teacher. She returned to her home-state of Connecticut and taught “distance learning” Japanese for three rural high schools. A principal encouraged her to pursue a full-time position at an elementary magnet school in an urban district. Unsure of whether young students could even learn Japanese, she interviewed.

Jessica spent the next 19 years teaching grades PreK-5 and advocating for early language learning. She was lucky to meet Carol Ann Dalhberg and Helena Curtain at an ACTFL Conference NNELL breakfast, and went on to work in their summer methods institute. She began presenting at ACTFL, CT COLT, and local board meetings, excited to share best practices and the research on language learning benefits.

In the mid-1990s, Jessica worked on the Connecticut World Languages Framework and the National Standards for Japanese Language Learning. She served as President of the National Council of Japanese Language Teachers from 1998-2000. In the summers of 2006-2009, she designed and taught a K-8 Methods Institute sponsored by the Connecticut Department of Education and Southern Connecticut State University, where she continues to teach methods as an adjunct today. From 2006-2010, she served on the Board of the Northeast Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. In 2011, she joined colleague Yasu-Hiko Tohsaku as Co-President of the American Association of Teachers of Japanese. They coordinated the transition of two separate organizations (NCJLT & AATJ) into one K-16 organization.

In 2013, Jessica became Supervisor of World Languages for New Haven Public Schools, a mid-size urban district with 90 world language teachers and six languages taught. There, she focuses on standards-based curriculum development, teacher collaboration within and across languages, and professional learning around engaging, proficiency-based instruction. Most recently, she worked with CT COLT to advocate for Seal of Biliteracy legislation and served on the NCSSFL-ACTFL Can-Do Statements Revision Committee. She is currently on ACTFL’s Professional Learning Committee and is an ACTFL Workshop Presenter.

Jessica has been honored with the Milken Family Foundation National Teacher Award (2002), the U.S.- Japan Foundation, Elgin Heinz Outstanding Japanese Teacher Award (2008) and the International Women’s Day New Haven Award for Outstanding Public Service (2019). She has a M.A. in Education from Saint Joseph College and a 6th Year in Educational Leadership is from Central Connecticut State University.

Personal Statement
In the past 25 years, ACTFL and its organizational members produced much-needed foundational documents to help teachers plan for and measure “quality teaching and learning” as expressed in ACTFL’s mission.   ACTFL publications and workshops have begun to connect standards, proficiency, and research to classroom applications, but K-16 educators whom I encounter across the country are hungry for more.

It is a critical time to focus on engaging and effective instruction.  If our current students develop world-ready proficiency and intercultural skills through positive learning experiences, they will become the parents, administrators, businesspeople, and policymakers who support language learning in the future, as well as our diverse teacher pipeline and multilingual workforce.

I have listened to many teachers express their instructional needs and I have a vision for how ACTFL can help. I believe ACTFL should provide more video guidance, exemplar lessons, and a library of resources from the field.  We should collaborate with educators from various languages, levels, and areas of expertise to offer innovative instructional resources for all. 

I have spent my career working with others to connect ACTFL documents to everyday proficiency-based instruction.  If elected, I will pursue ACTFL’s mission by continuing this work. Thank you for your consideration.   

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Jocelyn Raught

Candidate for President-Elect
Jocelyn D. Raught, a National Board-Certified Teacher, is the World Language Department Chairperson at Cactus Shadows High School in Cave Creek, Arizona, where she teaches various levels of Spanish, including Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate. As the only World Language teacher in the school when she started 33 years ago, Raught pursued connections with like-minded teachers to improve her own teaching and ensure success for her students. Over the years, this passion has pushed her to advocate for quality language teaching and learning for all through many professional organizations. Today, she leads a World Language department recognized for excellence in the state of Arizona.

Raught has served ACTFL on various committees and as a regional representative on the Board of Directors.  Additionally, she was President of the Southwest Conference on Language Teaching (SWCOLT) and President of the Arizona Language Association (AZLA). Currently, she represents her state organization as Executive Treasurer and as a delegate to the Joint National Committee for Languages-National Council on Languages and International Studies (JNCL-NCLIS). Raught was instrumental in the creation of the Arizona State World and Native Languages and Arizona State Seal of Biliteracy, which recognizes students for their proficiency rather than seat time. She is also a frequent presenter at local, state and regional conferences, with three of her sessions being named “Best of AZLA”.  However, one of her proudest moments was being recognized as AZLA’s Teacher of the Year for the work she does with students focusing on acquisition and culture.

