ACTFL is expanding its team of presenters by supporting and mentoring our second cohort of Facilitators-in-Training (FIT). From the many who responded to the open invitation to join ACTFL as a workshop presenter, ACTFL selected eight educators to enter this presenter pipeline. They bring diverse perspectives and backgrounds in the levels (K-16) and languages (Arabic, French, Chinese, Spanish) taught. The FITs now begin their individual journeys through three stages: shadowing ACTFL presenters (joining in scheduled workshops and helping with small group/breakout room discussions), co-presenting ACTFL workshops (with coaching and feedback), and leading workshops during an initial period supported with a mentor. The process focuses on deepening each presenter’s content background, facilitation strategies, and presentation skills through collaboration with mentors, networking with the FIT group, and personal reflection. Please join us in congratulating our eight new FITs and be on the lookout for our next call for applications soon!
2023 FIT cohort
|Najeh Abu Orabi||CIEE Amman||Arabic||Amman, Jordan|
|Mary Jo Adams||Providence Day School||Spanish/French||Charlotte, NC|
|Bárbara Barnett||Wellesley Public Schools||Spanish||Wellesley, MA|
|Beckie Bray Rankin||Lexington HS||French||Lexington, MA|
|Maria Cristina Ladas||DLI Language Solutions||Spanish||Cave Creek, AZ|
|Sarah Lindstrom||Bristol Public Schools||Spanish||Bistrol, CT|
|Catherine Ousselin||Mount Vernon Schools||French||Bellingham, WA|
|Yu (Joyce) Wu||University of Rhode Island||Chinese||Kingston, RI|
Najeh Abu-Orabi holds a bachelor's degree in Arabic language, a master's degree in language and grammar, and a Ph.D. in Arabic language curricula and teaching methods. He began teaching Arabic to non-L1 speakers in 1995 at Yarmouk University. Since then, Najeh has worked in a number of universities, institutes and programs as a part-time lecturer, visiting lecturer, and visiting guest in Arabic for both L1 and non-L1 speakers. Some of the universities where he has worked include: The University of Jordan, University of Virginia, Monterey Institute - California, Princess Sumaya University, German Jordanian University, and the CIEE Program.
Since 2007, he has been working as the Director of Arabic Language Programs at CIEE. He is a certified tester and rater in OPI, OPIc and AAPPL ACTFL, and works as Quality Assurance Advisor for OPI and AAPPL in Arabic language.
Mary Jo Adams
Mary Jo Adams is a language learner, educator and world traveler. Throughout her career, Mary Jo has employed and honed her skills and passions in both international business and education. As a teacher, Mary Jo inspires students to cultivate multicultural learning and understanding, stokes curiosity and makes language learning relevant. While her primary focus has been in elementary education, she has taught most levels K-12.
As Department Chair, Mary Jo led her award-winning department to establish a proficiency-based TK-12 language program for students who want to explore the world of learning different languages and cultures and be able to immediately apply their learning in the real world. She has co-authored research papers on her work in proficiency and assessment, and has presented nationally and internationally sharing her learning and classroom practices.
Proud Puerto Rican with Cuban seasoning, Bárbara Barnett avidly believes that all children must have access to high-quality language programming, regardless of learning needs, race/ethnic origin, socioeconomic status, home language, or future academic goals, starting at the earliest age possible. With this mission in mind, Bárbara has taught Spanish across K-12 grades, supervised K-12 programming, and led professional learning on topics such as proficiency-based instruction, elementary programming, student engagement, SEL, social justice, and equity for all. Committed to service and giving back to the language community, Bárbara is NNELL’s treasurer, a member of MAFLA’s Board of Directors, and serves on various committees across the language community.
Now over two decades into her career, Bárbara is living her dream as the K-5 Department Head for World Languages at Wellesley Public Schools, where she leads the development of a thematic curriculum anchored in proficiency.
Beckie Bray Rankin
Beckie began her teaching career in 2007 as District Coordinator and French teacher at a charter network in Washington, DC after completing undergraduate studies at Boston University where she earned a BA in French and a BS in Teaching Foreign Languages. After Beckie completed her MAEd in French Education at Wake Forest University (NC) in 2010, Beckie spent a year in West Africa leading and teaching French with a humanitarian homestay program. A French teacher at Lexington High School (MA) since her return, she coordinates the francophone exchange program.
She is the Past President of MaFLA, President of the AATF Eastern Massachusetts Board, LILL Advocate Booster, and on the NECTFL board. Beckie has published and presented in numerous venues, and loves to connect.
Maria Cristina Ladas
Maria Cristina currently provides professional learning opportunities to local and state agencies with dual language immersion programs – for teachers, administrators and parents. Her initial years as an elementary bilingual teacher gave way to writing, leading and evaluating federal grants for one-way, as well as two-way, dual language programs in Spanish, Mandarin and French. She has also been a Coordinator/Director of World Language & Immersion Programs in a PK-12 school district. Her 30+ years of passion for the field has meant serving in advocacy positions such as President of the AZ Language Association, a JNCL Member, ACTFL Board Member, and a NADSFL/NCSSFL Member.
She created the AZ DLI Network as a way of helping local educators connect and has helped pass legislation in her state of AZ to push the field forward (Seal of Biliteracy, International Visiting Teacher Certificate). During her free time, she enjoys time with her family, hiking and traveling abroad.
Sarah Lindstrom teaches Spanish in Bristol, Connecticut. She has taught Spanish in grades 4-12 and to adults, English to secondary school students in Spain and multilingual learners in Connecticut, as well as world language methods courses to graduate students. Her passion is teaching language in ways that increase students’ curiosity, empathy, and understanding toward themselves and the world around them. During her year as Teacher-in-Residence at ACTFL, Sarah developed a great appreciation of the World Readiness Standards for Learning Languages and all they offer to help teachers guide their students to be global citizens.
Her research interests include intercultural competence, real-world curriculum design, increasing access to language courses, and connecting proficiency development with cross-cultural skills.
Catherine Ousselin is a graduate of the University of Kansas with an M.A. in French Language and Literature and a graduate certification in Curriculum and Instruction. She teaches French 1-AP at Mount Vernon High in Washington State and is an avowed polyglot and language advocate. Catherine is an ACTFL Board Member (K-12 At-Large) Past PNCFL President, the Executive Director of WAFLT-WA, a member of ACTFL, IALLT, and the AATF of which she is the Director of AATF Social Media Integration and Curated Resources.
She is a frequent presenter on curriculum design and technology integration at World Language conferences and a workshop facilitator. Catherine was the 2017 PNCFL finalist for ACTFL Teacher of the Year.
Yu (Joyce) Wu
Dr. Yu (Joyce) Wu is an Associate Professor at the University of Rhode Island. She currently serves on the Board of the Chinese Language Teachers Association (USA), New England Chinese Language Teachers Association (NECLTA), and College Board AP Chinese Development Committee. Her research focuses on second language acquisition, proficiency-based teaching and assessment, individual differences, and proficiency and intercultural communicative competence development in immersion contexts. She has won the URI College of Arts and Sciences Teaching Excellence Award, and the Rhode Island Foreign Language Association Mary L. Borra Excellence Award. Dr. Wu regularly presents at national and international conferences, and has conducted teacher training for Middlebury College Chinese Summer School, NECLTA, Western Kentucky University, Beijing Language and Culture University, Shanxi University, etc.
Her recent publications include peer-reviewed articles in Foreign Language Annals, book chapters, and a co-authored textbook series Progressive Chinese: An Intermediate Chinese Textbook《前进中文：中级课程