Gwinnett County Public Schools’ (GCPS) Director of Foreign Language Dr. Jon Valentine is this year’s winner of the 2018 SCOLT (Southern Conference on Language Teaching) Leadership Award. The award is presented to K-12 educators who have demonstrated excellence in language teaching through service to the school, community, active participation in SCOLT, and leadership and advocacy at the local, state, and/or regional or national level.
Dr. Valentine’s selection as this year’s winner is no surprise to Dr. Jonathan Patterson, who serves as GCPS’ Associate Superintendent for Curriculum and Instructional Support. Dr. Patterson explains, “Dr. Valentine’s vision and passion for world languages are unmatched. Under his direction our programs have continued to grow and the district’s Dual Language Immersion program has flourished. As an instructional leader and advocate for his field he has helped thousands of students to learn about and experience our world.”
Dr. Valentine said receiving the award was humbling. “I am deeply grateful for this honor. This award is dedicated to the most important people in any capacity in our field, our teachers,” Dr. Valentine said. “World language and dual language immersion teachers across the Southeast region bring joy, knowledge and light every single day to thousands of students studying languages and cultures.”
Organized in 1965, SCOLT is one of five regional affiliates of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages, the premiere and largest association of language educators in the nation. The 14 affiliates in the SCOLT region are: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Dr. Valentine was selected over other qualified candidates for this distinction by a committee of esteemed language educators and advocates. In responding to this honor, he said, “I would like to acknowledge and credit anyone who has ever served on a language affiliate, state, or regional language board in our region. In good times and bad, in good economies and tough economies, these board members have dug in and done the work. I look forward to working with them as we continue the good work forward.”