Raught holds degrees in Biology and Spanish from Indiana University of PA, during which time she studied at the Universidad de Valladolid in Spain. She has done graduate studies in Spanish at Arizona State University and has a Master of Education degree in Educational Technology from the University of Phoenix. To expand her language and cultural proficiency, Raught travels with and without students to different Spanish speaking countries. When not dedicating time to her students and fellow educators, she can be found in an ice rink with her daughters, volunteering as an official for United States Figure Skating.

Personal Statement
I am running for the position of President-Elect of ACTFL because I believe in the vision and mission of the organization and its call to action in our educational institutions and the community. Our organization recognizes it takes one to one connections to make a difference in the life of each student. We must empower the educator in the classroom to do this. I believe we are called to be an agent of inclusion so that no matter what ethnicity, age, special need or even economic status of a learner, educators have the skills and resources to enable each student to succeed. Many students, schools and states have benefited from the support and connections ACTFL has given through our local organizations, outreach, and advocacy training. As ACTFL continues to provide training and support to ensure equity for diverse language learners and teachers, we must also continue to reach out, not just as an organization, but as individuals to other teachers, organizations and communities to include them in our efforts to effect change. I am proud to play a part in the growth of our organization as we improve language acquisition and teaching, giving students access to the opportunities this offers.

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Board Member – Higher Education Candidates

John Gruber-Miller

Candidate for Higher Ed Board Member
John Gruber-Miller has been hooked on Latin, Greek, and the ancient Mediterranean ever since he read Vergil’s Aeneid in the original as a high school senior.  As he read Vergil’s poetry, he realized that no translation could capture all the nuances, poetic effects, and references to other poets.  After completing an Honors AB at Xavier University (1979) and an MA and PhD at The Ohio State University (1987), he has been teaching courses in classics, Greek, and Latin at Cornell College, where he is Professor of Classics and Edwin R. and Mary E. Mason Professor of Languages.

John’s first passion is working with undergraduates. He teaches all levels of Latin and Greek as well as courses in English, such as Love and Sexuality in Greece and Rome and Literacy: From Papyrus to Digital Texts.  He leads archaeological study tours of Greece and Rome.  And under his direction, his students have staged over a dozen bi-lingual productions of Roman comedy. 

John’s research emerges from his engagement with students and his attempts to solve the daily challenges of classroom teaching.  He is the editor of When Dead Tongues Speak: Teaching Beginning Greek and Latin (Oxford University Press, 2006), a primer for pre- and in-service teachers.  He is past Editor of Teaching Classical Languages, a peer-reviewed journal dedicated to Latin and Greek pedagogy. Over the past ten summers, he has collaborated with undergraduates on creating a digital textbook for students of intermediate Greek, Imagining Ancient Corinth: An Introduction to Greek Literature and Culture.

John’s service to the profession is rooted in preparing the next generation of language teachers. He served on the ACL/APA task force for developing Standards for Latin Teacher Preparation and the task force for revising the Standards for Classical Language Learning. Most recently, he co-authored Careers for Classicists: Undergraduate Edition.

Personal Statement
I am honored to be nominated for the ACTFL Board of Directors. As a teacher of Latin and Greek, I intend to be an advocate for less commonly taught languages and especially classical languages--Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Arabic, Chinese, etc.  As past editor of the open-access journal Teaching Classical Languages, I know the importance of making more educational resources available to teachers who often cannot afford additional expenses.  And as Vice-President of the American Classical League and a member of the Board of Governors, I am excited to bring a spirit of listening, collaboration, and leadership experience to ACTFL.

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L. J. Randolph Jr.

Candidate for Higher Ed Board Member
L. J. Randolph Jr., Ed.D., is an associate professor of Spanish and Education at the University of North Carolina, Wilmington. He is also the associate chair of the Department of World Languages and Cultures and coordinator of the Foreign Language Teacher Education Program. L. J. has a decade of experience teaching Spanish and ESOL at the secondary level. At the university level, he teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in Spanish language, contemporary Latina/o/x cultures, and second language teaching methods.

L. J.’s research and publications have focused on a variety of critical issues in language education, including the teaching of Spanish to heritage and native speakers and the incorporation of social justice-oriented pedagogies in the language classroom. In addition, throughout his career he has served in leadership roles in various language organizations, including president of the Foreign Language Association of North Carolina (FLANC), president of the North Carolina Chapter of the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese (AATSP), and coordinator of the Cape Fear Foreign Language Collaborative (CFFLC).

L. J. is a longtime active member of ACTFL. He has presented at several ACTFL conferences, served as the inaugural vice-chair of the recently formed special interest group for Critical and Social Justice approaches, and served as a member of the Diversity and Inclusion Task Force for the organization.

