Kansas World Language Association

Promoting and improving teachingProviding professional development. Encouraging cooperation.


KSWLA strives to recognize, reward, and promote excellence and innovation through its awards and scholarships. Scroll down to learn more about the following:

  • Kansas World Language Teacher of the Year
  • Best of Kansas
  • Garinger Scholarship for High School & College Students
  • Alexander Award for Pre-Service Teachers
  • Conference VIPs
  • Mini-Grants for Classroom Innovation
  • ISE "Language Matters" Award

This award is designed to recognize an outstanding person in the language teaching field. The candidate must be a Kansas foreign language educator who has made major contributions to foreign language education. 

The award recipient receives state-wide recognition, a $500 stipend to represent KSWLA as a TOY at the Central States Conference  (CSCTFL), and a one-year ACTFL Membership. The recipient will provide photograph and mini-bio for press releases. KSWLA will provide a complimentary meal for one guest of the recipient at the Conference banquet.

Nomination forms are due to Past-President by June 15th. Use the online nomination form for Teacher of the Year found here. For further information, contact the KSWLA Past President.

2016: Jodi Nichols-Johnson, Blue Valley North High School
2015: (no nomination)
2014: Chuck Thorpe, Spanish and German, Kansas State University
2013: Kris Scheuerman, German, Shawnee Mission West HS
2011: Nora Kelting, French, Newton High School
2010: Karen Tritt, Spanish, Shawnee Mission West High School
2009: Paula Biggar, Spanish, Sumner Academy of Arts & Science
2008: Marilyn Bolton, Spanish and Italian, Buhler High School
2007: Sally Guillen, Spanish, Shawnee Mission South High School
2006: Wanda Tilford, German, Bishop Caroll High School
2005: Patricia Staver, Ph.D., FL Methods, Kansas State University

2004: Jenifer Banks, German, Topeka West High School
2003: Karen Tritt, Spanish, Westridge Middle School, Shawnee Mission
2002: Anke M. Wells, German, Seaman High School
2001: Jane Bodecker, Spanish, Halstead High School
2000: Diane DeNoon, coordinating teacher, Blue Valley School District
1999: Cherice Montgomery, Spanish, Southeast High School
1998: Doris VanderGiesen, French, Hutchinson High School
1997: Linda Bankes, Spanish, Abilene High School
1996: Ruth S. Campos, Spanish, Sumner Academy of Kansas City
1995: Llona Steele, French, Salina High School South
1994: Ingeborg Teasley, German, Abilene High School
1993: Connie Garcia, Ph.D., Emporia State University

This award for the best conference presentation is based on evaluations from attendees of the KSWLA conference.

The winner is given a stipend of $250 to present his/her session at the Central States Conference approximately 15 months later.

2015: Rebecca Fleming, Andover Central High School, Andover, KS
          "Designing and Managing Learning Menus"
2014: Karen Tritt, Blue Valley West High School, Overland Park, KS

          "Your Single Best Day"
2013: Christina Wolff de Casquino Johnson County Community College,
          "Creating a Professional Plan for Interpreting,"
2012: Chuck Thorpe, Kansas State University
          “Internet Safety for Teenagers: Authentic Video 'Texts' from Argentina and Spain
2011: Suzy Sprenkle, Wamego High School

          “How to Read a Novel and Make It Fun!”
2010: Elke Lorenz, Manhattan High School
         "Learning Languages with Art / Mit Kunst Deutsch Lernen"
2009: Diane DeNoon, District Language Coordinator, Blue Valley Schools
         "Using Technology to Engage Students in Learning”
2008: Brett Klankey, Turner High School, and Bonnie Orozco,
          Ellsworth High School, "E-Tickets Available: Get Your Passports Ready!"
2007: Karen Tritt, Shawnee Mission West High School,
          "What Can I Do with 15 Minutes?"
2006: Bonnie Orozco, Ellsworth High School
         "Chocolate: A Taste of History"

2005: Carol Swinney, HSPN Network,
         "Distance Learning Technologies: Window to the World"
2004: Julie Hughes and Suzanne Kohl, Junction City High School
         "I've Got My Own Class . . . Now What?"
2003: Evelyn Gregg, Newton High School
         "Making Art Come Alive in the Spanish Classroom"
2002: Paula Biggar and Barbara Shaw, Sumner Academy of KC
         "Reading Know-How"
2001: Chuck Thorpe, Kansas State University
         "Casona's La Dama Del Alba for Intermediate Spanish"
2000:  Douglas K. Benson, Kansas State University
         "Language/Culture/Literature:  An Integrated Approach"
1999: Tatiana Sildus, Kansas State University graduate student
         "Video Projects for the Classroom"
1998: Luz María Alvarez, Johnson County Community College
         "Hispanic Movies and Videos"
1997: Phyllis Farrar and Meredith Williams
         "Teaching the Holocaust: A Scenario Linked with Content Areas"
1996: Stephany Orr, Leslie Mason and Kathy Smith, Blue Valley
          Schools "FLES the Blue Valley Way" (This presentation earned "Best of Central States," which was consequently presented
          at ACTFL by a new team of Chris Laren, Jeannie Shaw and Lauri Bledsoe.)


