Alissa Rutkowski | Manager of Communications, Policy, and Operations, JNCL-NCLIS

Ms. Rutkowski is the Manager of Communications, Policy, and Operations at JNCL-NCLIS. In addition to developing reports on federal and state policy, organizing and executing JNCL's annual Language Advocacy Day, and managing external communications, Rutkowski supervises daily operations and financial management, and fulfills the role of staff liaison for all active committees. She also works closely with JNCL President, Rita A. Oleksak, to support the Board of Directors’ strategic planning efforts. 

Rutkowski joined JNCL-NCLIS in January of 2019 as a Communications and Policy Intern and accepted a part-time associate position following the completion of her internship. She most recently served the organization in a temporary full-time management role during a period of staff transition. Previously, Rutkowski gained experience in programming and organizational operations as a Program and Evaluation Intern at Planet Word Museum in Washington, D.C. During her undergraduate studies, Rutkowski was employed as a Student Research Assistant to conduct and present research on interactional linguistics.


Rutkowski is a graduate of Saginaw Valley State University in University Center, Michigan, where she earned her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with supporting minors in Communication, French, and English. She spent semester in Pau, France where she studied French and intercultural communication, and assisted teaching English to early college students. She was selected as a member of the leadership-focused Roberts Fellowship Program, which concluded her undergraduate degree with a second study abroad to multiple Asian countries as a delegate for the university.

Since her initial experience abroad, she has traveled to over 20 countries and continues to seek opportunities that will cultivate her intellectual curiosity and interest in world languages and international affairs. She can be reached at



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Jayne Abrate, Ph.D. | Executive Director, American Association of Teachers of French (AATF)

Dr. Jayne Abrate has been the Executive Director of the American Association of Teachers of French since 1997. She holds a Ph.D. in French literature from Purdue University and taught at the university level in Missouri for 15 years before becoming Executive Director. She holds the rank of Commandeur in the French Ordre des Palmes académiques, the rank of Chevalier in the French Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, and is the recipient of the 2006 ACTFL Nelson Brooks Award for the Teaching of Culture and the 2014 Central States Conference Founders Award. She is a Past-President of JNCL/NCLIS.


Greg Barfield, Ed.D. | Vice President for Advocacy, Foreign Language Association of Georgia (FLAG)


Dr. Barfield received his B.A. (1979) at the University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia, and Ed.D. (1994) at the University of Georgia.  Dr. Barfield taught French in the Cobb County School District from 1983-2004 and served as department chair at two high schools from 1998-2004.  In addition to his teaching duties, Dr. Barfield served as Adjunct Instructor of French at DeKalb Community College (1991-1993) and Adjunct Assistant Professor of French and Foreign Language Education at Kennesaw State University (1994-2002). In October 2004, Dr. Barfield left the classroom to continue his career in World Language and ESOL curriculum and instruction administration. Since then, he has supervised programs in Cobb and Fulton Counties and at the Georgia Department of Education. Dr. Barfield has held various leadership positions, including President of the Foreign Language Association of Georgia and President of the Georgia Chapter of the American Association of Teachers of French.  He received the Fostering Partnerships Award from the Foreign Language Association of Georgia and the Outstanding Administrator Award from the Georgia Chinese Language Educators. In addition, he was awarded both the Chevalier and Officer des Palmes Académiques by the French Ministry of Education.

Since 2012, Dr. Barfield has been one of the leaders in Georgia in promoting dual language immersion programs and is often asked to provide support to dual language immersion schools and to provide training for immersion teachers.  In his position as Dual Language Immersion Program Specialist for the Cobb County School District, he supervises 11 DLI programs.


Howard Berman | Executive Director, American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL)

Howie’s undergraduate and graduate studies in Spanish and Middle Eastern Studies in combination with his extensive association experience, including more than 17 years of association management for several professional organizations have prepared him optimally for his new position as Executive Director of ACTFL. 


Howie has served as the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of ACTFL for the past three years, and previously had served as its Director of Membership and Administration.