Personal Statement
I have always been a strong advocate for language education, because I sincerely believe in the power of language learning not only for personal enrichment and career opportunities but also to enact social change. I am running for a position on the ACTFL Board of Directors, because I would like to represent my colleagues and our students as we collectively strive for better access to language learning, stronger and more diverse professional networks, increased advocacy efforts, and dissemination of cutting-edge research. I am humbled to have received this nomination and, if elected, will be delighted to serve.

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Board Member – K-12 Candidates

Ying Jin

Candidate for K-12 Board Member
Ms. Ying Jin has more than 20 years of Chinese language and culture teaching experience in diverse communities and settings, including middle schools, high schools, and colleges in both the United States and China.  She is currently a teacher of Mandarin Chinese in the Fremont Union High School District in Cupertino, California and was named the 2018 ACTFL National Teacher of the Year.

Throughout her career, Ms. Jin has been highly engaged in numerous professional organization and networks. Currently she is the current President of CLASS (Chinese Language Association of Secondary-Elementary Schools), is Leadership Team Member of the Stanford World Language Project and served as a Lead Instructor for the California World Language Project STARTALK student programs for over ten years.

Ms. Jin is a regular contributor at national, state, regional and local conferences, such as ACTFL, CLTA (California Language Teachers Association), and STARTALK.  She enjoys interacting and networking with other teachers to support excellent language teaching in the K-12 and other settings. Ms. Jin volunteers on a regular basis for many educational and cultural organizations in the San Francisco Bay Area, but especially those that have the potential to enrich students’ understanding of language and culture and developing the level of global competence that will enable them to thrive in diverse linguistic and cultural settings.

In addition to being named the 2018 ACTFL Teacher of the Year from ACTFL, she was awarded the 2017 Teacher Of the Year from SWCOLT (The Southwest Conference On Language Teaching), 2016 Teacher Of the Year from CLTA (California Language Teachers Association), 2015 Outstanding Teacher Award from CLTA (California Language Teachers Association) and 50th Annual Murphy Educator of the Year Award in 2014.

Ms. Jin received her MA degree in Instructional Technologies from San Francisco State University, a BA degree in Chinese Language and Literature from Peking University, China and her world language teacher certification from the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing.

Personal Statement
Intercultural competence begins with individuals who possess the ability to communicate effectively in English and at least one other language while being able to relate to individuals with differing views.  World language education ushers in a new world and values societal diversity.  As a third-generation world language teacher, I believe that learning world languages and developing a level of intercultural competence enables students to become world citizens and should be at the forefront of our educational system.  These are the main reasons why I wish to join the ACTFL Board and help shape a future that will make it possible.

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Kristopher Morehead

Candidate for K-12 Board Member
Kristopher Morehead is a French teacher at Pipkin IB/MYP World School, a Title I middle school in Springfield, Missouri. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Education from Wayne State College and a Masters of Applied Second Language Acquisition from Missouri State University. He has studied language pedagogy at Université Laval in Québec, Canada, and is an Accelerative Integrated Methodology (AIM) certified teacher. Mr. Morehead is a two-time nominee for the ACTFL Leo Benardo Award for Innovation in K-12 Language Education and three-time Teacher of the Year nominee at the district level.

An active professional, Mr. Morehead is an ACTFL mentor, helping language teachers succeed in their current assignment and learn the skills necessary for long-term success throughout their career. He is a member of the Foreign Language Association of Missouri (FLAM) Executive Board, and currently serves as Advocacy Chair. He has previously served as President, President-Elect and Regional Representative. Mr. Morehead is a staunch advocate for languages at the local, state and national level. He has testified before members of the Missouri House of Representatives, and facilitated meetings with Missouri’s congressional representatives in Washington, D.C. His advocacy efforts have resulted in the defeat of a computer coding bill in the Missouri House of Representatives, and the establishment of the Missouri Seal of Biliteracy by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Mr. Morehead holds professional memberships with the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL), National Network for Early Language Learning (NNELL), American Association of Teachers of French (AATF), Central States Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (CSCTFL), Foreign Language Association of Missouri (FLAM), Kansas World Language Association (KSWLA), and Ozarks Foreign Language Association (OFLA).

Personal Statement
My desire to serve on the ACTFL Board of Directors stems from the mission of our organization: to provide vision, leadership and support for quality teaching and language learning. At a time when cultural differences are unjustly perceived as a threat to the fabric of our society, we must reinforce our threads by embracing diversity and casting out hatred. Key to achieving this outcome is multilingualism, imparting appreciation, understanding, and empathy to the learner through their connection to the target culture(s) of a shared language. ACTFL’s leadership on diversity and inclusion is one of the many reasons that I wish to join the Board of Directors.

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