South West Conference on Language Teaching (SWCOLT) California Teacher of the Year

The CLTA Teacher of the Year first competes at the regional level at the Southwest Conference on Language Teaching (SWCOLT) which is held annually in one of the member states. The winner of the regional level goes on to the American Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) level, held at the annual ACTFL Convention & Expo at one of the member states.

South West Conference on Language Teaching (SWCOLT) California Teacher of the Year Iman Hashem is an instructor of Arabic at CSU Long Beach, CA; Program Director for California World Language Project at Occidental College, Los Angeles, CA; STARTALK consultant, evaluator, and team-leader. She regularly designs and conducts workshops nationwide for teachers of the Arabic and Chinese languages. During her career, she authored curricula and materials for heritage and non-heritage learners, taught and directed K-12 Arabic language programs, participated in the delivery of the Advanced Development of Language Proficiency Program at the Language Acquisition Resource Center, and designed a certificate program for teachers of Arabic and Arabic speakers at California State University, Fullerton. Iman Hashem was a member of the writing committee for the Standards for Learning Arabic, California’s World Language Content Standards – 2009 & 2019. Currently, she consults for the Los Angeles Unified School District and K-12 Islamic schools, where she designs Arabic language programs and supports program improvement in language and culture.

Iman Hashem was the recipient of the Special Achievement Award from the New Horizon System in 1996, CLTA’s President’s Award for Leadership in Language Education in 2003, Outstanding Teacher Leader Award in 2012, Hal Wingard Lifetime Achievement Award in 2018 and the ACTFL Recognition Award for her contribution to the Arabic teaching field. A former student says that Iman’s insistence on speaking only Arabic was at first challenging, but it proved to be successful at the end of the semester. Not only did she create an environment that best suited her students to learn one of the most difficult languages, but also her patience never wavered, regardless of how many times her students struggled with the material. Another student notes that after completing her methods class, Iman has become her mentor since she entered the teaching profession. Iman Hashem, we salute you for your tireless dedication to the World Language community!

CLTA has participated almost each year since the program inception. Congratulations to Iman Hashem and past winners!


California Teachers of the Year

2017       Ying Jin teaches Chinese Language and Culture at Cupertino High School, Homestead High School and                          Fremont High School, all in the Fremont Union High School District in Sunnyvale.

2016       Liz Matchett, Spanish teacher at Henry M. Gunn High School, Palo Alto.

2015       Don Doehla, French teacher at Vintage High School, Napa.

2014       Nicole Naditz, French teacher at Bella Vista High School, Fair Oaks.

2013       Kerstin Helbing, German teacher at Gunn High School, Palo Alto.

2012       Cynthia Leathers, Spanish teacher at Redondo Union High School,  Redondo Beach.

2011        Yo Azama, Japanese teacher at North Salinas High School, Salinas.

2010       Kerstin Helbing, German teacher at Gunn High School, Palo Alto.

2009       Evelyne Charvier-Berman, French professor at El Camino College, Torrance.

2008       Gloria Payette, Spanish teacher at Freedom High School, Oakley.

2007       Jamin Lynch, German teacher at Independence High School,  San Jose.

2006       Christine Lanphere, French teacher at Natomas High School, Natomas.

2005       [No SWCOLT Teacher of the Year competition was held this year.]

2004       Tanya Zaccone, Spanish Teacher at Center High School, Antelope.


Please contact for any changes or additions to this list. Thank you!