As Director of Education at the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL), Paul Sandrock directs the organization’s professional development and initiatives around standards, curriculum, instruction, and performance assessment. Previously, Paul was with the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction and was also a Spanish teacher for 16 years in middle school and high school. He is the author of The Keys to Assessing Language Performance and Planning Curriculum for Learning World Languages. He previously served ACTFL as a board member and president and received ACTFL’s Florence Steiner Award for Leadership in Foreign Language Education, K–12. A key contributor to the ACTFL Integrate Performance Assessment model, Paul is a recognized leader in various aspects of language proficiency benchmarks and assessments.
Jason Fritze has over 20 years of teaching experience at all levels (elementary, middle, high school, and university) in public (urban and suburban) as well as independent (private) education. A National Board Certified teacher, Jason currently develops curriculum and teaches in the elementary Spanish language program for Laguna Beach Unified schools in Laguna Beach, CA. He works with language teachers around the globe in CI-based approaches, including TPRS & TPR, content-based instruction, reading strategies, reader’s theatre, etc. Jason also teaches intensive Spanish and French language classes to adult learners and is one of the cofounders of iFLT.
Leslie Davison has been teaching Spanish for almost 20 years. She is a Google Certified Innovator and National Board Certified World Language teacher with experience at both the high school and elementary levels. She shares her passion for language learning and technology by presenting at national and international conferences. She was recently awarded the World Language Teacher of Year for Colorado. Currently, she serves as K-12 Dual Language Coordinator and a best-practices coach for an elementary school. When not learning, Leslie can be found running or skiing in the mountains of Colorado or kitesurfing around the world.
Paul Kirschling has been using TPRS and CI approaches in the Denver Public Schools for over 20 years. For the last 10 years, Paul has been a team lead for DPS World Languages, helping train new and experienced teachers as well as develop proficiency assessments and curriculum for the district, working closely with World Languages Coordinator, Diana Noonan. He is currently on the Regional Specialist Team tasked with creating and implementing professional development for DPS WL teachers. Like is his DPS colleague Mark Mallaney, Paul regularly hosts learning labs for new and experienced teachers alike. He has presented and coached at state and national conferences and taught his first international language lab in Agen, France last summer, 2017. Paul was awarded the CCFLT Teacher of the Year for 2018.
Linda Li was born and raised in Shanghai, China. She is a master teacher and an author as well as an experienced TPRS trainer. Linda has presented at numerous national and international conferences and co-authored Beginning Mandarin Reader “Who is good looking” with Dr. Stephen Krashen. She is also the co-author of “I Love Learning Chinese” (Books 1, 2), containing TPRS teaching materials for beginning students. Linda has taught Mandarin to middle and high school students as well as adult learners for over 10 years. Her experience includes teaching at a number of international schools in China, Thailand and Saudi Arabia in addition to an urban school in Denver, Colorado. Linda is currently working at Singapore American School after teaching 3 years at American Embassy School at New Delhi, India.
Mark Mallaney is a high energy Spanish teacher for Denver Public Schools. In addition to teaching, Mark coaches new teachers in his roll as a District Teacher Leader and hosts learning labs throughout the school year that give fellow educators an opportunity to see him work with his students in his classroom. In Mark’s classroom you will observe a passionate approach that engages and includes all learners. Mark is committed to paying forward the mentorship that he has received throughout his career from the teaching greats in the iFLT community.
Donna Tatum-Johns is a gifted French teacher with over 29 years of classroom experience. She specializes in TPRS and other comprehensible-input strategies and is credited with many valuable contributions to the method. Also a gifted presenter, Donna leads teacher-training workshops for various institutions across the country and serves as an editor/translator for various publishers.
Grant Boulanger is an innovative public educator living in St. Paul, MN. He is a 2017 ACTFL National Language Teacher of the Year Finalist and co-founder of the Comprehensible Midwest Conference. He holds a BA from Gustavus Adolphus College and an M.Ed. in Second Languages and Cultures Education from the University of Minnesota. He has taught in and directed innovative language acquisition programs since 1997. His joy is pioneering equitable, engaging and effective classrooms where EACH student belongs, acquires confidence and competence, and sees themselves as a natural language learner.