David Bong | CEO, Avant Assessment

David is CEO of Avant Assessment whose STAMP and WorldSpeak tests in 31 languages are used in K-16 programs to improve outcomes, and award
competency-based credit and Seal of Biliteracy.


David also founded EARL, an app enabling the blind to access digitalnewspapers, magazines, and books through patented technology. As Managing Director of Kroll Japan, a leading international investigative and security consultancy, he was the only foreign member of a Ministry of International Trade committee establishing ISO standards for risk management.


David has a BA in the College of Social Studies and Japanese History from Wesleyan University, and speaks Japanese.


Meredith Clark | Advocacy Chair, Texas Foreign Language Association (TFLA)

Meredith Clark is a Consultant for Languages Other than English and Fine Arts at one of Texas' twenty, state education service centers near Dallas.  She supports K12 school districts with World Language programming and professional learning. She also serves on the board of the Texas Foreign Language Association as Director of Public Outreach and Advocacy.  Other experience includes working as a World Language Specialist at Dallas ISD and teaching Hispanic Studies at the College of William and Mary.


She has a doctorate from the University of Texas at Austin in Hispanic Literature, and in addition to teaching children and college students on the intersections of visual arts and language, she has published an edited volume of literary criticism titled, Vicuñiana:  El arte y la poesía de Cecilia Vicuña, un diálogo sur/norte. When she's not leading workshops for teachers, she enjoys riding her horse Spiderman, reading and spending time with her husband and friends.


Keith Cothrun | Executive Director, AATG

Keith Cothrun is Executive Director of the American Association of Teachers of German. Prior to the position at AATG, he was director of World Languages and Cultures with responsibilities for AP German Language and Culture, as well as Chinese, Japanese, and Italian Language and Culture at the College Board.


A past president of AATG, ACTFL, and JNCL/NCLIS, Keith taught German for 24 years building a thriving high school program and school-to-school exchange program in New Mexico.

Dan Davidson | President Emeritus, American Councils

Dr. Davidson (Ph.D., Slavic Languages, Harvard University) is Senior Academic Advisor and President Emeritus of American Councils for International Education (Washington, D. C.) and Emeritus Professor of Russian and Second Language Acquisition, Myra T. Cooley Lectureship, Bryn Mawr College. He is author/editor of 24 books and 67 scholarly articles focused primarily on Russian, second language acquisition and international education development, including an on-going series of empirical studies of advanced-level acquisition of Arabic, Chinese and Russian languages/cultures within the overseas immersion context.  His most recent study, “Transformative language learning in the overseas immersion environment: Mapping the relationship between language proficiency and intercultural development” will appear in Transformative Language Learning and Teaching, (eds. Leaver, Davidson and Campbell), Cambridge University Press, in 2020.


Davidson was named in 2015 to the Commission on Languages, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and is an elected foreign member of the Russian Academy of Education, the Ukrainian Academy of Pedagogical Sciences, Vice-President of the International Association of Teachers of Russian (MAPRIAL), and past chair of the College Board World Languages Advisory Committee, the Joint National Committee for Languages, and the Alliance for International Education Exchange.  Davidson is co-founder of the American Councils for International Education and served as US co-chair of the Soros Foundation Transformation of the Humanities and Social Sciences Programs in Russia, Belarus and Ukraine, as well as on the working groups of the US-Russia and US-Polish Bilateral Presidential Commissions on Innovation/Higher Education.  


