LEXINGTON, Ky. (11/4/13) - Vanessa Shepherd, who teaches Japanese at Wellington Elementary, received the 2013 Outstanding New World Languages Teacher Award from the Kentucky World Languages Association. She was recognized this fall at the KWLA awards banquet for this statewide honor, which goes to a teacher with less than five years of classroom experience.
In her three years of teaching, Shepherd has written and secured grants totaling more than $18,000 to help purchase classroom and technology resources and to construct a Japanese garden outside her classroom window. She also facilitates an after-school Japanese club whose membership has doubled each year she has been at Wellington, with 80 students in grades 3-5 now participating. In addition, Shepherd serves as president of the Kentucky Association of Japanese Language Teachers and represents the organization on the KWLA executive board.
“I realize that the study of world languages is an essential part of K-12 education,” Shepherd said. “I feel energized knowing that I am a leader in having the opportunity to teach a world language in the earliest grade levels and serve as one of several models for my state.”
Her commitment to her students, colleagues and community illustrate her overall dedication to learning and language education.
“She is patient, kind and puts students first at all times,” said Meribeth Gaines, Wellington’s former principal. “She has had a wealth of experience working with students of various levels and differing needs, and does an amazing job teaching and sharing the Japanese language and culture.”
Shepherd earned her K-12 Japanese teaching certification at Northern Kentucky University, a master’s at the University of Kentucky and a bachelor’s degree at the University of Louisville. Prior to teaching in Kentucky, Shepherd spent five years in Tahara, Japan, teaching English through the JET Programme at elementary and middle schools.
Information provided by Tammy Lane
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