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Three world language teachers earn 2021 statewide awards

The Kentucky World Language Association saluted three educators from Fayette County Public Schools as 2021 statewide award winners:

  • Marisol Martin of Liberty Elementary, the Rising Star Teacher, as overall winner of the new-to-profession award;
  • Yanhong Zheng of The Academy for Leadership at Millcreek Elementary, as Outstanding Chinese Language Teacher of the Year; and
  • Amisha Patel of Frederick Douglass High School, as Outstanding Spanish Language Teacher of the Year.

Amisha PatelPatel, who chairs the World Languages Department at Douglass, was singled out by the Kentucky chapter of the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese. A native of Somerset with 10 years of classroom experience, she received a bachelor’s degree in Spanish/Psychology from Transylvania University, a master of arts in Hispanic Studies from the University of Kentucky, and a master’s in Teaching from Eastern Kentucky University. She says she became a teacher to make a difference by sharing her love of languages with students to increase global competency, to provide perspectives of other cultures so students learn skills such as compassion and empathy, and to encourage them to study or travel abroad. Most of her students earn the district’s Seal of Biliteracy upon graduation. Patel has also served as an FCPS proficiency lead for world languages and a new teacher mentor.

Yanhong ZhengZheng has served as president of the Kentucky Association of Chinese Language Teachers and program director of 2021 Chinese STARTALK Pilot Program. A native of the city of Harbin in the Heilongjing province, she has taught in Kentucky since 2007 including stints at the Jessamine Career & Technology Center, Asbury University, Veterans Park Elementary, Winburn and Southern middle schools, and Bryan Station High School. She has been at Millcreek since 2019. “My mission as a teacher is threefold: to promote positive learning, to motivate enthusiasm for learning, and to provide a strong foundation for lifelong learning,” she said. “I promote Chinese program and China’s culture among my communities through involving Chinese learners in the Lexington Chinese New Year celebrations and by inviting China’s culture enrichments artists to my school communities to lead our students to get to know our culture and values.” 

Marisol MartinMartin, who has been with FCPS for five years, teaches second grade math and science in Liberty’s Dual Language Immersion Program. She strives to create a safe and supportive environment and to inspire students’ passion for learning. In the classroom, Martin shares her love for languages and communicates the importance of language development and the critical need for being sensitive and open-minded to appreciate other people’s cultures. A native of Veracruz, Mexico, she earned a B.S. in Business Administration from Midway College and a master’s degree in Elementary Education from the University of the Cumberlands. She is working on her Educational Specialist degree, principal certification at the University of Kentucky. 

KWLA celebrated all the recipients Sept. 17 during its virtual state conference

Contact: Laura Roche Youngworth, world language content specialist in FCPS, (859) 381-4749

(Posted Sept. 21, 2021)