Linda Egnatz | Executive Director, Global Seal of Biliteracy 

Linda Egnatz is most known for her role as national cheerleader for the Seal of Bilteracy which recognizes language learners for their proficiency in two languages.  Her support for the movement began in our own state of Illinois where she testified on its behalf as a 2013 Golden Apple Teacher of Excellence Award Winner. When ACTFL named her the 2014 National Language Teacher of the Year, she used the title to expand her advocacy for language learners and supported other states working to adopt a State Seal.  She is truly grateful to ACTFL for the opportunity to raise awareness about the value of language learning. In 2015, she served on the ACTFL/NCSSFL/TESOL/NABE collaborative committee that designed the National Guidelines for the Seal of Biliteracy. Egnatz is now the Executive Director of the Global Seal of Biliteracy, a program designed to fill in the opportunity gap for those bilinguals of any age who don’t qualify for a state seal but want to celebrate and certify their language skills.  Followers of @miprofeAP on social media will recognize the hashtag #2bilit2quit; meaning that “when students succeed, language program retention increases.”

Egnatz is Nationally Board Certified and has taught all levels of Spanish, including AP Spanish Language and Spanish Literature.  She is a Past President of the Illinois Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages and currently serves ICTFL as Advocacy Chair and Webmaster.  She is a member of the Joint National Council on Languages (JNCL-NCLIS) Board, the ACTFL Professional Learning Committee and the Pulsera Project Education Committee.  A frequent conference speaker, she embraces opportunities to coach teachers on moving their students toward higher levels of language proficiency. Egnatz has a B.A. in Romance Language Education and holds an M.A. in Spanish Literature from Purdue University.


Giovanni Donatelli | Managing Partner, The Language Group

Giovanni Donatelli is founder of The Language Group, an award winning language services company located in Virginia Beach, VA.  Giovanni founded the company in 1999, and is now one of the leading  Language Services Companies in the country. 

Mr. Donatelli has served on the board of directors of the Association of Language Companies from 2010 - 2016. He has been a guest speaker on language access issues to numerous organizations around the country.  Mr. Donatelli is regarded as a foremost leader in language access issues. A native of Pescara, Italy, Mr. Donatelli received his MBA from the College of William and Mary and received his BS in Finance from Virginia Tech.


Joel Gómez, Ph.D. | Executive Director, Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL)

Joel Gómez serves as the President and CEO of the Center for Applied Linguistics, a private, nonprofit organization promoting mother tongue education, biliteracy, international English and world languages within the context of social justice. 


Dr. Gómez has a doctorate in higher education administration from the George Washington University and earned an MA in Latin American Studies and a BA in Spanish at the University of Texas at Austin. His research interests focus on bilingual education and first and second language education policy. Dr. Gómez has served as a President of the National Association for Bilingual Education (NABE) and has public school and university teaching experience.


Richard Gordon | President, CulturaLink LLC

Richard Gordon is the co-founder and has served as President of CulturaLink since its inception. He is responsible for the operations of CulturaLink, the staffing of its training and language services and is involved in the ongoing development and vision for the company. He has more than 20 years of business experience, beginning his career in retail management and moving into finance and information technology before founding his own staffing business.

Through that work and his personal experiences in recruiting and staffing, Richard became interested in and passionate about the workforce challenges faced by many businesses as a result of the fast-paced, cultural diversification of the United States.


Maya Goodall | Senior Director, EL Curriculum Rosetta Stone 

Maya Goodall, Senior Director of EL Curriculum at Rosetta Stone, has worked in education for over 20 years, teaching both nationally and internationally. Maya has a rich professional background that includes teaching in the classroom, coaching, training, and implementing and designing curriculum with measurable outcomes. She founded Lingual Learning, a curriculum company dedicated to helping students become confidently bilingual. Maya speaks three languages and holds an M.Ed. and MA in applied linguistics.

Christopher Gwin | Executive Director, National Federation of Modern Language Teachers Associations (NFMLTA)

Christopher Gwin is celebrating 30 years of teaching German, which means he started the year the wall separating east and west fell. He retired from full time public school teaching two years ago and now teaches part-time as a lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, part-time at Haddonfield High School in NJ and part-time at iCademy Middle East in Dubai, UAE. Additionally, he supervises exchange students living with U.S. families for EF and is an active member of the AATG. Chris also sits on the board of directors of NECTFL and is the Executive Director of the NFMLTA.


