ACTFL Celebrates Excellence in Language Education

CONTACT: Erin Whelchel
703.894.2900 ext. 124

ACTFL is pleased to announce the 2021 recipients of the ACTFL Professional Awards, an annual program that recognizes outstanding contributions to the field of language education.

These awards were presented during an online ceremony Friday, November 19, to close the first day of the ACTFL 2021 Virtual Convention. All award presentations remain accessible to the public for on-demand viewing via a dedicated playlist on ACTFL's YouTube channel.

The 2021 virtual ceremony opened with remarks by ACTFL Past President Bridget Yaden, who emphasized the important role that both educators and language advocates play in empowering students, communities, and the language education field: “The individuals we honor today are helping to shape the future of our profession. […] They nurture and guide a diverse pool of learners and serve as leaders in our communities. And they encourage support for language learners, their families, and educators of all languages, at all levels.”

The following ACTFL Professional Awards were granted:

  • ACTFL Global Engagement Initiative Awards:
    • Community Engagement Through Cultural Immersion in Hindi, Duke University (NC)
    • The Merging Cultures & Expanding Horizons Program, East Point Academy (SC)
  • ACTFL/Cengage/IALLT Postsecondary Award for Excellence in World Language Instruction Using Technology: Florencia Henshaw, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • ACTFL-New York State Association for Language Teachers, Inc. Anthony Papalia Award for Excellence in Teacher Education: Martha Nyikos, Indiana University, Bloomington
  • ACTFL-NFMLTA/MLJ Paul Pimsleur Award for Research in World Language Education: Xiaowan Zhang, Michigan State University; Paula Winke, Michigan State University; and Shaunna Clark, Texas A&M University
  • ACTFL Florence Steiner Award for Leadership in World Language Education (K-12): Janice Holter Kittok, Educator in Service, LLC
  • ACTFL Wilga Rivers Award for Leadership in World Language Education (Postsecondary): Krista Chambless, University of Alabama at Birmingham
  • ACTFL-NFMLTA/MLJ Emma Marie Birkmaier Award for Doctoral Dissertation Research in World Language Education: Stephanie Madison, Clemson University (SC)
  • ACTFL Nelson Brooks Award for Excellence in the Teaching of Culture: Anne-Christine Rice, Tufts University (MA)
  • ACTFL/IALLT Award for Excellence in World Language Instruction Using Technology (K-12): Ryan Casey, Lexington High School (MA)
  • ACTFL Melba D. Woodruff Award for Exemplary Elementary World Language Program: Tooele County School District (UT)
  • ACTFL Leo Benardo Award for Innovation in K-12 Language Education: Jill Landes-Lee, University of Utah
  • ACTFL Edwin Cudecki Award for Support for Language Education: Arthur Chou, Academic Learning Company

The evening also featured recognition of the 2022 ACTFL National Language Teacher of the Year finalists, a reflection by 2021 National Language Teacher of the Year Elena Kamenetzky, acknowledgment of the 2021 Research Priorities Grants recipients, and presentation of the 2021 NNELL Award for Outstanding Support of Early Second Language Learning.

Watch the full 2021 playlist and explore descriptions of each award category to learn more about ACTFL’s Professional Awards program. The call for nominations, including self-nominations, will reopen in Spring 2022.