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Outstanding Advocate Honor Top Banner

Outstanding Advocate Honor

The Outstanding Advocate Honor is presented by TESOL International Association at its annual convention to individuals who have advocated for, and on behalf of, the ESL/EFL profession and English language learners. Each year the host affiliate for the convention has an opportunity to nominate an individual for recognition. 

2018 TESOL Outstanding Advocate: Rebecca Vonderlack-Navarro

As the Manager of Education Policy and Research with the Latino Policy Institute in Chicago, Illinois, USA, Rebecca Vonderlack-Navarro has ​ventured to ​advocate for all Latino and English learners to have access to high quality care and education services that are linguistically and culturally responsive in an effort to close the opportunity gap. She leads efforts in family and community engagement and capacity building; equitable access and resource distribution; and pre-and in-service educator preparation.

Rebecca also provides immigrant parent workshops to discuss how various policy changes influence the education of English Learners.  Most recently, as a state-appointed member of the Illinois Advisory Council on Bilingual Education, Rebecca led efforts to advise the state on how English Learners are considered within the Every Student Succeeds Act. 

Past Recipients 

Year  Outstanding Advocate Nominated by 
2017  Gil Mendoza WAESOL
2016  Gustavo Torres Maryland TESOL
 Premiere Kathleen Wynne TESL Ontario
2014  David Bautista Oregon TESOL
2013   Rep. Roberto Alonzo TexTESOL V
2012   Len Reiser, Esq PennTESOL-Eastby Intermountain TESOL
2011  David A. M. Ware, Esq. LaTESOL
2010   State Rep. Jeffrey Sánchez MATSOL
2009   Rep. Jared Polis COTESOL
2008  Rep. Tim Bishop NYS TESOL
2007   Sen. Maria Cantwell WAESOL
2006   Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz Sunshine State TESOL
2005  Gilette Irby TexTESOL IV
2004  Assemblywoman Jackie Goldberg CATESOL
2003  Dr. Alvin Thornton Maryland TESOL
2002  State Senator Pete Suazo Intermountain TESOL
2001   Governor Tom Vilsak Mid-America TESOL
2000  Dr. David Lam B.C. TEAL
1999  Assemblyman Ed Sullivan NYS TESOL

Outstanding Global Advocate Honor

From 2002-2010, a separate award recognized individuals from outside the United States who advocated for, and on behalf of, the ESL/EFL profession. Past honorees have included:
Year  Honoree Nominated by 
2002  Dr. Victor Galindo Sanchez  Mexico TESOL 
2003  Raffaele Sanzo   TESOL Italy 
2004  Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan  TESOL ARABIA 
2005  Dr. Vladimir Kurilov  FEELTA (Russia) 
2006  Sergio Bitar  TESOL Chile 
2007  Léon-Charles Ciss  ATES (Senegal) 
2008  Dr. K. Lakshminarayana  FORTELL (India) 
2009  Goran Andonovski & Zarko Hristovski  ELTAM (Macedonia) 
2010  Minister Lucy Molinar  Panama TESOL 


Questions can be directed to:

John Segota, CAE
Associate Executive Director for Public Policy & Professional Relations