Janet Ikeda, Ph.D. | American Association of Teachers of Japanese 

Janet Ikeda is Associate Professor and Department Chair in East Asian Languages and Literatures at Washington and Lee University.  She teaches courses on Japanese language, Japanese literature in translation and culture.


Her M.A. and Ph.D. are from Princeton where she wrote a dissertation on Hosokawa Yusai.  Professor Ikeda is a Past-President of the American Association of Teachers of Japanese and Past-President of the Phi Beta Kappa, Gamma of Virginia and has served as Associate Dean of the College and Fulbright Adviser at Washington and Lee University.  She served as Advocacy Co-Director on the AATJ Board, as reader for the Critical Language Scholarship and Bridging Fellowship, and is a member of ACTFL, AATJ, AAS, PBK, and the U.S.-Japan Council.


Renee Jourdenais, Ph.D. |  Graduate School of Translation, Interpretation, and Language Education, Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey (MIIS)

Dr. Renee Jourdenais is Professor of Applied Linguistics. She received her PhD in Applied Linguistics from Georgetown University and joined the language teacher training program at the Middlebury Institute in 1998. Her expertise focuses on language assessment, translator/interpreter assessment, curriculum development, and language teacher training. For ten years, she served as a Dean at MIIS, overseeing the MA programs in Translation, Interpretation, and Localization Management, in Teaching Foreign Language, and in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL).  She also was responsible for the Institute’s Language and Intercultural Studies programs, which prepare the Institute’s graduate students in International Policy and Management to successfully communicate in the multilingual and multicultural settings of their international careers.


Keely Lake, Ph.D. | Vice Chair for the National Committee for Latin and Greek (NCLG)

A note on the passing of Dr. Lake:

In Memoriam: The Loss of A Dear Friend

Sheri Spaine Long, Ph.D. | Executive Director of the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese (AATSP)

Sheri Spaine Long (Ph.D. UCLA) is the Executive Director of the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese (AATSP). Formerly a faculty member, department chair, and study abroad program director, Sheri rose to the rank of Professor of Spanish at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and was appointed Distinguished Visiting Professor at the United States Air Force Academy. Most recently, Sheri served as Professor and Chair of the Department of Languages and Culture Studies at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Sheri began her Spanish-teaching career at Northwest Junior High School in Coralville, Iowa.

Sheri is a specialist in language teaching and learning. Sheri has consulted on related issues for colleges and universities, The College Board, publishers in language education, and public and independent K-12 schools.


Sheri has published more than 80 articles, chapters, and reviews and as well as twelve textbooks for Spanish teaching. She served as Editor of Hispania – A journal devoted to the teaching of Spanish and Portuguese, the scholarly journal of the AATSP, and also held the position of Editor-in-Chief of Foreign Language Annals published by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL). She received the prestigious Steiner Award for Leadership in Foreign Language Education from ACTFL in 2009.


Anne Nerenz, Ph.D. | Executive Director of the Central States Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (CSCTFL)

Anne Nerenz (Ph.D., University of Wisconsin,1979) directs the teacher certification program in world languages, teaches the elementary and secondary world language methods classes, and supervises student teachers at Eastern Michigan University. She also serves as Editor of ACTFL's scholarly research journal, Foreign Language Annals, and recently assumed the position of Executive Director of the Central States Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages.  A former middle school and high school French teacher, Anne is the recipient of the ACTFL-NYSAFLT Anthony Papalia Award, CSCTFL's Founders' Award, the Michigan Foreign Language Association's Barbara Ort-Smith Award, and the Sauk Praire High School Teacher of the Year Award.


