2023 Award Recipients

Congratulations to the FLAVA 2023 Award Recipients



Liangyan Wang, 2023 David Cox Award Recipient, Virginia K-12 World Language Teacher of the Year

The David Cox Award recognizes a world language educator in grades K-12 who has demonstrated excellence in world language instruction. Liangyan Wang, a Chinese teacher at St. Paul VI Catholic High School in Chantilly, VA is a dedicated teacher who believes that learning languages and developing cultural competence are crucial for all learners. She strives for her students to become more open-minded and empathetic toward others who come from diverse backgrounds and constantly seeks innovative and creative ways to provide her students with opportunities to engage with various aspects of Chinese culture through authentic and meaningful experiences. In the 10 years since she began a Mandarin Chinese program at St. Paul VI Catholic High School, it has grown to include AP and Dual Enrollment courses, and in 2023 was one of 20 programs in the United Stated named a Distinguished K-12 Chinese Program by the Chinese Language Teachers Association. The president of the association recognized the “pivotal role played by Ms. Wang in designing and implementing the Chinese language curriculum” and noted that her “students reflect the tireless efforts of Ms. Wang in fostering an enriching environment for academic growth.”

Additionally, Ms. Wang has held several teaching positions at the post-secondary level. Ms. Wang has been involved in a number of professional organizations including the Chinese Language Teachers Association, where she serves as the Director of Communications and Membership Outreach. She has shared her professional knowledge and expertise through numerous conference presentations, including here at FLAVA, as well as SCOLT and the Chinese Language Teachers Association, and she will be presenting at the upcoming ACTFL conference taking place in Chicago in a few weeks.

One of her students describes Liangyan as “one of the most compassionate, kind, and understanding teachers I have ever had. She makes learning interesting and fun and creates an exciting learning environment everyday. She cares for each and every one of her students. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to be one of Wang Laoshi’s students.”





Margaret Hicks, 2023 Helen Warriner Burke Award Recipient, FLAVA Distinguished Service Award Winner

The Helen Warriner Burke Award recognizes world language educators in Virginia who have made outstanding contributions to the profession. Margaret Hicks taught Latin in Virginia for 44 years and, throughout her career, even since her retirement from the classroom in 2015, Margaret has been immensely involved in professional organizations at the local, state, and national levels. Margaret spent the majority of her teaching career at LC Bird High School in Chesterfield County where she built a thriving Latin program that grew to three full-time Latin teachers and a Latin Club of over 100 students. Margaret’s influence upon her students was profound; she provided students, with new experiences through attending the Virginia Junior Classical League Convention in Richmond each year, in addition to annual classical-themed trips to cities all over the East Coast and even Italy. Service and mentorship were common themes across Margaret’s nomination packet. Margaret is a founding member of the Central Virginia Latin Teachers Association, she has served as the President of the Classical Association of Virginia, the treasurer of FLAVA, the 2nd Vice President of Delta Kappa Gamma, co-chairman of the National Latin Exam New Latin Educators Scholarship, and so much more. Colleagues describe her as a patient, kind, and generous role model. Her support and encouragement provided new teachers with confidence and resources and empowered colleagues to try new ideas, seek out professional development opportunities at home and abroad, present at conferences, and much more. One colleague shared in her letter of support “I feel I owe much of my success as a teacher to her.” Another said, “Her curiosity, sense of humor, and genuine interest in connecting with students and colleagues alike were contagious.”





Senator Ghazala Hashmi, PhD, Friend of FLAVA Award Recipient

The Friend of FLAVA Award recognizes individuals and institutions that have made a significant contribution in building a strong foundation of support for world language education. This year’s Friend of FLAVA is Senator Ghazala Hashmi. Before taking office in 2020, Senator Hashmi taught at J. Sergeant Reynolds College, Averett University, and the University of Richmond. When she was at Reynolds, she also served as the Founding Director of the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning. Senator Hashmi’s experience as an educator helps her to advocate for inclusivity, social justice, and equity for all individuals in our Commonwealth. Senator Hashmi has remarked that it is so important for FLAVA to continue to be proactive in regard to language study and that all young people need to understand the different cultures in our world today. Senator Hashmi is an eloquent proponent of the values of FLAVA: world language education, multilingualism, intercultural understanding and communication. Every time world language education has been endangered in the Virginia General Assembly, Senator Hashmi has defended the need to maintain existing requirements and talked about expanding instruction in the public schools. She has been instrumental in this fight since 2020, when she entered the Virginia Senate.

Defending world language education, however, is not the only way Senator Hashmi has worked to promote multilingualism. She recognizes Virginia as a linguistically diverse state and has proposed legislation to “maximize state policies, resources, technical assistance, and procurement practices to further language access and equity in the Commonwealth and its state government agencies.” She is also an advocate for the needs of multilingual learners, sponsoring legislation to improve support for English language learners in the public education system and in career readiness and workforce development programs.

As one of her letters of support so eloquently noted, “For her defense and promotion of world language education for all, her support for multilingual learners, her recognition of Virginia as a multicultural society, and her understanding of the need for language access policies, Senator Hashmi is deserving of the Friend of FLAVA award.





Kyla Brown, FLAVA University Student Recognition

Kyla Brown is a senior at Longwood University majoring in modern languages with a concentration in Teaching English as a Second Language. Kyla will complete student teaching in the spring and graduate in May 2024 with a BA in Modern Languages and PK-12 Licensure in Teaching English as a Second Language.













Rubi Rubilar, FLAVA University Student Recognition

Rubi Rubilar is a senior at Longwood University majoring in modern languages with a concentration in Teaching English as a Second Language. Rubi will complete student teaching next semester and graduate in May of next year with a BA in Modern Languages and PK-12 Licensure in Teaching English as a Second Language.














Congratulations to Best of FLAVA 2023 Winners!


Ariana Kopf with “Juegos y más juegos… Simple Games for Practice and Variety in the World Language Classroom” who will represent FLAVA at NECTFL

Teresa Breitenthaler, Erin Boldin and Beth Stickley with The Crime Scene” who will represent FLAVA at SCOLT