Previous Award Winners

Brooke Kreitinger, Ph.D., Visiting Assistant Professor of German, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Brooke Kreitinger, Visiting Assistant Professor of German, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro

As a teacher-scholar, Dr. Brooke Kreitinger allows her enthusiasm for research to inform her teaching in the tradition of German universities where research and teaching are closely intertwined. Whether it’s via film evenings, weekly Kaffeestunde gatherings, undergraduate research events, or larger initiatives such as hosting one-day conferences, she is constantly letting her passion for German and teaching shine through.

Cathy Gamble, Teacher of German, La Cueva High School Albuquerque, New Mexico

Cathy Gamble, La Cueva High School, Albuquerque, New Mexico

Cathy Gamble’s inspiration to teach German derives from her desire to instill a sense of interconnectedness. Her multi-media, multi-cultural, collaborative classroom, along with a rich palette of extracurricular engagement opportunities, has doubled enrollment from fewer than 60 students to 120 today!

Laura Buder, German 1 and German 4 AP/ 5 Honors Teacher, Vestavia Hills High School, AL

Laura Buder, Vestavia Hills High School, Alabama

No one in Laura Buder’s German classroom is “just not a language person.” Core to her teaching philosophy is the belief that when teachers refuse to give up on students, students try harder—and learn.

Kimberly Nickel, German Teacher, St. Francis High School, St. Francis, MN

Kimberly Nickel, St. Francis High School, Minnesota

A combination of contagious enthusiasm for the German language; high expectations and caring support for her students; and the creation and expansion of extracurricular activities, such as the German Club and an exchange program with Hans Carossa Gymnasium in Berlin-Spandau, have enabled ‘Frau’ Kimberly Nickel not only to inspire high-achieving students, but to create a flagship language program with a reputation extending far beyond St. Francis.

Cora Hofstetter, World and Classical Languages Instructor at North County High School, Glen Burnie, MD

Cora Hofstetter, North County High School, Maryland

Cora Hofstetter, a former Fulbright Teaching Scholar, delivered her presentation “Oh, the Places You’ll go in the Student Centered Classroom” to packed rooms at both the Maryland Foreign Language Teacher Conference and the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages Conference (ACTFL). A dynamic and well-respected teacher of German, she was instrumental in reinstating a school exchange with Geschwister Scholl Gymnasium in Bremerhaven, thus cultivating the Baltimore-Bremerhaven Sister City relationship.

Dr. Sebastian Heiduschke, Associate Professor of German, Oregon State University

Sebastian Heiduschke, Associate Professor of German, Oregon State University

Since coming to OSU, Sebastian Heiduschke has dramatically revitalized the German program, redesigning course offerings to align with student interests and standards of the Common European Framework; developing and piloting an innovative first-year German program for STEM students; and launching the first online German degree program in the United States—expanding through its Ecampus OSU’s influence in German pedagogy to the national level.

Dr. Theresa Schenker is Language Program Director of German at Yale University

Theresa Schenker: 2014 Teacher of Excellence Award Winner

The Internet-based exchange teaching method developed by Schenker has provided the foundation for her success at Yale, according to Rüdiger Campe, Professor and Chair of German at Yale. But the high praise the Jena, Germany native has earned from colleagues, administrators and students alike derives not just from her singular teaching methodology, but her impassioned commitment to student learning.

Sasha Johnson initiated the German program at Noble High School in Oklahoma.

Sasha Johnson: 2014 Teacher of Excellence Award Winner

Starting as a teacher of AP English classes, Johnson’s passion for German inspired her to launch a German program with one small class in 2011. Within two years, she grew the program to 47 students in German 1 and 23 students in German 2. Her innovative approach to learning inside and outside the classroom attracts and motivates students to thrive in German.

Assistant professor Josh Brown teaches a German 202 class at UW-Eau Claire.

Josh Brown: 2014 Teacher of Excellence Award Winner

Since 2011, the year Josh Brown came to the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire as Assistant Professor of German, enrollment of German majors and minors has increased by 30 percent. Dr. Brown’s ability to inspire engagement with German language and culture has not been limited to his language classes, however. Through his Amish in America course, he brings his extensive scholarship on Pennsylvania Dutch to new audiences, cultivating more than just academic interest.

