NECTFL Teacher of the Year

2023 Northeast Conference Teacher of the Year

Claudia Decker, Nashua North High School, NH representing New Hampshire Association of World Language Teachers, NHAWLT

Claudia Decker

Developing cultural competence is about engaging students in real time through authentic resources rather than standard textbooks.  It is about taking up skillets to make and integrate food into lessons. It means using technology effectively to connect with communities around the world as they participate in traditions like the Festival of Kites in Guatemala.  It means comparing, sharing, and examining our own harvest and spring celebrations across the United States with English Language learners. Learning language is about communicating with people about contemporary issues.  My students have gained confidence from interviewing recent graduates in the Dominican Republic,  metallurgic engineers in Argentina, and Ukrainian refugees in Spain.  Our collective survival as a world depends on empathy cultivated through global language education  As students become ambassadors of their own knowledge, experience, and proficiency from classroom to community to workplace, therein do we find the hope for peace.  

2023 Teacher of the Year candidates with Conference Chair Margarita Dempsey

About the Award

Each year, the Northeast Conference chooses its Teacher of the Year from among the candidates selected by the states in the Northeast region. This individual represents our organization at the National Language Teacher of the Year competition at the ACTFL Convention in November. The award for the National Language Teacher of the Year is intended to elevate the status and the public profile of the language teaching profession at the state, regional and national levels by recognizing the individuals chosen for this award.


Nominations may only come from NECTFL-region state associations. Successful candidates must be full-time language educators who spend at least fifty-percent (50%) of their time in direct teaching during the year of application with an expectation of teaching during the next two (2) years.

How to Apply

ACTFL requests that state associations choose a state Teacher of the Year during fall. State winner names and supporting documents (as described on the ACTFL website) should be submitted to NECTFL by the due date noted below. Because portfolio preparation is is an involved process, state associations should inform NECTFL if they have a nominee as early as they can. In January, the NECTFL TOY Committee will review all state dossiers, interview candidates, and choose a regional winner who will be announced as the next Northeast Conference Teacher of the Year. We encourage all states in our region to publicize this award which helps the profession to designate a spokesperson to carry our message to the wider public and serve as an inspiration to language educators.

Obligations and Financial Support

All state-association nominees are invited to attend the conference and the NECTFL Awards Ceremony to be recognized for their achievement. NECTFL provides a complimentary conference registration and one night at the conference hotel for each nominee. State associations also provide support to help cover travel expenses.

Access all guidelines, forms and application documents at the ACTFL website: ACTFL TOY homepage
All materials submitted to NECTFL must be shared with via Google Drive. Please do not mail or email your materials. Please contact us for details and guidelines on sharing your portfolio.
The deadline to submit portfolios to NECTFL is Martin Luther King Day January 16, 2023.

Past Winners
2022 NECTFL Teacher of the Year
Trudy Anderson,
New Haven Public Schools, CT, The Connecticut Council of Language Teachers

2021 NECTFL Teacher of the Year
Dr. Ashley Warren,
West Windsor-Plainsboro Regional School District, NJ (FLENJ)

2020 NECTFL Teacher of the Year
Megan Flinchbaugh
Manheim Central High School (PSMLA)

2019 NECTFL Teacher of the Year and 2020 ACTFL Teacher of the Year
Rebecca Blouwolff
Wellesley Middle School (MaFLA)

2018 NECTFL Teacher of the Year and 2019 ACTFL Teacher of the Year
Rebecca Aubrey
Ashford School (CT COLT)

2017 NECTFL Teacher of the Year
Caleb Howard
Dr. William Mennies Elementary School (FLENJ)

2016: NECTFL and 2017 ACTFL Teacher of the Year
Katrina Griffin (MFLA)

North County High School, Glen Burnie, MD


2015: NECTFL and 2016 ACTFL Teacher of the Year
Dr. Edward Zarrow (MaFLA)

Westwood High School in Westwood, MA
2014: Hannah Gonzalez (MFLA)
Mt. Hebron HS, Woodbine, MD
2013: Margarita Boyatzi Dempsey (RIFLA)
Smithfield High School, Smithfield, RI
2012: Lucy Chu Lee, FLENJ & CLASS
Livingston High School, Livingston, NJ
lee photo
2011: Sherri Harkins, MFLA
Wicomico County Public Schools, MD
2010: Maryann Woods-Murphy, FLENJ
Northern Highlands Regional HS, Allendale, NJ
2009: Vickie Mike, NYSAFLT
Horseheads High School, Horseheads, NY
Vickie Mike 300dpi
2008: Emily Z. Wagner, PSMLA
Germantown Academy, Fort Washington, PA
ezw photo 1-1
2007: NECTFL and 2008, ACTFL Teacher of the Year, Janet L. Glass, FLENJ
Dwight-Englewood School, Englewood, NJ
2006: Christi Moraga, CT COLT
West Woods Upper Elementary School, Farmington, CT

2005: Stephanie Appel, FLENJ
Fair Lawn Public School District, Bergen County, NJ