Rita Oleksak | National Network for Early Language Learning (NNELL)

Rita Oleksak works in Glastonbury, CT as the Director of Foreign Languages/ELL. She is past president of the National Network for Early Language Learning (NNELL), The National Association of District Supervisors of Foreign Languages (NADSFL) and The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL).  As the president of ACTFL, she had the honor of addressing a Senate Sub Committee to present ten priorities for language learning in the United States. She is also past president of the Massachusetts Foreign Language Association (MaFLA), and former co-chair of the K-16 Foreign Language Teachers of Western Massachusetts Collaborative (FLTWM).  Rita received the Pearson Supervisor of the Year Award (NADSFL), the Distinguished Service Award (MaFLA) and the Florence Steiner Award for Leadership in Foreign Language Education, K-12. Rita is currently serving on the MLA Committee for K-16 Academic Alliances and is President for the Joint National Committee on Languages- National Council for Languages and International Studies. (JNCL-NCLIS). 

Kristin Quinlan | CEO, Certified Languages International 

Kristin Quinlan serves as CEO of Certified Languages International, a U.S. based on-demand telephone and video remote interpreting company founded in 1996.  Kristin joined the company in 1999, rising to CEO in 2006. A recognized leader known for approaching business with a unique blend of industry-wide collaboration and “bottom up” management style, she’s led CLI to be named seven times to the Fortune 500/5000 list of America’s fastest growing companies and named third among leading telephone interpreting companies worldwide.

Kristin’s commitment to the language industry earned her a position on the Association of Language Companies’ (ALC) Executive Board of Directors (2010-2014). She was recently appointed to the Board of Directors for 7000 Languages, a nonprofit that connects endangered language groups with free tools and technology to preserve their languages.

Outside of industry leadership, Kristin is an Advisory Board member for the ALS Association, a former board member of the National Charity League, Pacific Crest Outward Bound, and The Junior League. She also lends her time volunteering with many local nonprofits.

Kristin has a BA in English Literature from the University of Oregon. 


Amanda Seewald, M.Ed. | MARACAS Language Programs / Learning Kaleidoscope Educational Consulting

Amanda Seewald is the owner of MARACAS Language Programs and Learning Kaleidoscope Educational Consulting.   She is the author of the MARACAS curriculum and the upcoming MARACAS La Clase del Mundo easy reader series.

Amanda has been teaching children, coaching educators, and developing curricula for over 20 years. Her expertise is in multilingual/multicultural curriculum and instruction, focused on early language learning as well as dual language immersion education.  Amanda works with educators and schools across the country as well as in Europe to develop meaningful language programs founded in globally engaged curricula and strong interactive instruction. Amanda is a regular presenter at national, regional, and state conferences. 


As an advocate for language education, Amanda has been actively involved with JNCL-NCLIS as the official delegate for the Foreign Language Educators of New Jersey (FLENJ) and as a small business member.  In New Jersey as well as at the federal level, Amanda works with legislative offices to garner support for legislation and funding. Her advocacy led to the signing of the N.J. Seal of Biliteracy into law in 2016 and to the development of pending legislation for dual language immersion grants.

Amanda is the Immediate Past President of FLENJ and President-elect of JNCL-NCLIS.  She is the N.J. State Representative for the National Network for Early Language Learning (NNELL) and has also served on the board of the Northeast Conference for the Teaching of Foreign Languages (NECTFL).  Most recently, Amanda joined the Board of Directors for the Pulsera Project to develop their education committee. Amanda is a speaker of Spanish, French, and Japanese.

To learn more about Learning Kaleidoscope or MARACAS visit, on Facebook @learningkaleidoscope, or Twitter @maracas123.


Caitilin Walsh | Chair of Education & Pedagogy Committee, American Translators Association (ATA)

Caitilin Walsh is an ATA-Certified French-English translator who delights in producing publication-quality translations for the computer industry and food lovers alike. A graduate of Willamette University (OR) and the Université de Strasbourg (France), and a past-President of the American Translators Association, she currently chairs the ATA Education & Pedagogy Committee. She brings her strong opinions on professionalism as an instructor of Ethics and Business Practices at the Translation and Interpreting Institute at Bellevue College, and to the T&I Advisory Committee for the Puget Sound Skills Center (both in Washington State). When not at her computer, she can be found pursuing creative endeavors from orchestra to the kitchen. She can be emailed at, and you can follow her on Twitter @caitilinwalsh.


