Our AFLA Board
Nelressa's TEFL career is a global journey in culturally responsive education. She began in East Orange, New Jersey, introducing calming practices to a multicultural student body. Her path led to South Korea, where she trained teachers and taught young learners. In the UAE, she established SABIS English programs.
In Saudi Arabia, she helped to establish Vocational Colleges for Girls. A Master's Scholarship led to her commitment to decolonize education and promote social justice due to the violence against African Americans. She pursued a TESOL Doctor of Education in Dubai, presenting her insights at the TESOL Conference.
Heading the ESL department in China, Nelressa continued to grow. She immersed herself in Indigenous culture in the Arctic, promoting culturally responsive education and language reclamation. A full PhD scholarship in Teacher Education for Social Justice and Diversity with a focus on Indigenous pedagogy followed in 2021 with the University of Lapland.
As an Indigenous content writer, she developed resources for US territories including Hawaii and Guam. Leading teacher training in Zimbabwe, she embraced modern learning techniques using drones, 3D printing, and coding, while decolonizing curricula. Currently, she's engaged in Indigenous Teacher Awareness CRE with the Knik Tribe of Alaska. In the Mat-Su School District, she supports diverse students and creates content to advance transformative education using cross-curricular, holistic, project and land based CRE approaches.
Carla teaches Japanese at Palmer High School, her alma mater, where her true love of language, other cultures, and people began as a student.
A three-week home stay and high school exchange to Palmer’s Sister City, Saroma, Japan ignited a desire to explore the world. After high school she studied in Gnosjo, Sweden for one year as an AFS exchange student. She then majored in Secondary English Education and minored in Japanese Language at the University of Wyoming. Her junior year of university, she studied as a Rotary Scholar at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. After university graduation she was invited to return to Saroma to teach English in the town's middle schools and work as an educator and translator for the local school board. She taught in Japan for three and a half years and is now in her 27th year of teaching Japanese in Mat-Su. In addition to teaching world language, Carla loves growing new teachers. She also teaches Educators Rising, which is a career pathway for students interested in education.
When Carla isn’t in school, you can find her playing in Alaska's outdoors with her husband Lance, eleven-year-old son Billy, and dog Cici. She loves hanging out at the cabin in Talkeetna, hiking, playing hockey, floating the Kenai, watching Kansas City Chiefs football games, and traveling the globe.
Dr. Hiroko Harada
Hiroko Harada, the recipient of the Japanese Foreign Minister’s Commendation for FY2022, is Professor & Coordinator of Japanese at the University of Alaska Anchorage. She has contributed to the establishment of two exchange programs with Hokkaido University of Education and Iwate University, co-established the UAA-HUE Internship Program, and co-founded Alaska Japanese Speech Contest and Alaska Association of Teachers of Japanese, and together launched the Alaska Japanese Language Pedagogy Workshop.
She is also the Director of the Center for the Japanese Language & Culture, which was established to commemorate Montgomery (‘Monty’) Dickson, UAA graduate with a B.A. in Japanese, who perished in the 2011 Tsunami in Japan. Among the signature product of the center is the Japanese Tea Room created on campus in 2016. The stories of Monty and the Center were broadcast worldwide through the NHK World Japan in 2016. *NHK=The Japan Broadcasting Corporation.
She is the author of Aspects of Post-War German and Japanese Drama (1945-1970): Reflections of War, Guilt and Responsibility (2000). She also a co-author of Monty’s Kakehashi to Tomorrow (2014). She has translated two books and materials related to the Battle of Attu (the battle between Japanese and American Armies during WWII) for the National Park Service and U.S. Army Center of Military History. Her most recent publication is the Japanese translation of The Attu Boy, a Memoir by Nick Golodoff from the Attu Island (2021).
Harada was an invited speaker for the Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership’s Online Seminar Series, Seminar #4: 10 Years After the Great East Japan Earthquake (2021).
Harada is a recipient of the 2021 PNCFL Ray Verzasconi Northwest Postsecondary Language Educator of the Year Award, and also the 2015 American Association of Teachers of Japanese Teacher Award.
She is also a first violin player for the Anchorage Symphony Orchestra.
Will Kimball was born April 15th 1964 at Swedish Hospital in Seattle, Washington and has been a Nor'wester all of his life. Will grew up in Eugene, Oregon, where he attended the University of Oregon and received a BA in German Language and Literature with a minor in Biology in 1987.
