Educator Spotlight: Aspiring World Languages Educator Attends 2022 NECTFL Conference on National Scholarship

The Maine Department of Education congratulates Nadine Bravo, an aspiring world languages teacher, for being selected as this year’s recipient of the Northeast Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (NECTFL) Future Language Educator Scholarship. The scholarship provided funding for Bravo to attend the 2022 NECTFL Conference which took place in New York. Nadine was selected to receive this scholarship among a pool of applicants nation-wide due to her promise as an aspiring world languages educator.

As a multicultural and multilingual individual born and raised in Halle, East Germany, Bravo has spent time in Lithuania, Russia, the United States, and Chile, even surviving the Chilean earthquake of 2010 while she lived here. With much world experience, plus a BA in FLL (Russian, German, Spanish, English), some master’s-level coursework, and 20 years of experience tutoring German and English under her belt, Bravo dreamed about pursuing a graduate degree as a world languages teacher with a certificate to teach English as another language.

“It has always been rewarding watching students learn and grow with the languages,” said Bravo. “However, I had never obtained proper teacher certification, which limited my employment opportunities. The onset of the pandemic and an injury on the job were the catalyst to get the process of graduate school rolling.”

Bravo is now in her first year of graduate school and has had opportunities to tutor German in the linguistics department at the University of Southern Maine, which has helped confirm that she made the right decision about returning to graduate school.

Bravo attributes the opportunity to fill out an application for the NECTFL Future Language Educator Scholarship to her mentor teacher, Sarah Collins at Gorham Middle School, who pointed her toward a Language Educators newsletter put together by Maine Department of Education’s Interdisciplinary Instruction & ESOL/Bilingual Programs Specialist April Perkins. A link to the upcoming conference was available in a newsletter and Bravo took the opportunity to apply.

“When I came across the conference program, I felt so inspired and wanted to attend all the workshops and lectures offered regarding my target languages,” said Bravo. “I am currently in a tight financial situation and try to take advantage of any sort of financial support while furthering my education,” she added.

With three different types of scholarships available for the conference, the application process was demanding and complex but not impossible, says Bravo. Her application package included various elements such as letters of recommendation, a list of relevant organization affiliations, testing scores, a statement, methods assignments, and transcripts, among other things.

“I decided to go overboard and shared everything that could have been relevant,” said Bravo. “One of the most rewarding items I received after my first observation in my internship placement was a stack of student notes with feedback. It does not get any better than receiving genuine feedback from your students and learning about your strengths and weaknesses,” she added.

The conference took place earlier this month, bringing opportunities and experience for Bravo to pursue her dream of working as a world languages teacher in Maine.

“It is important not only to learn the language and grammar, but also to be exposed to different cultures, customs, and traditions, said Bravo, who has a goal of teaching students in Spanish and German. “Learning a world language is the gate to other cultures. I want to be that gate, facilitating my students’ access to an additional way of life,” she added.

Bravo expresses her gratitude to all the people who have paved the road for her return to graduate school, including graduate advisor, Mike Katz, and other supportive faculty at USM including her two professors, Dr. Mindy Butler and Dr. Alec Lapidus, who employ her as their graduate research assistant.

Currently, Bravo has accepted a long-term substitute teacher position in the Gray-New Gloucester Middle School. She is hopeful about her future career as a world languages teacher.

To sign up for the Language Educators Newsletter, click here or reach out to April Perkins at

Apply for the Maine Seal of Biliteracy

Maine students are multilingual! The Maine Seal of Biliteracy is an award that celebrates the linguistic diversity and language-learning accomplishments of graduating students across the state. Students can earn the Seal of Biliteracy by demonstrating a high degree of skill in English and at least one other language.

See the website for details about eligibility criteria, language assessment options, and the online application:

Applications are due by 5/15/22*. If you have any questions, please contact April Perkins at

*Students whose AP or IB exam scores are not available by May 15th can apply through 7/15/22.

Celebrating Maine Heritage Through a Love of Language: Meet Jonna Bouré

My dad did not speak French, but my grandparents did. I always knew they could speak another language, but it was hidden,” said Jonna Bouré, French and Spanish Teacher at Caribou High School. From an early age Bouré developed a love for genealogy, which followed her through her own education journey at Bowdoin College in Brunswick and into her career as a world languages teacher in Maine.

“I realized I had background in Acadia and Quebec. When I moved to Caribou, I started teaching Acadian history. A lot of the kids that I work with and have worked with had grandparents who dealt with laws where they could not speak French and because of that, many of my students did not know a lot about their heritage or the French language,” said Bouré.

Bouré worries that the loss of language and culture may be exacerbated during the pandemic, noting that non-essential border crossing between Maine and Canada has prevented families who have relatives on either side of the border from going back and forth to spend time with one another, celebrate their culture, and practice their language skills.

Following her passion for genealogy, language, and history, Bouré now makes it her mission to work with students to learn about their history and talk to their parents and grandparents in French. Through interactive lessons, her students taught vocabulary and commands in French, culminating in a live theater presentation of Cinderella for hundreds of elementary students. Currently, her AP French class is recording a short video about being proud of their Acadian heritage for a contest. As an up-coming project, her students are preparing lessons for an after-school program called “Petits Acadiens/Little Acadians” for 2nd through 4th graders.

