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German teachers receive awards

Monday, November 25, 2019  
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German Teachers Receive Awards

The American Association of Teachers of German (AATG) recognized 16 individuals and eight German programs for their outstanding contributions to the teaching and learning of German in the US. The 2019 awards recipients were recognized at a special presentation in conjunction with the annual convention held on November 23 in Washington, DC.

Erika Berroth, Associate Professor of German and Head of the German Program at Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas, and Jonas Strecker, teacher of German at South Forsyth High School in Cumming, Georgia received AATG’s highest honor, the Outstanding German Educator Award. This award is presented in recognition of demonstrated excellence in German education and creative leadership in German language education in local, state, and national arenas.

“This year’s Outstanding German Educator recipients represent the best in our profession,” said Iris Bork-Goldfield, chair of the awards committee. “It is inspiring to see how much these extraordinary German teachers have accomplished—and how their students and our profession have benefited from their work.”

Kurt Waldthausen, Founder and Chairman of the German Language & Culture Foundation, Charlotte, North Carolina, received the Friend of German Award, which recognizes exemplary leadership in the advocacy of German and German language education.

Paul Asleson, teacher of German at Billings West High School in Billings, Montana; Lauren Davis, teacher of German at Memorial High School in Houston, Texas; and Taylor Nickerson, teacher of German at Columbia High School, Columbia, Illinois, received the German Embassy Teacher of Excellence Award. The Embassy recognizes up-and-coming German teachers for excellence in teaching, creativity, and outstanding dedication.

Astrid Weigert, Teaching Professor of German at Georgetown University, Washington, DC, 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. The award is sponsored by the Austrian Cultural Forum, the Embassy of Switzerland, and the Embassy of Liechtenstein.

Stephen Van Orden, teacher of German at Timpview High School in Provo, Utah, and Thomas A. Lovik, Professor of German at Michigan State University in East Lansing, received the Checkpoint Charlie Foundation Teacher Award, which recognizes outstanding teachers of German who strengthen intercultural understanding.

Two educators were recognized with the Goethe-Institut/AATG Certificate of Merit for their achievements in furthering the teaching of German: Christine Brucker, teacher of German at Willink Middle School and Thomas High School in Webster, New York; and Mary Zollars, teacher of German at Chartiers Valley High School in Bridgeville, Pennsylvania.

Eight German programs were recognized as 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 designees are the German Saturday School Boston, Massachusetts; Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science & Technology, Lawrenceville, Georgia; Lexington County School District One, Lexington, South Carolina; North Allegheny School District, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Northampton Area School District, Northampton, Pennsylvania; and West Valley High School, Yakima, Washington. Franklin & Marshall College, Lancaster, Pennsylvania and the University of Texas at Austin are this year’s college/university designees.

Also recognized for their contributions to the scholarly publications of the AATG were Necia Chronister, Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas, recipient of the Max Kade Prize for Best Article in The German Quarterly; Jill E. Twark, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina; Daniel J. Franch, Southern Wake Academy, Holly Springs, North Carolina, and Paige Vaughan, North Carolina, for the Best Article in Die Unterrichtspraxis/ Teaching German Award; and Willi Barthold, Georgetown University, Washington, DC, for The German Quarterly Graduate Student Paper Award.

AATG Executive Director Keith Cothrun was presented the German-American Friendship Award by the German Embassy in recognition of his efforts on behalf of German-American relations and in recognition of endeavors to foster and sustain friendship between the Federal Republic of Germany and the United States.

“With their dedication to excellence in German language instruction, these award recipients promote the transatlantic friendship between the US and German-speaking countries and foster the much needed intercultural awareness so their students lead successful lives in a globalized world,” said Susanne Rinner, president of the American Association of Teachers of German. 

AATG members were recognized for their accomplishments by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL). Keith Cothrun received the Florence Steiner Award for Leadership in Foreign Language Education (K-12)Gisela Hoecherl-Alden, Boston University, Massachusetts, received the Nelson Brooks Award for Excellence in the Teaching of CultureLinda Havas, Greendale High School, Greendale, Wisconsin, received the ACTFL Award for Excellence in Foreign Language Instruction Using Technology with IALLT (K-12).


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