Central States Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages


2015 CSCTFL Teacher of the Year

Deana Zorko


Deana Zorko is a Spanish teacher at Madison West High School in Madison, Wisconsin. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Spanish from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire with a study in Spain. She earned her Masters of Arts in Spanish from the University of Northern Iowa where all her coursework was completed in Spain. Deana also has her ESL certification and has a lot of experience in technology. In addition to Spain, she has co-led a student trip to Costa Rica.

Deana’s expertise lies in the areas of proficiency-based instruction, performance assessment, common core standards and communicative strategies for the WL classroom. She has in depth experience coordinating and facilitating the integration of technology. An advocate for lifelong language learning and global awareness, she is a frequent presenter at WAFLT, CSCTFL, and ACTFL conferences, including CSCTFL’s “Best of Wisconsin” and a 2015 All Star session. Her presentations cover a variety of topics related to 21st Century Skills, innovative pedagogical approaches, technology integration, standards and performance assessment.

Anyone observing her classes would readily note her qualities of strong planning and problem solving skills. Moreover Deana is self-motivated and highly energetic.

A colleague writes: “Deana’s energy and passion for learning are infectious. Walking by her classroom you will not only hear a great deal of Spanish from her students, you are likely to hear laughter as students experiment with language in creative and personalized ways. Deana is always willing to take on new challenges and initiatives by testing out 21st century tools as ways to better reach and meet the needs of her students. She has always had a natural flow and clear transitions in her lesson activities using a gradual release of responsibility approach, long before it was a trend. Students are encouraged to learn by using the ways that they already think and communicate, whether it means turning in a final product as a digital artifact or on poster board, the focus is always on what students are able to do with the language. Students who have completed Deana’s classes admit that they have learned more from her than any other language classes they have attended. This is a testament to Deana’s high expectations and ability to connect personally with all students while guiding them to achieve their learning targets.”

In her own words, Deana reveals her teaching philosophy:

“I believe strongly that all students should and can learn a world language. Providing an environment where risk-taking is safe and opportunities to experiment with language are facilitated, is an integral part of my belief. This, coupled with helping to mold a new way of thinking and moving students from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset, models the desire for not only being bilingual but also bicultural while preparing all students to be lifelong learners.

Keeping these values at the core of both my approach to teaching and learning as well as my own personal life allows me to foster connections and collaborations, student to student, colleague to colleague, friend to friend, and classroom to classroom. In today’s global society, all students will have the opportunity to use linguistic and cultural competencies beyond the boundaries of the classroom. It is therefore my responsibility as a language educator to facilitate the learning of language and culture in a way that supports global competence, preparing today’s students to be successful in an ever-changing world.”


2015 CSCTFL Teacher of the Year Finalists 


Kathleen Priceman


The Illinois Teacher of the Year, Kathleen Priceman is an advocate in her community for early language learning. She was one of the original Spanish immersion teachers in Oak Park, Illinois, and continues to encourage community support of this program. Before and after her term as ICTFL President 2011-2012, Kathleen served as the FLES Committee Chair and is now the Illinois NNELL Representative. Kathleen received her BA in Spanish Education from the State University of New York and her ME in Instructional Leadership from the University of Illinois, Chicago. Since 2007 Kathleen has taken a group of teachers to Salamanca, Spain, where she instructs a course in Spanish Language and Culture for Educators.

One of Mrs. Priceman’s former first graders writes: “Mrs. Priceman changed my life forever. She gave me the most amazing gift of learning a language and culture through a family-stay in Spain. Now I am majoring in Global Studies in college, and trace this interest to my early immersion in Spanish culture.”



Kathleen Darnell


The Indiana Teacher of the Year, Kathleen Darnell is a 22 year teaching veteran of French and Spanish with eight years of service at Cathedral High School in Indianapolis, IN teaching a full range of French classes as well as the first three years of Spanish. Kathleen earned her BA French and Spanish from Indiana University and M.Ed. from Indian Wesleyan University as well as an AA in Modern Foreign Languages from Vincennes University, and a Diplôme des Études Françaises from the Université de Dijon. Kathleen has presented at various conferences including AATF, IFLTA, and CSCTFL and has served in leadership roles within Indiana’s AATF organization, on the Executive Board of IFLTA, and on standards committees at the state level.