One $500 scholarship is awarded each year in honor of Ermal Garinger, a long-time leader of the association and dedicated member of the profession, who touched many lives through his teaching and service at the University of Kansas.

The candidate must be an outstanding Kansas high school senior who will enroll in a foreign language class their freshman year at an accredited college or university OR a graduated ex-student who is currently a freshman and enrolled in a foreign language class in an accredited university. The candidate must be nominated by a current member of KSWLA.

At the annual KSWLA Conference, the organization will present a $500 cash scholarship to the award recipient. Complimentary meals will be provided to recipient and parents at conference luncheon.

Nomination Process:
The student's teacher fills out the online nomination form (click here), and the student submits a brief written narrative, explaining why he or she desires to continue foreign language studies. Deadline for nomination is June 15th. For further information, contact the KSWLA Past President.

2016: Molly Ptasznik, Wichita East High School, Wichita, KS
2015: Kaley Powers, Andover Central High School
2014: Sarah Newstrom, Blue Valley North High School, Overland Park, KS
2013: Noah Trapp, Ellsworth High School; and
Henry Janzen, Newton High School
2012: Alma Velázquez, Shawnee Mission South High School
2010: Annelise Masters, Burlington High School
2009: Casey Dye, Gardner-Edgerton High School, Garner, KS
2008: (no nomination)
2007: Linzy Kirkpatrick, East High School, Wichita
2006: Timothy Haynes, Lawrence High School, Bethel College, and Baker University
2005: Jeffrey Reece, Larned High School and Fort Hays State University
2004: Adam Hamor
2003: Brandon Weckbaugh, Topeka West High School and Baker University
2002: Manasvi Ravichandar, Wichita East High School and Wichita State University
2001: Jamie Gritz, Eureka High School and Butler County Community College
2000: Tiffany Pankratz, Wichita East High School and Wichita State University
1999: Laci Franklin, Beloit High School and Fort Hays State University
1998: Anne Wallen, Smoky Valley High School and Kansas University
1997: Ben Marsh, Halstead High School and Kansas University
1996: Gina Goheen, French, Beloit High School and Kansas University
1995: Meagan Crough, German, Abilene High School and Baker University
1994: Laura Clark, Spanish, Wichita East High School and Kansas University
1993: Jennifer Kuhn, German, Topeka West High School and Kansas State
          University and Stephanie Morrell, Spanish, Beloit High School and Kansas


The Alexander Award was established in 1998 to be awarded annually to an outstanding future Kansas foreign language teacher, a student currently enrolled in a formal teacher-training program or fulfilling his/her professional semester. It is in honor of Dr. Loren Alexander who taught FL methods and German for many years at Kansas State University.

The candidate must be a future foreign language teacher who is currently under the supervision and/or training in an accredited Kansas university. The candidate must be nominated by a professional foreign language educator who is a current member of KSWLA.

The award recipient will receive a two-year membership to KSWLA and current conference registration including meals. Nominations must be submitted by June 15th. For further information, contact the KSWLA Past President.

2016: Claire Schoettner, Benedictine College
2015: Mason Talbott, Wichita State University
2014: Annika Schneider, Kansas State University
2013: (no nominee)
2012: (no nominee)
2011: Elizabeth Carmen Wilson, Kansas State University
2010: Jessie Skala, Wichita State University
2009: María Elizabeth Chávez Miller, Friends University
2008: Lindsey Alexander, Friends University
2007: Joanna Lord, Friends University
2006: Daagya Dick, Friends University
2005: Courtney VanSant, Friends University
2004: Erin Douglas, Pittsburg State University
2003: Regina Winemiller, Pittsburg State University
2002: (no nominee)
2001: Heather Bledsoe, Pittsburg State University
2000: Ronda Montieth, University of Kansas
1999: Jodi Parsons, Pittsburg State University
1998: Amy Poos, University of Kansas


We want to help first-year teachers get a good start on their professional careers. We assist five teachers in attending the Conference, serve them supper on Friday night, and arrange a visit with the keynote speaker and KSWLA officers.

