ACTFL Names 2021 National Language Teacher of the Year

CONTACT: Howie Berman
703.894.2900 ext. 106

ACTFL is pleased to announce the 2021 National Language Teacher of the Year has been awarded to Elena Kamenetzky, a Japanese teacher at Eastern High School in Louisville, KY and a regional finalist representing the Southern Conference on Language Teaching (SCOLT). The award presentation was held during the Opening General Session of the 2020 Virtual ACTFL Convention & World Languages Expo on Friday, November 20.

Prior to teaching Japanese, Elena Kamenetzky taught middle school English in Japan. She travels with Eastern High School students to Japan as part of a summer exchange every two years. Kamenetzky has served the language education community as a Board Member of the Kentucky Association of Japanese Language Teachers since 2012. In 2019 she was named Teacher of the Year by both the Kentucky Association of Japanese Language Teachers, and the Kentucky World Language Association, going on in 2020 to become the SCOLT Teacher of the Year.

The award for the ACTFL National Language Teacher of the Year is intended to elevate the status of the language teaching profession at the state, regional, and national levels by creating opportunities for recognizing the most accomplished members of the profession. The Teacher of the Year becomes a spokesperson for the language profession to increase the visibility of the importance of learning languages and cultures to the general public.

“I want to congratulate Elena Kamenetzky on being named the 2021 ACTFL National Language Teacher of the Year”, said Howie Berman, ACTFL Executive Director. “In a year that has been incredibly challenging for so many, I commend Elena for her hard work, perseverance, and dedication to her learners. I look forward to working with her next year in her capacity as Teacher of the Year.”

Learn more about the ACTFL Teacher of the Year Program.

The other four finalists for the annual ACTFL National Language Teacher of the Year Award representing the other geographic regions of the U.S. were:

  • Megan Flinchbaugh, Manheim Central School District, Northeast Conference on Teaching of Foreign Languages (NECTFL)
  • Amy Murray, Spring Valley High School, Las Vegas, NV; Southwest Conference on Language Teaching (SWCOLT)
  • Eric Richards, Fort Zumwalt North High School, O’Fallon, MO; Central States Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (CSCTFL)
  • Carla Swick, Palmer High School, Palmer, AK; Pacific Northwest Council for Languages (PNCFL)