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Our AFLA Board



Sasha Ringgenberg

Sasha teaches sixth-grade German immersion and immersion Social Studies at Rilke Schule German School in Anchorage, Alaska.  She moved to Alaska in 2014 from Oklahoma.  Previously, Sasha taught AP English classes, as well as high school and college-level German.  She has taught German at Mat-Su College in Palmer and has also worked in Distance Learning as an online German adjunct for Ocean County College in New Jersey. 


Sasha is interested in immersion methodology for teaching content.  She is married and lives in Palmer with her children and her dog.  

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Carla Swick

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.

President 2023

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Southeast Representative


Jennie Kelly

Jennie Kelly works at Valdez High School, where she has been teaching French and Spanish as well as education courses since well before the current century. She came to language teaching as an expansion of her career in elementary education. After living in Provence, in the south of France, she completed a Master of Arts in Teaching French at the School for International Training. During the same graduate program, Jennie acquired Spanish from her Bolivian housemates. As she lives far from other AFLA members, Jennie  is always eager to observe and teach with colleagues.


Outside of the classroom, she finds sustenance in getting outdoors every day, playing Irish flute, and making things with yarn. In the summer she guides sailing and kayaking trips aboard the family’s schooner, Aurelia. Jennie and her husband live in a cabin on the tide and off the grid in Prince William Sound.



Will Kimball

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.

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Kristin Dahl

Southcentral Representative


Stephanie Ferrara



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Michele Whaley


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.


Charles Beattie

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.

Betsy Paskvan-Watson

PNCFL Representative

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