Annabelle Allen, a.k.a. La Maestra Loca, is a passionate Spanish teacher at St. Martin’s Episcopal School in New Orleans, Louisiana, where she has taught for three years. Annabelle loves teaching Middle school but she has taught all ages, 2-82 years old! She taught for a year in China in 2014-15 and before that taught for 4 years in public schools in Denver, Colorado, where she learned from an army of brilliant CI teachers in the area. Since then she has developed her own unique style, which her students call “loca” or crazy. She enjoys helping students of ALL ages acquire the Spanish language, rather than just learn it. Her goal for her students, children and adults, is communication and joy. Annabelle has only recently discovered she also has a passion for coaching and mentoring in CI methodologies. She is on a mission to spread CI strategies throughout Louisiana, the Nation, and the world so that more students can benefit from acquiring a second language! In her free time Annabelle loves eating and spending lots of time with her fiancé and his little girl Isla Rose.
Martina Bex is a former Spanish teacher with a passion for curriculum development; in particular, for exploring cultural topics using high-frequency vocabulary. In addition to presenting at state and national conferences, Martina has worked with Fluency Matters, TPRS Books, and McGraw-Hill Education on various projects since 2011 and with school districts across North America as a curriculum and instructional consultant. She taught for two years at Syracuse University and four years at a public middle school in Anchorage before making the decision to stay home with her own children full-time. While her kids are sleeping, she sneaks away to post CI-based lesson plans, activities, and strategies on her blog, “The Comprehensible Classroom” (www.martinabex.com).
Carol Gaab has been providing teacher training in CI-based strategies since 1996. A frequent presenter at national and international conferences, Carol was also a presenter for the Bureau of Education and Research for 9 years. She is the director of the iFLT Conference and was a Spanish and ESL teacher for 25 years, most notably twenty years teaching for and directing the San Francisco Giant’s U.S. and Dominican Language Programs. Founder and President of Fluency Matters, Carol has authored and published numerous SLA-friendly resources for novice to advanced levels.
Sabrina Sebban-Janczak is a Master teacher who currently teaches French for Denver Public Schools, as well as at the University of Colorado in Boulder. Sabrina was nominated Colorado Teacher of the Year 2016-2017. Sabrina regularly presents at national and international conferences on various topics related to teaching using Comprehensible Input. A Teacher Leader who coaches, mentors and trains World Language teachers, she also edits and writes graded readers, teacher guides, curricula, as well as the Denver Public School World Language Assessments. She has also recorded audio books for language learners. Her passion and commitment to teaching and acquiring foreign languages continues to be a driving force in her life.
Diana Noonan after 30 years of experience teaching French and Spanish in the Denver Public Schools, currently works as the coordinator of world languages in DPS and the Spanish for Heritage Speakers Program. She offers workshops and professional development in comprehensible input methods and strategies or TCI – Teaching with Comprehensible Input. In July 2010 and 2012, she co-directed iFLT (International Forum for Language Teaching). The 2012 Conference featured Learning Labs, a highly effective TCI training model.
Kristy Placido is an accomplished teacher, presenter and author. She has been teaching Spanish at all levels since 1997 and provides teacher training on a wide range of topics, including TPRS, reading strategies, classroom technology and assessment. Kristy has presented at ACTFL, iFLT, TPRS Publishing’s Multi-cultural Conference, NTPRS and numerous other state and regional conferences. In addition to being a regular presenter for Fluency Matters, she is a popular author as well, having written numerous comprehension-based readers (novels), teacher’s guides, ancillary materials and curricula for all levels. Kristy holds a Masters degree in Curriculum and Teaching from Michigan State University and is proud to be the co-founder of the more TPRS list.
Katya Paukova is a highly-sought TPRS presenter and editor. She has adapted/translated various TPRS materials to Russian and is a key presenter for NTPRS. A gifted teacher, Katya has taught Russian and French for middle/high schools, the United Nations, and the International Monetary Fund. Katya currently teaches Russian for the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, CA.
Justin has been helping people of all ages learn Latin, German, and other stuff since 2005. Crazy about helping teachers and learners thrive in whatever setting they’re in, he operates Indwelling Language, a collection of resources and practices for boosting teachers’ and learners’ joy and success, and consults for schools, districts, publishers, travel companies, and non-profits worldwide. When he’s not doing languagy things, Justin thrives on Tigers baseball, jujutsu, and lolling lakeside with his family.
Carrie Toth has been teaching all levels of Spanish since 1994. A National Board certified teacher in WLOE, Carrie serves as a mentor to National Board candidates and presents at various local, state, regional, and national language conferences. Her passion is helping teachers enhance cultural knowledge in the world language classroom using CI-based strategies and backward planning (through Understanding by Design). Carrie is the 2012 recipient of the Horace Mann “Innovative Education Award,” the 2014 Teacher of Year for both the state of Illinois and the Central States Region, and a finalist for the 2015 National Teacher of the Year. In addition to Carrie’s achievements as a teacher and trainer, she is also an accomplished author, writing teacher’s guides, ancillary materials, and novels.
