Iowa World
Language Association

At the 2018 Conference, the following officer positions will be elected:

Candidates for Vice-President (2018-2019)

Mark Bates, Professor of Spanish at Simpson College, Indianola, IA

I am Mark Bates, Professor at Spanish Simpson College. My passions include teaching language through culture, Latin America in general and Nicaragua specifically, and issues of social justice

I have been a participant at IWLA for 20 years, many times as a presenter. As a way of thanks, I would to try to give back to IWLA for all the great colleagues, presentations, and ideas I have taken away from the conference by serving as your Vice President.

Christina Cortez, Spanish Teacher at Denver Community Schools, Denver, IA

I am running for Vice President of IWLA because I have a passion for helping other world language teachers. My love of languages started when I began studying Spanish my sophomore year of high school. During my senior year I had the opportunity to travel abroad to Mexico on a missions trip and my life was forever changed. When I started college in the fall I was assigned to my first field experience opportunity.  I had the privilege to be in a HS Spanish classroom and an ESL classroom with ELL learners. I saw how hard the ELL students worked to learn English and how learning another language opened doors for them. It was in that moment that I knew my calling was to spend my life helping others learn languages. This desire to help others led me to the University of Northern Iowa where I graduated with a B.A. in both TESOL/ Spanish teaching. This is my 8th year of teaching ESL and Spanish. In my current position I have had the opportunity to work with K-12 ESL students as well as Spanish language learning students in grades 6-12. In my classroom I have a passion for connecting and building community with students while fostering a love for the target language and culture.

In addition to sharing my love of languages with my students, I love connecting with other teachers. Through mentoring local teachers and presenting at conferences I have been able to connect with so many others who share the same passion for language learning. After presenting at the IWLA conference, I desired to be more involved in IWLA and began serving on the IWLA grant committee. I have seen what an awesome job our current and past presidents have done in advancing initiatives such as the Seal of Biliteracy and world language competencies in our state. I hope to continue these efforts growing our membership, connecting IWLA teachers year-round, creating more professional development opportunities, and striving to help Iowa world language teachers. Thank you for your consideration!

Sam Finneseth, Spanish Teacher and Language Acquisition Lead at DMPS, Des Moines, IA

As a second-career teacher, coming from the world of social work, my original plan with Spanish was to learn it to make more money. However, now I am a Spanish teacher with Des Moines Public Schools and I am rich in love of my students and career. Today I ask for your vote for IWLA Vice President.

After I graduated with my teaching degree and license, I was hired as a department of 1 in a small rural town. I started five weeks after having my second child to walk in and find two pieces of paper on a desk; that was it. Feeling isolated, I Google searched and found the IWLA. The support, the professional development, and this group were life changing. I am now with Des Moines Public Schools teaching middle school heritage and non-heritage Spanish classes. This year I serve twice the number of students on my roster than the population of my previous school. I have been blogging at SurprisinglySpanish to talk about classroom management, resources, advocating for teachers, and heritage classes. I was awarded a grant from IWLA several years ago, presented twice for IWLA and Comprehensible Input Iowa. It would be an honor to give back to an organization that advocates for both my students and myself. I believe my non-traditional route and experience in diverse learning conditions helps me begin to understand the needs of teachers across the state. I want to continue the work on IWLA language standards, help schools understand the Seal of Biliteracy, and work for stronger teacher collaboration between districts knowing we are each other’s best resources. Thank you for your consideration.

Candidate for Treasurer (2018-2020)

Stacy Amling, Professor of Spanish at Des Moines Area Community College, Ankeny, IA

I am seeking re-election to serve as IWLA Treasurer for what I hope to be my final term. Being Treasurer as part of the IWLA Board has given me so much and has challenged me to develop new skill sets and professional networks beyond what I had imagined when I first volunteered to serve. maintaining the IWLA financial records and working with my fellow Board members to make the best use of our resources and continue our numerous other projects. We have sought new ways to manage our resources and to continue supporting our members and providing high-quality professional network. I have represented IWLA at state, regional, and national conferences, including ACTFL's Leadership Initiative for Language Learning Cohort 2 (2016-2019), the ACTFL and CSCTFL delegate assemblies, and as a finalist for CSCTFL Teacher of the Year 2018. These experiences have helped me to find my voice as a language advocate, to continually grow as an educator, and to strive to refocus my community college students’ goals toward developing their language proficiency as a personal and professional skill, rather than simply meeting their college requirement. I look forward to the opportunity to continue representing you, our students, and our profession, in our future IWLA endeavors. Thank you for your support of my candidacy (and let me know if you're interested in running for treasurer in 2020, too)!

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