Bouré’s work toward highlighting the need and importance of language immersion programs was highlighted recently in a Bangor Daily News article about Noah Ouellette, the K-12 education coordinator at the French consulate in Boston who came to Caribou High School to talk about dual language programs. Maine is well positioned for grants and teacher exchanges with France, since it has the highest percentage of French speakers by population of any U.S. state.

Bouré hopes to get her students more interested in language immersion programing, mentioning a recent interaction with a local nursing student. “There is a language barrier because the community members speak French and there is only one person in our nursing program who speaks it,” recalls Bouré from the conversation. “Having bilingual programs would help fill in the cracks. In a place like northern Maine where we have the highest population of French speakers in the US, we need to utilize that history.”

As stated in the Bangor Daily News Article, the Maine Department of Education (DOE) is currently preparing to launch a task force to identify what is needed to bring more immersion and world language teachers to the state and introduce bilingual programs in public schools.

“For bilingual programs to take root and be successful in Maine, it will take the passion and hard work of educators like Jonna, who know their communities, can leverage relationships and local resources, and can inspire community members with a vision of what a bilingual program can bring,” said Maine DOE World Languages & ESOL/Bilingual Programs Specialist April Perkins. “The Department is eager to partner with educators and support their leadership, which is so essential to this initiative.”

American Translators Association Announces the 2021 Winner of the School Outreach Program Award

The American Translators Association (ATA) announced that Majlinda Mulla-Everett – an Albanian, Bosnian, Croatian, Macedonian and Serbian interpreter based in Portland, Maine – has been chosen as the winner of ATA’s School Outreach Program Award.

“We are delighted to present this award to Ms. Mulla-Everett for her weeklong presentation series at Portland High School in June 2021,” said Ted Wozniak, President of the American Translators Association. “Now in its seventeenth year, ATA’s School Outreach Program raises awareness of the role that translators and interpreters play in business, education, government, healthcare, technology and society at large. In today’s global economy, companies and other institutions are realizing the importance of using skilled professional translators or interpreters to communicate their message effectively and successfully to international audiences, avoiding potentially costly and embarrassing mistakes.”

ATA launched the School Outreach Program in 2004 to educate students about translation and interpreting and to interest them in these rewarding career fields. Through the program, professional linguists speak to students of all ages, highlighting the career benefits of studying another language and the increasing potential for exciting work with foreign language skills. Using a variety of model presentations and activities available on ATA’s website, presenters outline the requirements for becoming a professional translator or interpreter, emphasizing that these careers demand far more than simply being bilingual.

“The School Outreach program focuses on educating the public about exciting career paths in translation and interpreting and their wide range of applications around the world,” said Meghan Konkol, coordinator of the School Outreach Program.

In order to receive this award, participants must belong to ATA or an ATA-affiliated organization and must present to a school of their choice. Entrants must also submit photos or screenshots of themselves presenting to the students.

A legal and medical interpreter with over 10 years of experience, Ms. Mulla-Everett was honored to be asked to offer a weeklong class titled “Explore Community Interpreting as a Career” to students at Portland High School in Portland, Maine. Tackling the class as she would an interpreting assignment, Ms. Mulla-Everett engaged the students by giving them information, tips and encouragement using roleplay and memory games.

Seeing the students participating enthusiastically in the exercises and answering quiz questions correctly made her realize how important they viewed the language professions. Ms. Mulla-Everett also invited guest speakers to present their own experiences as in-person and remote interpreters. The bilingual students came out of the class understanding the value of knowing another language and the potential to help their community and make a living while doing so.

As winner of the award, Ms. Mulla-Everett received free registration to ATA’s 62nd Annual Conference, taking place October 27 through 30 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She will be presented with the award at an awards ceremony before more than a thousand of her colleagues in the translation industry.

To learn more about the American Translators Association and the School Outreach Program, visit or call 703-683-6100.

WEBINAR: Teacher Effectiveness for Language Learning (TELL) Framework

On December 7th at 3pm, the Maine Department of Education welcomes Dr. Thomas Sauer, Assistant Director of Resource Development at the National Foreign Language Center (NFLC) and Codirector of Professionals in Education Advancing Research and Language Learning (PEARLL), who will facilitate a free one-hour webinar on the Teacher Effectiveness for Language Learning (TELL) Framework, which outlines the core characteristics that world languages teachers exhibit.

What are the elements of an effective language teacher? While a solid foundation in subject matter content is clearly important for any teacher, research suggests that it is not so much what the teacher knows but what the teacher does in the classroom that maximizes student achievement. Many teachers look for a magic solution, but becoming an effective educator requires a clear definition. The TELL Framework has identified those characteristics and outlined simple processes teachers can complete in order to take charge of their professional growth.

Professional Learning Outcomes:

  • I can identify how the TELL Framework can help me identify my strengths as a teacher.
  • I can prioritize my professional growth goals and identify measurable outcomes that will serve as evidence of my growth.
  • I can use the resources provided by the TELL Project to outline a plan for professional growth.

Contact hours will be provided. Please register by December 2nd and contact April Perkins, World Languages & ESOL/Bilingual Programs Specialist, at with any questions.