Election 2017

Three Candidates for PSMLA Executive Council to be elected

Shortly after midnight September 9, 2017, you will receive a ballot via email.  Voting is done by clicking the link in the email.  Choose three of the five candidates.  Balloting will begin on September 10, 2017 and end at midnight on September 23, 2017.  You must have a valid email address on the PSMLA website in order to vote. 

Isabel Espino de Valdivia, chair of Nomination Committee

Gabriela Appel, German

I am a Senior Lecturer in Applied Linguistics and German at The Pennsylvania State University with close to 30 years of teaching at the post-secondary level. As the Associate Director of CALPER, one of the U.S. Dept. of Education funded national Title VI Language Resource Centers, I spend significant time on planning and conducting professional development opportunities for teachers. My own work in this area focuses on pedagogical themes, such as project work, assessment, and vocabulary.  Lately, I initiated the network of teachers of Chinese in PA, called CLTNet, which brings together teachers for annual workshops and makes available online professional development resources. I also collaborated with two other colleagues to create the Penn State/NECTFL Fellow in Language Education program. I have 15 years of experience with grant administration, serving on various editorial boards (The Modern Language Journal, the NECTFL Review), and being the general editor of CALPER Publications. I would be honored to be involved with PSMLA and to strengthen its role in our state and to advocate for world language teaching. 


Karen Belcastro, French

Biography/Vision: I am entering my 19th year as a French teacher at Chartiers Valley High School and beginning my sixth year as World Languages Department Chair. Our school just completed its first year of the PSMLA Global Scholars Program, and I am honored to serve as the advisor for this worthwhile initiative.  In addition, our department was very proud to earn the Golden Globe PEP Award this past spring.  My vision for PSMLA is to continue to support Pennsylvania's World Language instructors with a network of professionals for sharing best practices, concerns and opportunities we have as language teachers.  As we prepare our students in the 21st century, second language instruction and acquisition is a vital component in an interdisciplinary approach to a global education.  I would like to see the Global Scholars Program and its core concepts grow to include more schools, emphasizing the importance world languages in a core curriculum. Finally, I would advocate for PSMLA to have a strong voice and collaboration with PDE, and maintain and utilize our K-16 connections among educators.


Kathy Fegely, German

Pennsylvania world language educators need to be active advocates at the state, regional and national level to advance the need for all students to become multi-lingual learners.  Through PSMLA, organized direction can be directed to share our common passion with legislators and our greater community.  Providing exceptional professional development opportunities is another vital service of PSMLA.  Working together, we can help all people better understand the necessity of learning other languages and support current and upcoming world language educators.  Having instructed German at a small public middle/senior high school in south central Pennsylvania, I have realized the need for continually educating students, colleagues, parents and administrators about the value of world languages.  I have been privileged to serve as the President of the American Association of Teachers of German and am a current member of the Board of Directors for NECTFL.  Knowledge and networking I have gained throughout the years will serve to assist PSMLA in varied professional areas.

Monica Fritchman, French/Spanish

I have been teaching French and Spanish for 19 years in the same district in northwest Pennsylvania.  I am looking forward to working with this organization to better promote World Language programs in my area as well as across the state.  This opportunity would allow me to connect our small corner of Pennsylvania to our larger counterparts across the state and to share ideas to better enhance our programs.


Christina Huhn, Spanish

As an Assistant Professor of Spanish at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, my work includes foreign language education, program assessment, technology, and second language writing at all levels. I recently had the privilege to serve on the PSMLA Executive Council where I served as the chair of the publications committee and collaborated on the monumental task of revamping and updating the PSMLA website that you are now reading.

In addition to my past work with PSMLA, I am active in ACTFL, currently serve as president of the Appalachian Professional Language Educators’ Society (APPLES), a local collaborative of foreign language teachers in Central/Western PA, and have facilitated sessions at local, regional, and national conferences. Prior to joining my Foreign Language colleagues in PA, I served as president of the West Virginia Foreign Language Teacher’s Association.

We have a wonderful community of language educators in this part of the state, and I welcome opportunities to support the continuation of that community as part of the PSMLA ExCo.

I look forward to continuing my involvement with PSMLA and ExCo as we continue our mission to support foreign language educators throughout the state of PA!


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