Teacher of the Year
The 2024 MALT Teacher of the Year is Paul Asleson!
Paul Asleson is in his 10th year of teaching and currently works as a German teacher in Billings Public Schools. He teaches primarily upper level classes and is also the department chair for world languages at his school. He is very involved with the AP German course, including being a reader for the exam each summer, working on a content development team for the AP exam, as well as recently becoming a consultant for the College Board.
Paul is committed to the belief that language learning is for everyone. This belief is evident in the work he has done growing the German program at West High, specifically in the upper levels. As a result of his passion, talent, and dedication, there are currently 76 upper-level students in his German program. As a teacher leader, Paul’s presentations for teachers, of teaching techniques and class activities are famous for their energy, fun and proven efficacy. When he isn't working, Paul enjoys spending time traveling with his wife and their two cats.
MALT Friends of Language Award
The 2024 MALT Friends of Language Award goes to Elizabeth Williamson!
Elizabeth is a passionate advocate for multilingualism in Montana schools and community. After a decade of leading the way with a wonderful team of board and staff, in July 2023, Elizabeth passed the baton of World Language Initiative - Montana Executive Director Leadership. She also served as WLI Grant Manager and Writer through December 2023.
To support her passion for language education, global citizenship, and celebration of diversity - and to facilitate growth in university and community partnerships - Elizabeth has been serving as Montana State University’s Interim Director of MSU’s Center for Bilingual and Multicultural Education. Elizabeth is also currently a Leadership Studies Faculty at the Montana State University Department of Education Leadership Fellows Program. She serves as the Leadership Fellows Director. She loves working with and learning from the next generation of visionary do-ers.Look for Elizabeth in Spring 2024 as part of the WLI’s board-driven Community Partnership Development Task Force.
Outstanding Contributions Award
The 2024 Outstanding Contributions Award goes to Tana Luptak!
Tana Luptak currently serves as the sole Spanish teacher for the middle and highschool in Shepherd, MT, where she has fostered a vibrant learning environment marked by community, collaboration, and culture. During her six-year tenure on the MALT Board, including terms as Vice President and President, Tana drove significant organizational changes and improvements. She concurrently expanded the Spanish program at Shepherd schools, introducing international travel experiences for students.
In 2018, Tana earned her Masters of Education in World Language Instruction from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota, presenting her thesis, "Montana World Language Teachers’ Beliefs and Perspectives on Effective World Language Teaching Practices," at the WAFLT-COFLT conference in Portland, Oregon. Her thesis, exploring Montana teachers' beliefs in comparison to national recommendations, showcased her commitment to advancing language education. Tana remains an active contributor to the world language teaching community, engaging in networking, conferences, and volunteering for MALT, all while prioritizing the growth of the Spanish program at Shepherd Public Schools. Beyond her professional commitments, Tana cherishes family time with her husband and two children.
MALT Postsecondary Teacher of the Year
The 2024 Postsecondary Teacher of the Year is Galen Brokaw!
Galen Brokaw is a life-long language learner and teacher. He studied German in High School and participated in a student exchange program in Germany. As an undergraduate in college he began studying French and Spanish, and he traveled extensively in Latin America where he picked up some Quechua. He joined the Army specifically in order to learn another language, and he graduated from the Defense Language Institute’s Korean Language Program at the top of his class. He lived in Korea for a year, and attended Yonsei University’s Korean Language Program. While in Korea, he also taught Korean classes to the families of service members. In graduate school he began studying Portuguese and Nahuatl.
Galen is a Professor at MSU. He has collaborated with the Bozeman Friends of World Language which eventually became the World Language Initiative. In 2021-2022, he served on the Committee that developed Montana’s Seal of Biliteracy, and in 2023 he was on the committee that revised Montana’s K-12 World Languages Standards. At MSU Galen also developed a service learning course that has focused on three different projects: initially students taught Spanish at a local elementary school; one year they translated public documents for the county health department; and now they are tutoring English Language Learners in the Bozeman public schools. Galen also set up a free study abroad program with the University of San Marcos in Lima Peru, effectively removing any financial barrier to study abroad for MSU students. Galen was an ACTFL-certified Oral Proficiency Interviewer from 2010 to 2014, and the proficiency perspective informs all of his teaching and curricular initiatives.
History Of MALT Awards
- 2023 MALT & PNCFL Outstanding Contributions Award - Lisa Werner
- 2023 MALT & PNCFL Friends of Language Award - McCall Flynn
- 2023 Teacher of the Year Award , & PNCFL Nominee- Alice Nation
- 2023 Postsecondary Teacher of the Year, & PNCFL nominee- Kate Kithil
- 2022 Outstanding Contributions Award - Teresa Mountains
- 2022 Friends of Language Award - Hannah Jacobsma
- 2022 Teacher of the Year Award - Christy Peeples
- 2021 Teacher of the Year Award, PNCFL Teacher of the Year Nominee- Teresa Mountains
- 2021 Outstanding Contributions Award - Kristen Wolf
- 2020 Postsecondary Teacher of the Year- Marton (Marty) Marko
- 2020 Outstanding Contributions- Kristi Schell
- 2019 Teacher of the Year- Kristen Wolf
- 2019 Outstanding Contributions. Also won the regional award for Outstanding Contributions- Sarah Buley
- 2018 Teacher of the Year- Kerri Hiatt, Spanish Teacher at both Belt and Highwood Schools
- 2018 Outstanding Contributions. Also won the regional award for Outstanding Contributions- Lynette Pottenger, Spanish Teacher in Fort Benton
- 2017 Teacher of the Year- Erika Shupe, Latin Teacher at Bozeman H. S. and MT Digital Academy
- 2017 Outstanding Contributions- Debbie Kelley, French & Spanish at Billings Skyview H. S. Debbie also won the regional Outstanding Contributions Award for 2017
- Megan Hambrick 2017-2018 French Teacher Bozeman H. S. Platform-Seal of Biliteracy
MALT Awards Information
MALT offers three annual awards in coordination with the Pacific Northwest Council for Languages:
- MALT Language Teacher of the Year (becomes state nominee for PNCFL's Northwest LanguageTeacher of the Year)
- MALT Postsecondary Teacher of the Year (becomes state nominee for PNCFL's Ray Verzasconi Northwest Postsecondary Teacher of the Year)
- MALT Outstanding Contributions to the Teaching of World Languages (becomes state nominee for PNCFL's Outstanding Contributions to the Teaching of World Languages in the Pacific Northwest)
Please see the PNCFL website under "Awards and Grants" for more information and eligibility criteria for each award.
Also check out the ACTFL Professional Awards for further language education award opportunities.