Previous Nevada World Language TOYs

Nevada WL Teacher of the Year 2023

Margarita de León Viera

Nevada WL Teacher of the Year 2019

Anna Cicak has twenty-three years of experience in education, teaching Spanish and ELL courses for 6-12 grade. During that time she has participated in curriculum and school improvement cadres as well as trained many instructional staff members at the district, regional, and national level on how to use and integrate world language and ELL best practices in the classroom. Additionally she teaches graduate level TESL certification courses for the Southern Nevada Regional Professional Development Program.  Anna has served the Professional Language Association of Nevada (PLAN) executive board as treasurer, executive secretary, and currently is the president elect. Through her involvement in PLAN, Anna was honored to be nominated and join the ACTFL Leadership Initiative for Language Learning (LILL) where she authored the PLAN Global Education Model (GEM) Program recognition initiative which identifies exemplary world language programs throughout Nevada. Anna graduated from the University of Idaho with a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and a Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education. She earned an M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction from Northwest Nazarene University. Currently, Anna teaches Spanish at Brown Academy of International Studies in Henderson, Nevada.

Nevada WL Teacher of the Year 2018

Dr. Casilde Isabelli is Chair and Associate Professor of Spanish Linguistics in the Department World Languages & Literatures at the University of Nevada, Reno where she teaches courses in language, linguistics, service-learning, and methodology. In addition to teaching at the University of Nevada, Reno, she has taught as a graduate student at the University of Iowa and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, as a Lecturer at the University of Minnesota, as a Visiting Lecturer at the Universitat de Barcelona, and as a Visiting Associate Professor at Sonoma State University. She was formerly the Director of the Basic Spanish Language Program from 2001 until 2014 where she developed the curriculum and supervised instructors.  She received her PhD in Spanish Applied Linguistics, with a certificate in Second Language Acquisition and Teacher Education, from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2001 and an MA in Hispanic Literature and Linguistics from the University of Iowa in 1994.  Dr. Isabelli’s research and publications focus on the effects of immersion experiences and formal instruction on the acquisition of syntactic features in adult second language acquisition, pyscholinguistically motivated theories behind second language acquisition (processing instruction and language transfer), and the use of technology and the incorporation of service-learning in the curriculum.  She has put theory to practice in her work as co-author on McGraw-Hill’s Puntos de Partida, 9thedition (2010) and on Wiley’s En Tu Medio, 1st edition (2018).  Dr. Isabelli is also the faculty advisor for Sigma Delta Pi (National Hispanic Honor Society) at UNR.

Nevada WL Teacher of the Year 2017

Rachel Tillotson is the Professional Development Committee Chairperson for the Professional Language Association of Nevada. For the last fourteen years she has taught language courses for private businesses, elementary after-school programs, alternative and public high schools, and in higher education.  She has traveled worldwide and is a strong advocate for promoting cultural competency in education. She has also presented at district, state, and national conferences on developing proficiency in the classroom. Rachel currently teaches all levels of Spanish at Galena High School and evening courses at the University of Nevada, Reno.

Nevada WL Teacher of the Year 2016

T.J. Troche

T.J. Troche from Las Vegas teaches just about all levels of Spanish including Spanish 3 Honors and Intermediate Spanish Literacy for Heritage Learners at Las Vegas Academy of the Arts where he is also the sponsor of a nationally acclaimed chapter of Sociedad Honoraria Hispánica. T.J. is passionate about engaging his students beyond the classroom through travel abroad, honor society activities, and service learning. He has been involved in PLAN since its inception and is also a frequent presenter at SWCOLT and AATSP conferences. He says that his most rewarding experience as a teacher is seeing the students that have travelled with him go on to be world travelers and interculturally competent global citizens. He is very proud to be Nevada’s 5th world language teacher of the year.

Nevada WL Teacher of the Year 2015

Ryan Smith is currently the World Languages Program Coordinator and AVID District Director for the Washoe County School District, located in the Reno/Lake Tahoe region of Northern Nevada. Ryan is also the current President of PLAN (Professional Language Association of Nevada) and Nevada’s 2015 World Languages Teacher of the Year.

Ryan advocated for the Seal of Biliteracy in his state, led the statewide implementation of the Seal, and served as a co-chair on the committee to rewrite the Nevada Academic Content Standards for World Languages. Ryan is extremely involved in world languages on a local, regional, and national level. He is the NCSSFL representative for Nevada, an active member of NADSFL, ACTFL, and SWCOLT, and was a member of the first cohort of LILL (Leadership Initiative for Language Learning).

Nevada WL Teacher of the Year 2014

Julie Lozada-Ocampo is a Spanish teacher in Lyon County.  She teaches Spanish I-III and AP Spanish Literature and Culture and AP Spanish Language and Culture, as well as various native speaker’s courses, at Dayton High School.  She has traveled extensively and has spent significant time in Peru.  Her love and appreciation of Peruvian culture, in particular music, led her to start a program to bring Peruvian music to U.S. schools.  She is very involved in her community, regularly encouraging her students to use their language in their local community.  She is a County Representative to the Professional Language Association of Nevada and is excited to bring her love of culture to her tenure as the third Nevada WL TOY.

Nevada WL Teacher of the Year 2013

Tracy Rush is a Spanish teacher in Clark County.  She teaches Spanish I and II at Palo Verde High School.  She is passionate about brining culture and language together for her students.  Her love of languages and traveling is what led her to being a language teacher.  She enjoys spending time with friends and traveling when she is not with her students.  It is an honor for her to represent Nevada as the second WL TOY.

Nevada WL Teacher of the Year 2012

Jennifer Newman-Cornell is a Spanish teacher in Clark County.  She teaches Spanish III-V and AP Spanish Literature and Culture and AP Spanish Language and Culture at Northwest Career and Technical Academy.  She has been teaching for 10 years and has also taught pre-school and college courses in Spanish, ELL, and French.  Learning another language is her passion and sharing it with her students makes each day worth going to work.  She is also president of the Professional Language Association of Nevada.   She and her husband have 3 children and 2 dogs and enjoy reading, adventuring, and cooking together.  She is proud to represent Nevada as the first NV WL TOY.