Dr. Mary Ann Hansen, World Languages Consultant at the Connecticut State Department of Education, is the first recipient of the Award for Outstanding Support of Early Language Learning given by the National Network for Early Language Learning (NNELL). The award will be presented November 22, 2002 at the annual NNELL meeting to be held in Salt Lake City, Utah, at the Conference of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages.
Dr. Hansen has been a leader in the field of early foreign language learning for many years and is recognized for her significant contributions at the local, state, national, and international levels. Her vision and advocacy efforts have led to several initiatives that have promoted and strengthened foreign language study in the lower grades throughout the state of Connecticut. She has received numerous federal grants to provide on-going professional development for foreign language specialists in the elementary grades and has been instrumental in offering summer institutes for teachers that focus on early language learning.
Dr. Hansen has coordinated educational partnerships with Spain, France, and Italy to develop collaborative school-to-school and university projects, including exchange opportunities for students and teachers in Connecticut's schools. She directed the development of a comprehensive state curriculum that emphasizes early language study as a part of the core curriculum and has collaborated with university teacher education programs to offer courses required for licensure to teach foreign languages in the lower grades in Connecticut. As a result of Dr. Hansen's efforts, there has been a significant enrollment increase in early language study in Connecticut. Since 1993, there are 143 districts and 271 schools that now offer foreign language programs below grade eight, an increase from 75 districts and 98 schools.
Dr. Hansen's work on behalf of early language learning in the state of Connecticut distinguishes her as an advocate. Her strong belief in early language learning has been influential in promoting quality foreign language programs for young children with the State Board of Education and the state government. She has been an active member of the Connecticut Council of Language Teachers and is recognized for her leadership role as a member of the Board of Directors.
Dr. Hansen holds a B. A. in French, an M. S. in Foreign Language Education, and a Ph. D. in Educational Administration and Supervision from Syracuse University. Prior to accepting her current position as World Languages Consultant at the Connecticut Department of Education, she worked in higher education and K-12 public education and served in the legislative and executive branches of state government as staff to the Connecticut State Senate and Connecticut State Department of Higher Education.
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