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Susan Watson selected as
CLTA Teacher of the Year


CLTA is delighted to announce that Susan Watson, has been selected as the 2023 Teacher of the Year. Susan, has taught Japanese at Long Beach Polytechnic High School for the past 13 years. Long Beach Polytechnic’s Japanese program has the distinction of being the biggest Japanese program in the contiguous 48 states, educating over 500 students each year.  Prior to that Susan taught at various public and private elementary, middle and high schools. Susan received her B.A. in East Asian Studies from Bryn Mawr College and her M.Ed. in Secondary Education from Pepperdine University.

Susan received the CLTA Outstanding Teacher Award in 2016 and was named the 2016-2017 L.A. County Teacher of the Year. In addition, she is a sought-after presenter at numerous ACTFL and CLTA Conferences.

Outside of the classroom Susan is the CLTA Past-President, Secretary for California Association of Japanese Language Teachers (CAJLT) and President of Modern and Classical Language Association of Southern California (MCLASC), a CLTA affiliate. Susan played an instrumental role on the California World Language Standards Advisory Committee when the standards were rewritten in 2019. She currently serves as the World Language Department Chair at her high school.

Please join everyone at CLTA in congratulating Susan Watson on this well-deserved achievement.  Susan will be a keynote speaker at our upcoming Summer Seminar and will also be representing California at SWCOLT 2023.

California Teachers of the Year

2022       Vicky Xiong-Lor is a lecturer in the department Literacy, early, bilingual, and special education in the Kremen School of Education and Human Development at CSU Fresno, also currently teaches Hmong at both Clovis and Buchanan High Schools.  

2021      Ryan Bosson is a Spanish Teacher in the Del Mar Union School District and former lead member with the Monterey Bay World Language Project. He consults on unit design with an emphasis on global competence. 

2020      Maggie Chen  teaches full-time IB Mandarin Chinese at Granada Hills Charter TK8 Program

2019       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

2018       Nancy Pérez is a Spanish AP language and AP literature teacher, instructional lead, Club advisor, mentor, and Department Chair at El Diamante High School in Visalia California. She is also the CCWLP Site Director.

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!

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