A colleague writes: “She is the epitome of what any World Language teacher should be in the 21st Century….I believe that one of her best strategies is that she has her students complete a “Community Connection” project each grading quarter. In this project, students choose the topic and research how it is connected to our local community. Students are able to connect what they have learned in the target language and make those necessary connections. Kathy truly inspires her students to make use of the World Language in and out of the classroom.”



Erin DeWind


The Michigan Teacher of the Year, Erin DeWind is in her eighth year of teaching Spanish at Greenville High School in Greenville, MI. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and a Master of Arts in TESOL from Green Valley State University. She has initiated an AP Spanish program in her school and serves in leadership roles on her campus including the district technology lead as well as Spanish Club co-advisor and Student Council advisor. She is a member of the Greenville Public School Virtual Learning Team. In addition, she has sponsored and co-chaperoned student travel groups to France and Spain.

One of her colleagues states, “Erin is an exemplary world language teacher. She makes it her daily goal to encourage students to read authentic texts, speak the language, listen to native speakers, and write in the target language while Erin introduces cultural concepts from a large variety of Spanish speaking nations and incorporates technology into her daily lesson plans.”


Kay Edberg


The Minnesota Teacher of the Year, Kay M. Edberg is a Spanish teacher at Mora High School, Minnesota, where she has taught Spanish for eighteen years, ranging from Spanish I, II, III, IV to Exploring Languages courses. She teaches Spanish III and IV through concurrent enrollment agreements with both St. Cloud State University and the University of Minnesota. She has been the Spanish Department Chair at Mora High School since 1997. Kay earned her Bachelor of Science, Spanish and Secondary Education from Bemidji State University, Bemidji, MN. She earned her Master Universitario en Lengua y Cultura Españolas from Universidad de Salamanca, Spain. She has traveled extensively and supervised groups in a variety of settings. She is an advocate for world language teaching and is currently the president elect of the MN Council on the Teaching of Languages and Cultures.

A colleague writes: “Kay is a leader in her school in modeling and using technology. Her high school has a high percentage of rural poverty. Her students regularly communicate with schools in Spain and Costa Rica via SKYPE. Her students have pen pals in Spain. She brings the Spanish-speaking world to her classroom. It is no wonder that the Spanish program in her small Minnesota town continues to grow.”



Della Thompson


The Missouri Teacher of the Year, Della Thompson is a French teacher at Marquette High School, Missouri, where she has taught for nineteen years. She has been the Department Chair of World Languages at Marquette High School for seven years. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in French from Rhodes College and a Master of Arts in French from Washington University. Della is a National Board Certified Teacher who first achieved certification in World Languages Other than English, EAYA in 2004 and renewed in 2014. She has also been a NBCT Candidate Support Provider since 2010. She has sponsored and chaperoned student travel groups to France and Europe.

One of her colleagues writes: “I could see that she did a lot more besides create magic in her classroom. She was a leader amongst all of the French teachers in the district. She is always up to date on the latest technology and spends time after district meetings helping other teachers. She is very often one of the ‘pioneers’ who tries the latest and greatest teaching techniques and gives us other teachers the pros and cons of the new practice.”



Parthena Draggett


The Ohio Teacher of the Year, Parthena Draggett has taught Spanish and French at Jackson High School, Massillon, Ohio, for over twenty years. Her goal is to raise standards and improve education, and her example of hard work and tireless dedication serves as a model to her colleagues. Parthena received her BA in Education from Mount Union College, with a double major in Spanish and French, and obtained her MA from Kent State. She is a National Board Certified Teacher. As a frequent conference presenter and principal author of the textbook Temas, Parthena shares her experience and expertise with others. She is the Ohio Director for the Sociedad Honoraria Hispánica and has served as an AP Spanish language exam reader since 2006.

A former student writes that Señora Draggett “enables the academic ambition of young people thru contagious enthusiasm and high expectations.” Her colleagues describe her as “a true promoter of world languages in the United States.”






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