Teri Wiechart is retired from 35 years in the classroom. Since this time she has been working as a consultant to the Ohio Department of Ed., and consultant with schools working to implement new ways of teaching World Languages. She has been a TPRS/CI trainer and coach, and coaching trainer and coordinator since 2001, at the National TPRS Conference, 2007-2014; iFLT 2010, 2012, 2013 and 2014; Agen, France CI Conference 2013-2015, and regional professional development in Ohio. She is currently the Immediate Past-President of the Ohio Foreign Language Association.
* Teri is also a Coach and Coordinator
Jim Wooldridge, a Spanish teacher in Evanston, IL for nine years, used to struggle to find compelling educational materials for his middle school Spanish students. who were drawn to funny, absurd and even scary stories with unexpected twists. Wooldridge decided to write those stories himself, and in 2009, he released music videos for his songs ‘Billy la Bufanda’and ‘¿Puedo ir al baño?’. Since then, he has created numerous well-known musical stories. His videos have been seen millions of times on YouTube, and his website SenorWooly.com has thousands of Spanish teacher subscribers from all over the world.
Erica Peplinski has taught every grade from Kindergarten to 8th grade, and currently is an elementary Spanish teacher and department head for Saline Area Schools. She is in her 14th year in the classroom, and enjoying her 6th year helping develop a K-12 Comprehensible Input program for her district. Erica received her B.A. from Eastern Michigan University and holds a Masters in the Art of Teaching from Marygrove College. Her 30+ additional credit hours focused mainly on Spanish and neurology. In addition to presenting at Austin Community College, ACTFL, MIWLA and IFLT; Erica helps organize and presents at MittenCi and CiMidwest . Learn about her elementary approach to Comprehensible Input and access many resources by visiting her website.
For the past 17 years, Gary DiBianca has been a Spanish teacher, presenter, world language consultant and coach, and AP reader. He has presented nationally and regionally on acquisition and brain-based strategies in the world language classroom, big picture planning and unit design, pre-AP vertical alignment and the 21st Century World Language Standards, the inclusion of topics of diversity in the curriculum, and teaching with comprehensible input and TPRS. It is his passion to with teachers to hone their craft as educators and helping them develop new ideas for student learning. He has served on the state of Ohio’s World Language Model Curriculum Committee, and is an advisor and leader for many diversity programs.
Michelle Kindt is a National Board Certified French teacher at Hershey High School in Hershey, PA. Michelle has had years of experience teaching all levels of French – in both the middle school and high school. In addition to state and local venues Michelle has had the privilege of presenting Comprehensible Input theories and strategies at national conferences, such as IFLT, NTPRS & ACTFL. She has worked with school districts to develop curriculum and train teachers. She very much enjoys working with World Language teachers, encouraging them to teach for proficiency outcomes via acquisition-driven language instruction. Michelle also loves to read and travel.
Keith Toda has been teaching Latin for over 20 years and currently teaches at Parkview High School in Liburn, GA. A self-professed recovering grammar-translation teacher, Keith has been implementing CI in the Latin classroom for many years and regularly writes about his experiences on his blog Totally Comprehensible Latin. Keith is a regular presenter at state and national world language conferences, and his presentation “Detoxing from the Textbook” was awarded “Best of Georgia” at the 2016 FLAG Conference. Keith is currently pursuing a doctorate in Instructional Technology and is always looking for new, innovative ways to implement technology for the delivery of Comprehensible Input and of higher-level thinking.
Michele Whaley has been offering Russian to students from middle school through adults for more than 30 years. She shares her passion for language learning by presenting at conferences and workshops, and hanging out on social media teacher groups. She was twice the World Language Teacher of Year for Alaska, the 2016 Pacific Northwest ToY, and a finalist for the 2017 ACTFL ToY. Currently, she teaches Russian 102 and 202 at University of Alaska and kindergarten through fifth-grade Spanish in an independent private school in Anchorage. When not teaching, Michele plays in a Baroque ensemble or works on her Spanish. She prefers to be rowing, Nordic skating, skiing or hiking with her husband and sled dog. Her eclectic family includes a musician, an actress, and an outdoor educator.
Additional bios coming soon: