Our AFLA Board


President 2022

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.  


Past President

Catherine Freeman

Catherine Freeman grew up in Bordeaux France.   While living in Germany she met her husband, and since relocating with him to the U.S. has lived in 8 states before moving to Alaska in 2013. She graduated from Elmira College in upstate NY, and is now teaching at South Anchorage High School after four years at Romig and Hanshew middle schools.


Catherine enjoys all that Alaska is offering as well as traveling with students to France. She is an active member of the French Language Advocate Anchorage, which through its efforts has recently won approval for the opening of the French Immersion school opening in the Fall 2019. 

Jennifer Kelly.png

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.



Dr. Hiroko Harada

Hiroko Harada 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.

Dr. 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.



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.

Kristin Dahl.jpeg

Kristin Dahl

Southcentral Representative




Svetlana Nuss

Svetlana lives with a passion in her heart: studying and teaching English and Russian philology and applied linguistics. She helps districts establish and develop EL coaching programs to support their classroom teachers in making content accessible to English learners. She teaches online graduate courses for the College of Education, Bilingual Literacy and TESOL Certification, Grand Canyon University. 


As a linguist and researcher at the University of Alaska, she experiments on how to improve instructional practices for morphologically rich languages like Russian. She believes in supporting the profession and serves on the State of Alaska EL Advisory Committee. In addition to her AFLA board role, Svetlana is also a board member for the Alaska State Literacy Association (ASLA). Most recently, since 2019, she evaluates teacher education programs as an ACTFL/CAEP program accreditation reviewer.

Michele Whaley.jpeg

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.

Locke photo.jpg

PNCFL Representative

Brandon Locke

Brandon Locke is Director of World Languages and Immersion Programs for the Anchorage School District. He provides leadership and professional development for ASD’s 160 world language teachers, including K-12 language immersion programs in Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Russian, and Spanish. He was recently awarded a second significant federal grant to continue the ASD’s first indigenous language immersion program – Yup’ik. 2021 marked Locke’s 22nd year with both ASD as well as Concordia Language Villages/Concordia College (of Bemidji, MN) where he teaches a graduate course each summer on second language and immersion methodologies as part of their M.Ed. in World Language Instruction program.


He has a long history of service to the profession, serving two terms as president of Alaska’s association, AFLA (1998-2002), president of PNCFL (2002-2003), and a second term in 2020. As Immediate-Past President he worked to reinstate an annual regional conference which had not occurred in over 20 years, and finally happened in spring of 2021. He is also the vice president of NADSFL, the National Association of District Supervisors of Foreign Languages; Chair of the ACTFL Immersion SIG for 2021-2022; and Alaska’s representative of NCSSFL, the National Council of State Supervisors for Languages. He has served on a variety of ACTFL committees including the 2018 TOY Selection Committee.


He holds a bachelor’s degree in French and secondary education from the University of Alaska Anchorage. He earned his master’s degree in second languages and cultures education and language immersion education from the University of Minnesota. He holds a second master’s degree in educational leadership from the University of Alaska. He is a doctoral candidate in Literacy, Culture, and Language Education from Indiana University. His dissertation and research focus on Indigenous language revitalization in urban settings. He has been involved with various national grants, such as the STARTALK program, where he has worked as a consultant, program director, and site visitor.