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First ACTFL National Language Teacher of the Year Announced

CONTACT: Steve Ackley

December 5, 2005, Alexandria, VA — Chapel Hill, NC High School Spanish teacher Ken Stewart was named the first recipient of the ACTFL National Language Teacher of the Year Award.   The presentation was made at the 39th annual conference and exposition of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages in Baltimore, MD on November 18, 2005.


Stewart, whose teaching career spans 19 years, is a National Board Certified Spanish Teacher. He was one of five regional winners from around the U.S. who were finalists for the national award.  Stewart was the finalist from the Southern Conference on Language Teaching, while the other finalists were Stephanie Appel, Fair Lawn, NJ, representing the Northeast Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages, Gisela Holmquist, Glendale, WI, from the Central States Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages, Desiann Dawson, Del City, OK, from the Southwest Conference on Language Teaching and Scott Underbrink, Casper, WY, representing the Pacific Northwest Council for Languages.

The award, which is sponsored by publisher McDougal Littell, was created to recognize a foreign language teacher at the K-12 level who exhibits excellence in classroom language teaching.  The selection process included the submission of a portfolio and a teaching video, as well as an interview with the selection committee.  In serving as a spokesperson for language education over the coming year, Stewart will make appearances and give presentations at foreign language conferences as well as at events that promote language education through the Discover Languages public awareness campaign.

Ken Stewart

“I am extremely honored to be recognized by ACTFL and by my peers for the passion I share for language learning in the classroom on a daily basis,” said Stewart. “I owe a lot to my students and colleagues. There are so many who are working just as hard to improve and promote language instruction in K-12 classrooms and I will do my best to represent them.”

The ACTFL conference was attended by nearly 6,000 language teachers and administrators and offered more than 750 program sessions and workshops, as well as more than 350 exhibits.  Conference highlights included a video address from U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings and the unveiling of the association’s Discover Languages – Discover the World image and awareness initiative that will focus public attention on critical need for increased language proficiency in America.

ACTFL membership includes more than 8,000 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.


Wednesday, October 25, 2006