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Press Releases


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  • 15 Oct 2018 8:58 PM | Elizabeth Dentlinger (Administrator)

    Ankeny, IA - The Iowa World Language Association (IWLA) is pleased to announce that the 2018 Teacher of Promise Award has been awarded to Katelyn Pletcher, a French language teacher at Troy Buchanan High School in Troy, Missouri. The award presentation was held during the luncheon of the 2018 Iowa World Language Association’s annual fall conference at the DMACC Ankeny Campus in Ankeny, Iowa on Saturday, October 13th, 2018. Although Katelyn now teachers in Missouri, her teacher training program at the University of Iowa is what helped her become the teacher she is today. She is described as “an energetic, engaged, clever individual who truly cares about connecting with students.” The teacher herself shared many anecdotes in her essay about students with difficult situations at home or with family and friends, but always stressed the importance of connecting to her students and trying to build a relationship with them. Please join us in congratulating Katelyn as the 2018 IWLA Teacher of Promise!


    To view the official press release, please click here.

  • 15 Oct 2018 8:56 PM | Elizabeth Dentlinger (Administrator)

    Ankeny, IA - The Iowa World Language Association (IWLA) is pleased to announce that the 2018 Teacher of Promise Award has been awarded to Karina Suarez Luna, a Spanish language teacher at Des Moines Public Schools in Des Moines, Iowa. The award presentation was held during the luncheon of the 2018 Iowa World Language Association’s annual fall conference at the DMACC Ankeny Campus in Ankeny, Iowa on Saturday, October 13th, 2018. Karina shared she knew that she wanted a be a teacher since she was 10 years old, when she began helping her English teacher with pronunciation in order to help her peers. She describes her classroom as her “home, where I provide a safe place where my kids to laugh, cry, learn and have fun.” Her nominator describes her as an amazing educator who demonstrates great strength in relating to her students. She has an impressive mastery of the Spanish language and her Mexican-American heritage make her a true asset to her students. Please join us in congratulating Karina as the 2018 IWLA Teacher of Promise!


    To view the official press release, please click here.

  • 15 Oct 2018 8:37 PM | Elizabeth Dentlinger (Administrator)

    Ankeny, IA - The Iowa World Language Association (IWLA) is pleased to announce that two separate $500 grants have been awarded to John Sifert, a Spanish language teacher at Belmond-Klemme CSD in Iowa, and Jennifer Tovar, a Spanish language teacher at Newell-Fonda in Iowa. The grant presentation was held during the luncheon of the 2018 Iowa World Language Association’s annual fall conference at the DMACC Ankeny Campus in Ankeny, Iowa on Saturday, October 13th, 2018. Proceeds from John’s grant will go towards growing his classroom Free Voluntary Reading (FVR) program, while Jennifer’s grant will help fund purchasing a variety of classroom novels that will be used to students generate Breakout EDU challenges. Please join us in congratulating John Sifert and Jennifer Tovar as our 2018 grant winners!


    To view the official press release, please click here.

  • 15 Oct 2018 8:22 PM | Elizabeth Dentlinger (Administrator)


    Ankeny, IA - The Iowa World Language Association (IWLA) is pleased to announce that the 2018 Educator of the Year Award has been awarded to Craig Klein Dexemple, a Spanish language teacher at Bergman Academy in Des Moines, Iowa. The award presentation was held during the luncheon of the 2018 Iowa World Language Association’s annual fall conference at the DMACC Ankeny Campus in Ankeny, Iowa on Saturday, October 13th, 2018. Winners of this award exemplify the best in world language teaching in addition to serving our profession in various capacities. Craig is the epitome of this award. His students write that, “teaching style, his creativity, attitude, and competence with teaching Spanish to all different grade levels is exceptional. There was never a day when myself and others weren’t excited to learn Spanish .... I volunteered to write this recommendation for him because I am very grateful for his contributions to my life as a student and world citizen”. Craig is a frequent presenter at the IWLA Conference, the CSCTFL Conference, and many others, too. He is the holder of a Best of Iowa award for an earlier presentation and he publishes many materials to help make language teaching easier for others. Please join us in congratulating Craig Klein Dexemple as the 2018 IWLA Educator of the Year!


    To view the official press release, please click here.

  • 15 Oct 2018 8:04 PM | Elizabeth Dentlinger (Administrator)

    Ankeny, IA - The Iowa World Language Association (IWLA) is pleased to announce that the 2018 Best of Iowa Presentation has been awarded to Allison Wienhold, a Spanish language teacher at Dunkerton, High School in Dunkerton, Iowa. The award presentation was held during the luncheon of the 2018 Iowa World Language Association’s  annual fall conference at the DMACC Ankeny Campus in Ankeny, Iowa on Saturday, October 13th, 2018. Allison currently serves the Iowa World Language Association as President-Elect, in addition to serving the world language teaching community in various capacities: blogger, presenter, and cheerleader for her peers. Allison’s presentation, titled (C)I like to move it, move it, focused on how to incorporate physical activity in the world language classroom.   She will represent the Iowa World Language Association at the 2020 Central States Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages in Minneapolis, MN. Please join us in congratulating Allison Wienhold as the IWLA’s 2018 Best of Iowa Presentation winner!


    To view the official press release, please click here.

  • 19 Oct 2017 5:36 PM | Pamela Wesely (Administrator)

    Des Moines, IA—The Iowa World Language Association (IWLA) is pleased to announce that the 2017 Distinguished Service Award has been given to Kerisa Chung Baedke, a Spanish language teacher in the Prairieview School in Waukee, Iowa. The Distinguished Service Award recognizes a world language educator who, throughout her/his career, has demonstrated professional growth; extensive involvement in IWLA and in other professional organizations; leadership; and excellence in teaching. The award presentation was held during the luncheon of the 2017 Iowa World Language Association Annual Conference at the Des Moines Downtown Marriott in Des Moines, IA on Friday, October 13th. 

    Beyond her experience teaching in Waukee, Ms. Baedke was a dean at Concordia Spanish Language Village El Lago del Bosque for 16 years.  She has been an IWLA Executive Board Member, and she received the IWLA Educator of the Year Award in 1997.  She has been Program Chair for the IWLA conference for many years.  She has spent many years getting people nominated for awards, bringing people to the conference, encouraging them to present, and representing Iowa at our regional conference.  In her words: “Building the relationship is key. I want my students to see me as a person, to know who I am and what I’m passionate about. And I want to know those same things about them.”

    Kerisa’s nominators wrote letters that speak directly to the amazing impact that she has had on them and on her students.  Stephanie Prine stated, “She showed me what it means to be a caring, committed, an effective educator. She does not do this with lip service; her life is a testament to the power of world language education.”  Loni O’Grady, a former colleague, stated, “I can honestly say that thousands, yes I say thousands of hearts have been touched, all because of this one woman. If there really is a Superwoman, I think we have found her.”  Susan Sandholm-Peterson, a longtime friend and colleague, stated:  “For 30 years, Kerisa has opened the door to authentic and successful language learning for her students. For 30 years, she has challenged both students and teachers to continual learning and excellence. For 30 remarkable years, Kerisa Baedke has challenged us all to create community by gifting her extraordinary dedication, leadership, and service to students and teachers, to world languages education, and to the Iowa World Language Association--and always with that “sonrisa,” and with joy.”


    Pictured: Kerisa Chung Baedke (holding plaque) and family and friends

  • 19 Oct 2017 5:34 PM | Pamela Wesely (Administrator)

    Des Moines, IA—The Iowa World Language Association (IWLA) is pleased to announce that the 2017 Educator of the Year (Secondary Level) Award has been given to Kimberly Huegerich, a Spanish language teacher at Nevada High School in Nevada, Iowa. The Educator of the Year Award is designed to recognize teachers who exemplify the best in teaching at their particular level, who demonstrate involvement in the Iowa World Language Association, and who provide evidence of leadership and contributions to the field of world language education. The award presentation was held during the luncheon of the 2017 Iowa World Language Association Annual Conference at the Des Moines Downtown Marriott in Des Moines, IA on Friday, October 13th. 

    Ms. Huegerich’s resume reveals an amazing depth of knowledge about teaching language in modern times - it shows her expertise in technology, in directing conferences for language teachers, in presenting at conferences on a variety of topics, and in mentoring new teachers.  She has been a four-year IWLA Executive Board member and served as president of IWLA, and has served in multiple other positions in language teaching organizations.

    Ms. Huegerich has been a leader in the state, with a literal can-do spirit, exemplified in this passage in her narrative:  “Someone had mentioned wanting to create an Iowa based comprehensible input get-together. I casually interjected, “I could do that”…That ended up being a huge risk that turned out better than I could have imagined. Comprehensible Iowa was born: idea to completion within 3 months.”  One of Ms. Huegerich’s students said that she captured the “hearts and minds” of her students while teaching, and one of Ms. Huegerich’s nominators said, “Kim’s reach is greater than just her classroom, her school, and even IWLA.” 


    Pictured: Kimberly Huegerich and family

  • 19 Oct 2017 5:29 PM | Pamela Wesely (Administrator)

    Des Moines, IA—The Iowa World Language Association (IWLA) is pleased to announce that the 2017 Educator of the Year (Elementary/Middle School Level) Award has been given to Megan Fandel, a Spanish language teacher in the Van Meter Community School District, Van Meter, Iowa. The Educator of the Year Award is designed to recognize teachers who exemplify the best in teaching at their particular level, who demonstrate involvement in the Iowa World Language Association, and who provide evidence of leadership and contributions to the field of world language education. The award presentation was held during the luncheon of the 2017 Iowa World Language Association Annual Conference at the Des Moines Downtown Marriott in Des Moines, IA on Friday, October 13th. 

    Ms. Fandel has taught in South Korea, in Spain, in Arizona, and in Omaha.  She has worked to establish the Spanish Olympics with her colleagues, and she has coached winning cheerleading and dance teams.  In her statement, Ms. Fandel wrote: “Exposure other cultures has made my classroom a place of acceptance and safety for everyone. In a constantly changing world, it is now more than ever that we need to help build a society of effective, culturally accepting and compassionate young adults. My world is big. My world accepts. My world is Galician, Spanish, Peruvian, Puerto Rican, Korean, Moroccan, American and Iowan.”

    Ms. Fandel has presented at the IWLA conference every year for four years, and, as her principal states, she is a leader in emphasizing the importance of comprehensible input in the classroom.  

    About IWLA
    The Iowa World Language Association (IWLA) represents the more than 1200 world language educators in the state from all levels of instruction and representing all languages. The Iowa World Language Association (IWLA) is devoted to advancing the worldwide mission of education and world languages, literature and culture by promoting the study of world languages and cultures, promoting language curricula, from primary to post-secondary levels, to enable students to become proficient in the target language, and opening the doors for multilingual interaction with other cultures. More information can be found at www.iwla.net.


    Pictured: Megan Fandel, Pam Wesely (IWLA President)

  • 19 Oct 2017 5:28 PM | Pamela Wesely (Administrator)

    Des Moines, IA—The Iowa World Language Association (IWLA) is pleased to announce that the 2017 Michael Oates Teacher of Promise Award has been given to Elizabeth Schupp, a German language teacher at Timberline School in Waukee, IA. This award is conferred annually on students in teacher training programs or in early stages of their careers who have shown exceptional promise and potential to become outstanding world language educators. The award presentation was held during the luncheon of the 2017 Iowa World Language Association Annual Conference at the Des Moines Downtown Marriott in Des Moines, IA on Friday, October 13th. 

    Ms. Schupp has studied music in Austria, taught English in Spain, and traveled extensively in Germany.   It is clear that in all of her travels, she has been an ambassador for crosscultural understanding and helping young people to see the utility of learning languages.  As her nominator said in the nomination letter, “She is a proud advocate for the German language, and she has thought through many ways to help students and community members to see how relevant it is.”  One of her colleagues said that her influence at the school has made students start to use “Frau” to refer to many of their non-German teachers.  As a German teacher, she looks forward to, as she said in her statement, “a long career growing strong language programs and impacting students’ lives.”  We are lucky to have her in our community of language teachers in Iowa.  

    About IWLA
    The Iowa World Language Association (IWLA) represents the more than 1200 world language educators in the state from all levels of instruction and representing all languages. The Iowa World Language Association (IWLA) is devoted to advancing the worldwide mission of education and world languages, literature and culture by promoting the study of world languages and cultures, promoting language curricula, from primary to post-secondary levels, to enable students to become proficient in the target language, and opening the doors for multilingual interaction with other cultures. More information can be found at www.iwla.net.


    Pictured: Elizabeth Schupp

  • 19 Oct 2017 5:26 PM | Pamela Wesely (Administrator)

    Des Moines, IA—The Iowa World Language Association (IWLA) is pleased to announce that the 2017 Michael Oates Teacher of Promise Award has been given to Monica Martinez, a Spanish language teacher at Ames High School in Ames, Iowa. This award is conferred annually on students in teacher training programs or in early stages of their careers who have shown exceptional promise and potential to become outstanding world language educators. The award presentation was held during the luncheon of the 2017 Iowa World Language Association Annual Conference at the Des Moines Downtown Marriott in Des Moines, IA on Friday, October 13th. 

    Ms. Martinez grew up in Iowa born to Mexican parents speaking both Spanish and English, and she wrote in her essay about wanting to share her love and knowledge of the language with her students.  She chose to be a Spanish teacher because “it was the subject that she felt would make the greatest impact on her future students,” and “it was a subject that resonated close to her roots.”

    Monica’s nominator described her as “embodying the caring, compassionate spirit for which Michael Oates is remembered.  These qualities, as well as her calm demeanor, pleasant affect, and sincere interest in students’ well-being, promise to make Monica not only an outstanding world language educator, but also a beloved teacher.”

    About IWLA
    The Iowa World Language Association (IWLA) represents the more than 1200 world language educators in the state from all levels of instruction and representing all languages. The Iowa World Language Association (IWLA) is devoted to advancing the worldwide mission of education and world languages, literature and culture by promoting the study of world languages and cultures, promoting language curricula, from primary to post-secondary levels, to enable students to become proficient in the target language, and opening the doors for multilingual interaction with other cultures. More information can be found at www.iwla.net.


    Pictured: Monica Martinez, Linda Quinn Allen (IWLA Past President and Nominator)

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