By Ben Hawkins

The Kentucky World Language Association (KWLA) is seeking nominations for Outstanding New Teacher, Outstanding Post-Secondary Teacher, Outstanding Teacher (K-16), Outstanding Administrator, Lifetime Achievement, and Amici Linguarum – or “Friend of Languages.” Winners will be announced at the association’s annual conference in September.

Founded in 1974, the Kentucky World Language Association is dedicated to the improvement and expansion of the teaching and learning of all languages at all levels of instruction. The KWLA Awards Program was designed to further advance the group’s mission to better serve the world language teachers and students of Kentucky.

The person who is named Outstanding Teacher will go on to the regional Southern Conference on Language Teaching (SCOLT) to vie for the title of SCOLT Language Teacher of the Year. The SCOLT winner then goes on to the national level at the annual American Council of the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) Convention & Expo in the hopes of being named ACTFL’s next National Language Teacher of the Year.

For the second year in a row, a Kentucky teacher has won the SCOLT Teacher of the Year Award and advanced to the national competition at ACTFL. In 2015, Laura Roché-Youngworth – a French Teacher in Fayette County – was named the KWLA Outstanding Teacher and the SCOLT Teacher of the Year.

Brenna Byrd

Brenna Byrd

Then again in 2016, Brenna Byrd – an assistant professor of German at the University of Kentucky – was named the KWLA Outstanding Teacher. She went on to compete at the regional conference at SCOLT in March in Orlando, where she was named the 2017 SCOLT Teacher of the Year. Byrd has advanced to the national level to contend for ACTFL’s highest prize, National Language Teacher of the Year, at its convention in Nashville, Tenn., in November.

In addition to the awards given to world language teachers, KWLA also recognizes education professionals whose primary responsibilities and duties lie outside the area of world language teaching. The KWLA Outstanding Administrator Award recognizes a Kentucky administrator from any level of instruction K-16 who has shown great levels of support to world language teachers and the work they do. For those who work outside the teaching or education profession yet still show enormous support for world language teaching, KWLA recognizes these individuals or organizations with the Amici Linguarum – or “Friend of Languages” – Award.

To nominate someone for an award, check the following guidelines and deadlines:

  • In general, nominees will have to submit to the awards committee a combination of the following: letters of recommendation from colleagues, administrators, parents and/or students; along with a few other documents, such as a curriculum vitae and an essay on the importance of developing linguistic and cultural competencies.
  • To nominate for the KWLA Outstanding Teacher Award, submit by May 15 to the president of the affiliate language teaching organization that corresponds with the language taught by the person you wish to nominate:
    • name of nominee;
    • language(s) taught;
    • school/organization;
    • email address;
    • contact number, and
    • name of person who is nominating.

    The list of contact emails for each president can be found online here. If there isn’t an affiliate language teaching organization for the language your candidate teaches, send the information to Awards Committee Chair Ben Hawkins, a French teacher at East Carter County High School, at

  • To nominate for all other award categories, all information and documentation must be submitted by June 15.

Information about the nomination process can be found on the KWLA website by clicking here.

For any questions, problems or concerns about the awards nomination process, contact the KWLA Awards Committee at