Santiago Wood, Ph.D. | Executive Director, National Association for Bilingual Education (NABE)

Dr. Santiago Wood is the Executive Director for the National Association for Bilingual Education (NABE) in the greater metropolitan area of Washington, DC.  Since 1972 NABE is the exclusive national professional organization devoted to representing Bilingual and Dual Language Learners and Bilingual Education professionals. NABE has affiliates in more than 20 states and 3 overseas affiliates in China, Spain and Mexico that collectively work with many education leaders and policymakers to represent Bilingual and Dual Language Learners, teachers, parents, paraprofessionals, administrators, professors, advocates, researchers, board members, corporate partners and 18 special interest Groups (SIG’s); focusing on effective pedagogy, research and practice related to bilingual education and Dual Language Instruction.


Santiago Wood is an English Learner and former US Department of Education Title VII and American Council on Education (ACE) Fellow. He earned his doctorate degree in Second Language Acquisition, Multicultural Education and International Trade from the University of San Francisco with high honors under the guidance of Dr. Alma Flor Ada and Paolo Freire.  Dr. Wood also holds earned degrees in Business Administration and Finance at the Bachelors and Masters levels and an Honorary JD from Armstrong University in Berkeley. He also earned post-graduate Certification in Urban School Superintendent Leadership and Administration from the Superintendents Academy at Harvard University Kennedy School of Business. Dr. Wood is a veteran educator who has served successfully in various capacities in the K-16 environment beginning as a bilingual teaching assistant and ESL teacher, central office administrator, assistant professor, university trustee and superintendent of schools in several large urban school districts in California and abroad.  


Included among his many distinctions are the coveted Mexican Government Distinguished “Ohtli” Diplomatic Award, Condecoration from King Juan Carlos II of Spain with the “Order of Santa Maria La Antigua,” Amigos de la Prensa Latina Award, Latino Educator of the Year, LULAC National Hispanic Educator of the Year, National Urban League “Ron Brown” Impact Award.  Santiago Wood also served as a member of the Presidential Commission on the transfer of the Panama Canal. He is also the recipient of several Congressional and Legislative citations for Educational Excellence and Community Development. Dr. Santiago Wood is a second-generation immigrant with roots in Panama and Puerto Rico. He is fluently bilingual in Spanish, Portuguese, French and English. He is a dedicated father and husband and serves on several international youth mentoring and scholarship foundations. Dr. Santiago Wood is a humble leader with a strong belief in the liberating power of education and the resiliency and unlimited possibilities of All Children.  As a successful immigrant and parent he has seen first hand the lifelong empowering impact of high expectations, beliefs and shared parental and teacher responsibility that enable students to become “world changers.”  Dr. Wood is a student of Jose Marti’s philosophy, “Los Niños son la Esperanza del Mundo” and Paolo Frere’s “Pedagogy of the Oppressed.” He attributes his success to his deep and abiding faith in God and belief in family and mentors. He is committed to giving back to his community and to building a strong and prosperous legacy for his family and community. Serving along side his wife in a local ministry, they have been able to influence the lives of many people in their community and abroad in the international ministry field in Central America, Caribbean and SE Asia.


Edward Zarrow, Ph.D. | Advocacy Coordinator, Massachusetts Foreign Language Association (MaFLA)

Dr. Edward "Ted" Zarrow earned his Ph.D. in Classics and Ancient History from Yale in 2007, and he is currently in his 12th year teaching Latin at Westwood High School in Westwood, MA.  He is currently the Advocacy Coordinator for the Massachusetts Foreign Language Association, (MaFLA), and the Massachusetts representative to the National Council of State Supervisors of Foreign Languages (NCSSFL).  He has won numerous teaching awards for his unorthodox approaches to teaching language, history, & culture, and he is regarded as a national language advocate. He was the ACTFL 2016 National Language Teacher of the Year.