To be considered for this benefit, simply write a letter to KSWLA Past President, explaining what you believe to be the benefits of membership in a professional organization during one's career.

VIP status will be awarded on a first come, first served basis. Registration and one-year KSWLA membership costs will be covered. Foreign nationals not paying taxes in the U.S. are not eligible for this grant. Send your letter to the KSWLA Past President.



2015: Heather Cox, St Mary?s Colgan High School; Pittsburg Chelsea Funk, Oakley High School; Shelly Power, Salina Central High School

2014: Elizabeth Janzen, Salina Central HS; Rachel Bolter, Shawnee Mission Schools; Susanna Tippett, Newton HS; Heather Cox, St. Mary's Colgan HS

2013: Sally Hardy, Atchinson Community HS; Cynthia Hartwell, Shawnee Mission South HS; Emily Majerle, St. Thomas Aquinas HS

2012: Lee Dixon, Shawnee Mission South HS; Katherine Seyfried, Junction City HS; Paige Pate, Galena and Riverton HS; 
Casey Bell, Abilene HS; Kristal Jurich, Royster Middle School

2011: Brigette Burandt, Paola Fuentes, Carmen Shirley, Erin Schoen,Claudia Torrez

2010: Rebecca Fleming, Margarita Santiago, Bailey Charland, Shelley Marsh, Rachel Kelly

2009: Miriam Friesen, Kelly Hammond, Mira Ristic

2008: Lindsy Cusic, Liz Gordon, Adam Hamor, Melinda Velásquez, Camille Woods

2007: Lisa Gielelman, Erin Groeteke, Jennifer Kellen, Marissa Mar, Katie Weil, Megan Woods

2006: Malorie Farrington, Michael Flenthrope, Jessica Hodges, Tara Murrish, Megan Payn, Hollie Porter

2005: Kim Anderson, Carol Furrow, Katie Holloway, Amber Kellenberger, Chelle Leininger

2004: Chris Colyer, Kerri Hoisington, Kristine Gregory, Michelle Tamburini, Ann Walker

2003: Suzanne Kohl, Julie Hughes


Two grants of $200 each are available annually to KSWLA members for innovative classroom projects. Any creative idea is worthy, except funding teacher training or travel.

The application process is simple: write a one-page proposal including:

  • a goal statement;
  • a budget; and
  • a project description.

Preference will be given to proposals with clear intent related to language-learning standard implementation that will impact learners.

The grant will be awarded at the KSWLA Conference. Recipients will report on completed projects by presenting a session at the following Conference or by writing an article for the Bulletin.

Deadline for grant proposals is June 15th. For further information, contact the KSWLA Past President.


2015: Laia Tena Girones, Mead High School/A+ Network, "Photo Albums"
2014: Hollie Timson, Colby High School, "Videocameras for Cultural Commercials"
2010: Stephanie French, Olathe South High School, "Airplane Atmosphere"
2009: Mary Smith, Gardner-Edgerton High School, "Spanish IV Storybooks"
2008: No applicant
2007: No applicant
2006: Amelia Adams, Liberal, West M.S., "Foreign Language Fair"
2006: Pat Wittry, Baldwin High School, "Lo Más TV"
2005: Merri Archibald, Spanish market stations
2004: no applicant
2003: no applicant
2002: Anke M. Wells, Seaman High School, "Soccer Fans"
2001: no applicant
2000: Tanya Farrar, Harmony Middle School, French music CD's
1999: Alice J. Russell, Wellsville High School, Video Camera
1998: Debbie Withers, Pratt High School, Puppets
1997: Penny Armstrong, Pittsburg Schools, Spanish Children's Storybooks
Intercultural Student Experiences (ISE) is pleased to make available to KSWLA a special recognition award for its membership. The ISE Language Matters Award is granted to a high school teacher through a nomination and selection process determined by KSWLA.

The ISE Language Matters Award shall consist of a framed award certificate and a $250 grant.

ELIGILBITY:  The applicant selected for this award shall be a high school teacher of a world language who has achieved outstanding success in getting his / her students to speak the target language through exemplary motivation and creative methods; in addition, the winner shall be a teacher who has provided authentic immersion experiences outside the classroom for students to apply their speaking skills. No prior association or experience with ISE is required of the nominee.

Submit a letter of application to the KSWLA Past President by September 30. Include specific narrative to support your qualifications with regards to the criteria described above under 'Eligibility.'

2015: Daniela Thrasher, Junction City High School
2014: Nan Bergen, Newton High School
2013: Carol Bar, Blue Valley High School, Overland Park, KS
2012: Lora Gallego-Haynes, Hays High School
2011: Alyson Kilcoyn, Blue Valley Southwest High School