Iowa World
Language Association

IWLA 2021 Conference Speaker: 

Kerisa "Keeka" Baedke

Kerisa “Keeka” Baedke has been a world language teacher in Iowa for thirty-three years. 

Though her first teaching job was actually as an “assistante” in two French middle schools where she helped the English teaching staff.  Here in Iowa, Keeka has taught both French and Spanish at the middle school and high school levels first in West Delaware, then West Des Moines, and finally in Waukee from where she retired this Spring. She has taught everything from exploratory French and Spanish to French 1 and 2, and all levels of Spanish, finally taking on AP in this, the last year of her career.  In addition to teaching, Keeka served as Dean of El Lago del Bosque Spanish Language Village at Concordia Language Villages for 16 summers. She has also served as an instructor in Concordia College’s Master of Education in World Language Instruction for five years, where she teaches the assessment course. 

Keeka has been very active both in IWLA and the Central States Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (CSCTFL).  She is a past president of the IWLA.  She is currently on the IWLA Advisory Council and is also co-program chair of the annual conference. Keeka served for five years on the Board of Directors of the CSCTFL, culminating in the 2015 CSCTFL conference - Learn Languages, Explore Cultures, Transform Lives for which she was program chair.  Keeka is a regular presenter at IWLA and at CSCTFL. 

In 1997, Keeka was named IWLA Educator of the Year.  In 2009 she was a finalist for the CSCTFL Teacher of the Year.  In October of 2017, Keeka was presented the IWLA Distinguished Service Award for her years of outstanding service to the profession.  In 2019 Keeka was selected by the Iowa State Education Association as the recipient of the Excellence in Education Award for the state of Iowa.  She went on to win a national award, the 2020 Horace Mann Award for teaching Excellence, Keeka was the first Iowan to win one of the national awards. 

Keeka has a passion for people, language, and cultures. “Comunidad” is her favorite word. Keeka’s primary goal in any class she teaches is to build community, and then she loves to teach young people to communicate with others and understand cultures while they gain a better view of their own place in the world.  When not teaching young people, Keeka loves to give presentations. She has given over fifty presentations at the state, regional and national levels, lately branching out into online conferences. Keeka also loves working with both pre-service and early career educators.  She hopes to be doing all of those things in retirement.

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