Melanie Mello

Melanie Mello: 2013 Teacher of Excellence Award Winner

When Melanie Mello began teaching German shortly after moving to South Bend six years ago, she was told there was no guarantee the position would be continued beyond that school year. Today, it's clear the German program’s expansion and success is due to more than luck.

Amy Flynn

Amy Flynn: 2013 Teacher of Excellence Award Winner

The popularity and growth of the German program in this district just outside Denver is due—parents, administrators, students and fellow teachers agree—to the enthusiastic, engaging, and inspired teaching of “Frau” Flynn.

Rustin Buck

Rustin Buck: 2013 Teacher of Excellence Award Winner

To hear it from parents, students and administrators, the 2000 winner of the Texas German Teacher of the Year award is a veritable force of nature—a teacher with such a contagious enthusiasm for German language and culture, none who come into contact with it can resist.

Janelle Morgan

Janelle Morgan: 2012 Teacher of Excellence Award Winner

A fruitful relationship with the German Immersion Foundation, an institution unique to Milwaukee, helped Janelle Morgan add dynamism to the Milwaukee School of Languages' middle school German program.

Jennifer Kraeer

Jennifer Kraeer: 2012 Teacher of Excellence Award Winner

Though hired as a special education teacher, Jennifer Kraeer took her passion for and knowledge of German language and culture to start a successful German program in Dorchester County, Maryland.

Uwe Goodall-Heising

Uwe Goodall-Heising: 2012 Teacher of Excellence Award Winner

Uwe Goodall-Heising, a second-generation teacher originally from Cottbus, reinvigorated the high school German program in Hanover, New Hampshire with diverse didactical techniques and a fervent passion for teaching.

Zehra Otus

Zehra Otus: 2011 Teacher of Excellence Award Winner

Zehra Otus, always innovating with teaching methods and material, is a source of energy and inspiration, not only in her own classroom but with her teaching colleagues.

Melanie Krehbiel: 2011 Teacher of Excellence Award Winner

Hired to teach English at two small schools in Kansas, Melanie Krehbiel's passion for teaching and for German enabled her to launch popular German programs at each.

Liz Kaulard

Liz Kaulard: 2011 Teacher of Excellence Award Winner

Soccer is just one of many tools Liz Kaulard has used to attract students to her German program, one of the largest in the country, at Esperanza High School in Anaheim, California.

German Embassy Teacher of Excellence Award

2016 German Embassy Teacher of Excellence Award recipients

In cooperation with the Goethe-Institut and the AATG, the German Embassy Washington has since 2008 presented the Teacher of Excellence Award, highlighting the accomplishments of top-notch, up-and-coming German teachers in the United States, who help lay the foundation for future German-American relations.

2016 German Embassy Teacher of Excellence Award recipients

The 2016 recipients of the German Embassy Teacher of Excellence Award (l-r), Laura Buder and Brooke Kreitinger (Cathy Gamble absent), with Jan Eckendorf of the German Embassy

The 2015 recipients of the German Embassy Teacher of Excellence Award (l-r), Cora Hofstetter, Kimberly Nickel, and Sebastian Heiduschke, with Jan Eckendorf of the German Embassy

The 2015 recipients of the German Embassy Teacher of Excellence Award (l-r), Cora Hofstetter, Kimberly Nickel, and Sebastian Heiduschke, with Jan Eckendorf of the German Embassy

The 2014 recipients of the German Embassy Teacher of Excellence Award

The 2014 recipients of the German Embassy Teacher of Excellence Award (l-r), Sasha Johnson, Joshua Brown, and Theresa Schenker, with Jan Eckendorf of the German Embassy

The 2013 recipients of the German Embassy Teacher of Excellence Award

The 2013 recipients of the German Embassy Teacher of Excellence Award (l-r), Melanie Mello, Amy Flynn, and Rustin Buck, with Andrea Christ (second from left) of the German Embassy

The 2012 recipients of the German Embassy Teacher of Excellence Award.

The 2012 recipients of the German Embassy Teacher of Excellence Award (l-r), Uwe Goodall-Heising, Jennifer Kraeer, and Janelle Morgan, with Andrea Christ (third from left) of the German Embassy.

The 2011 recipients of the German Embassy Teacher of Excellence Award

The 2011 recipients of the German Embassy Teacher of Excellence Award: (l-r) Liz Kaulard, Zehra Otus, and Melanie Krehbiel