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Colorado Educator Named 2009 National Language Teacher of the Year

CONTACT: Steve Ackley
703-894-2900, x105

December 8, 2008, Alexandria, VA – Toni Thiesen, a French teacher in Loveland, CO, has been selected as the 2009 National Language Teacher of the Year by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL). The award was presented at the association’s 42nd Annual Convention and World Languages Expo in Orlando, FL on November 21, 2008.

Ms. Thiesen’s career spans more than 30 years teaching at the middle and high school levels. Currently, she teaches in the Thompson R2J School District in Loveland and also serves as the district curriculum representative and department chair. She is a National Board Certified Teacher and has served on the ACTFL Board of Directors. Her areas of specialization include differentiating instruction to meet the needs of all learners, multiple intelligences, and integrating technology into instruction.

She was one of five regional winners from around the U.S. who were finalists for the national award. The other finalists were Sandra Garcia of Forest Grove High School in Forest Grove, OR; Emily Wagner of Germantown Academy in Fort Washington, PA; Samantha Godden-Chmielowicz of Schurz High School, Chicago, IL; and Carmen Scoggins of Watauga High School, Boone, NC.

The award, which is sponsored by ACTFL and publisher Holt McDougal, was created to recognize a foreign language teacher who exhibits excellence in language teaching.  The selection process includes the submission of a portfolio and a teaching video. Nominees are first evaluated by their state language organization, after which each state submits its top candidate to one of five regional committees for additional review. Regional winners are evaluated and interviewed by ACTFL’s awards committee. In serving as a spokesperson for language education over the coming year, Thiesen will make appearances and give presentations at foreign language conferences as well as at events that promote language education through the Discover Languages … Discover the World!® public awareness campaign.

The 2008 ACTFL conference attracted an attendance of more than 5500 language teachers and administrators and offered more than 600 program sessions and workshops, as well as more than 350 exhibits. Conference highlights included a keynote address by historian and economist Neil Howe and special feature sessions highlighting the latest research findings and developments in student assessment in language education. 

ACTFL membership includes more than 12,000 language professionals from all levels of education and representing all languages. The association provides these members with a wide variety of professional development opportunities, including training and certification programs. All members receive the association’s two publications, the Foreign Language Annals scholarly journal and The Language Educator magazine.


Monday, December 8, 2008