Will received an MA in German Language and Literature from Oregon in 1990.
Will has lived in Russia, Holland, Germany, Switzerland, England, Japan, Norway, and Finland. Will has visited the rest of Scandinavia, Italy, France, Austria, Mexico, and Canada. Will's father is a professor of Russian History at the University of Oregon and his mother was a painter. Will's sister sings in the Eugene Opera and his brother-in-law is the principal bassist in the Eugene Symphony, but also sits in jazz combos.
Will teaches German Language and Biology at West Anchorage High. Will's wife, Jenny, is also a teacher at West High. Jenny is also an endurance athlete and outdoor enthusiast. Will has competed twice in the US Olympic Trials marathon in 1996 and 2000 and has run a 2:16:53 marathon at the California International Marathon in Sacramento in 1993. Will enjoys all outdoor pursuits, especially fishing, running, skiing, snowshoeing, horses, hiking, and biking. Will is especially proud of the fact that he has caught all 5 species of Pacific Salmon on the fly, but hasn't yet done that on the same day.
Charles Beattie teaches German and Mathematics at Dimond High School in in the Anchorage School District. He's an energetic member of the German community even though he describes his German degree as "an accidental degree due to taking too many classes for fun while pursuing a mathematics Bachelor".
While he teaches in Anchorage now, his past teaching experience includes working at the Martin-Andersen-Nexö-Gymnasium in Dresden, Germany. He is also the treasurer of the Alaska Chapter for the American Association of Teachers of German and is the 2019 inaugural recipient of the Jo Sanders Teacher of Energy and Passion Award.
Michele Whaley has been teaching Russian to all ages for more than 30 years. She shares her passion for language acquisition at national conferences and workshops, and supports teachers through social media. She was twice the World Language Teacher of the Year (ToY) for Alaska, the 2016 Pacific Northwest ToY, and a finalist for the 2017 ACTFL ToY. She transitioned from public school to university and online company and college Russian lessons, then added Spanish for a private independent school. When not teaching, Michele plays recorders in a Baroque music ensemble. She also likes to be rowing, Nordic skating, skiing, or hiking with her family and their antisocial sled dog.
Originally from southern Spain, Amanda moved to Alaska in 2014 where she taught Spanish and Social Studies at Mirror Lake Middle School (Spanish Immersion) and then at Teeland Middle School. In 2022, Amanda made the move to high school and is currently a Spanish Teacher at Wasilla High School. She holds a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in English (as a second language), as well as a Master’s degree in Advertising and Public Relations (Communication) from the Universidad de Cádiz, Spain. Previously, Amanda has taught English as a second language in Spain to elementary, secondary, and college level students at a private language academy. Amanda enjoys international travel with her husband and their four daughters.
Rebeca Maseda Garcia
Rebeca Maseda García is Professor of Spanish, and Spanish Coordinator, in the Department of Languages at the University of Alaska Anchorage where she teaches language and culture classes focused on topics related to gender violence and cinema in Spain, historical memory and the Spanish Civil War, and contemporary Latin American and Iberian cinemas. She has an extensive record of publications (as well as grants, conference presentations, guest lectures, etc.) on film, media and gender. Her last publications include two co-edited volumes with prestigious publishing companies: Gender and Violence in Spanish Culture. From Vulnerability to Accountability (Peter Lang, 2018) and Gender-Based Violence in Latin American and Iberian Cinemas (Routledge, 2020). She has been an associate investigator on two R+D projects: ‘The re-signification of women as victims in popular culture: implications towards representational innovation in the construction of vulnerability and resistance’ and ‘Mediatization of Women’s Rage: Intelligibility Frameworks and Strategies of Politicizing Transformation.’ Dr. Maseda is also the co-author of ‘Finding Your “Spanish” Voice Through Popular Media: Improving Students Confidence and Fluency,’ published in the International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning. Volume 14.3 (2014).
Aline Hopkins has been teaching world languages for over 20 years. She holds two master's degrees in Francophone and Brazilian Literatures, from Universidade Federal Fluminense (Rio de Janeiro) and Arts of Teaching , from UAA.
She started her career teaching French at Michelin, Alliance Française, French immersion school in Rio de Janeiro. She also had the opportunity to live in France and teach Portuguese. Once she came to Alaska, she has been teaching French at UAA and Dimond High school for the last 19 years.
Aline is passionate about her family, travelling and discovering new cultures.