The American Association of Teachers of German (AATG) recognized nineteen teachers and four German programs for their outstanding contributions to the teaching and learning of German in the US. The 2015 awards recipients were recognized at a special presentation in conjunction with their annual convention held on November 21 in San Diego, California.
Susanne Kelley, Associate Professor of German and German Studies Program Coordinator at Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, Georgia; Zehra Otus, teacher of German at College Park High School, Pleasant Hill, California; and Desiree Toneatto, middle school teacher of German in Council Rock School District, Newtown, Pennsylvania, received AATG’s highest honor, the Outstanding German Educator Award. This award is presented in recognition of excellence in teaching and outstanding contributions to the German teaching profession. The award is accompanied by a travel grant sponsored by Checkpoint Charlie Foundation in Berlin.
Sabine Eisenhauer, Principal and German teacher at the German-American School of Palo Alto, California, and Robert Fischer, Professor of French and Chair of the Department of Modern Languages at Texas State University in San Marcos, received the Friend of German Award, which recognizes exemplary leadership in the advocacy of German and German language education.
"The teachers honored with these awards represent the best in our profession," said Deborah McGee Mifflin, chair of the awards committee. "It is inspiring to see how much these extraordinary German teachers have accomplished—and how their students have benefitted from their expertise."
Four German programs were recognized as AATG German Centers of Excellence. This designation is presented to well-established and growing German programs with demonstrated excellence in instruction and strong support from administration, professional colleagues, alumni, and students. This year’s K-12 recipients are the Champaign Unit 4 School District, Champaign, Illinois; North County High School, Glen Burnie, Maryland; and Whitewater High School, Fayetteville, Georgia. The University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire is this year’s college/university recipient.
Sebastian Heiduschke, Associate Professor of German at Oregon State University in Corvallis; Cora Hofstetter, teacher of German at North County High School in Glen Burnie, Maryland; and Kimberly Nickel, teacher of German at St. Francis High School in St. Francis, Minnesota received the German Embassy Teacher of Excellence Award. The Embassy recognizes up-and-coming German teachers for excellence in teaching, creativity, and outstanding dedication. Honorees receive financial support for study in Germany.
Margrit Zinggeler, Professor of German at Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti received the FL-A-CH Award for excellence in the teaching of the language and cultures of Austria, the German-speaking areas of Switzerland, Liechtenstein, and South Tyrol.
Six educators were recognized with the Goethe-Institut/AATG Certificate of Merit for their achievements in furthering the teaching of German. 2015 awardees are: Gary Harger, teacher of German at Barack Obama Academy of International Studies in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; John Long, retired Assistant Professor in the College of Education at the University of Illinois at Chicago; Kamakshi Murti, retired Professor of German at Middlebury College, Middlebury, Vermont; Erika Hille Rinker, Assistant Professor of German at University of Alabama at Birmingham; Astrid Ronke, German instructor at San Diego Mesa College and Grossmont College in El Cajon, California; and Susanne Smith, teacher of German at Cherry Creek High School in Greenwood Village, Colorado.
“Recognizing the outstanding achievements of these superb teachers is truly the highlight of our convention,” said Mohamed Esa, president of the American Association of Teachers of German. “We are fortunate to have so many excellent German teachers.”
The AATG–Intercultural Student Experiences Language Matters Award was presented to Brigitte Woloszyn, retired from teaching German at R.J. Reynolds and Career Center High Schools in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The award recognizes a high school teacher of German who provides immersion experiences and motivates students to use the language outside the classroom.
Also recognized for their contributions to the scholarly publications of the AATG were John T. Hamilton, Harvard University, recipient of the Max Kade Award for Best Article in The German Quarterly, and Lynn M. Kutch of Kutztown University of Pennsylvania for the Best Article Award in Die Unterrichtspraxis/Teaching German. Mary E. Hennessy of the University of Michigan received the AATG–The German Quarterly Graduate Student Paper Award.