AWLA Leadership & Affiliated Organizations


AWLA Members may access Executive Board, Executive Staff and Affiliated Organizations representatives' information through our Member Directory.  

For all other inquiries please email us at theawla@gmail.com

Executive Board

Executive Staff

Affiliated Organizations

AWLA Executive Board Documents & Forms

2018 Executive Board

President, Kristy Britt

Kristy Britt, MA, is Senior Instructor of Spanish at the University of South Alabama.  She has held many leadership positions including Treasurer of the International Association for Language Learning Technology, President of Southeast Association for Language Learning Technology, Director of the USA Language Resource Center, Coordinator of Introductory and Intermediate Spanish, Director of USA Study Abroad in Spain and Costa Rica, and Secretary of the USA Faculty Senate. She received her BA in Spanish and English from the University of South Alabama and her MA in Spanish from the University of California, Santa Barbara. She has taught levels 4-16. She was the 2015 Teacher of the Year (post-secondary) for the Alabama Association of Foreign Language Teachers. Languages: Spanish and English.

Vice President & Conference Program Chair, Jennifer Charles

Jennifer Charles currently teaches Spanish at Guntersville High School.  In addition, she teaches virtual classes, sponsors the Spanish Club and Spanish Honor Society, and coaches the Indoor Track Team.  She previously taught at Douglas High School where she was one of the first ACCESS Distance Learning teachers in the state.  Jennifer received her BS in Spanish Education from Jacksonville State University and her MA in Foreign Language Education from Auburn University.  She periodically leads students on educational tours to Spanish-speaking countries and her family also enjoys hosting exchange students.


Secretary, Elizabeth Conner

Elizabeth Conner has taught Latin at Saint James School in Montgomery since 1999. She is a member of the Alabama Classical League and enjoyed presenting a session at the 2015 Annual Institute. Languages: Latin, Italian.


Treasurer, Amanda Smith

Amanda Smith currently teaches French and Spanish at Hazel Green High School in Madison County Schools.  In addition, she works an online French instructor for ACCESS Distance Learning.  In the past, she taught world languages, English, and ESOL at Buckhorn High and in Huntsville City Schools.  She has contributed in many capacities from World Language Department Chairperson to sponsor of both French Club and Spanish Club.  She has served on the Alabama Federation of French Clubs Convention Committee and made presentations to numerous language and technology conferences.  She was recognized as Madison County’s Secondary Teacher of the Year in 2009.  Amanda Smith received her BA in Spanish from Mississippi University for Women and her MATL from the University of Southern Mississippi. Languages: English, French, and Spanish.

Membership Coordinator, Bethany Powell

Bethany Powell is originally from Brandon, Mississippi. She now lives in Cullman, Alabama with her husband, Anthony, and their furbabies, Emmy, Breezy, and Charlie. She graduated from Mississippi College with a B.A. in Elementary Education and from Belhaven University with a Master’s in Elementary Education. While in Mississippi she taught kindergarten and 6th grade. She then started a Spanish program at the middle school where she taught 7th and 8th grade Spanish for 5 years. Bethany moved to Alabama in 2014 and began teaching elementary Spanish for Madison City Schools. Since then, she has taught pre-k through 3rd grade Spanish with the intent that their young program will grow to be pre-k through 5th grade. Bethany also teaches English through an online platform called VIPKID to students in China.

Parliamentarian & Social Media Director, Sandrine Hope

Sandrine Hope, PhD, is an Instructor at the University of Alabama. Sandrine has taught at the University of Alabama and at Samford University. She is a French A.P. and French Praxis rater. Languages: French and English, some Spanish.

2018 Executive Staff

Executive Director, Malinda O'Leary

Malinda Blair O'Leary, PhD is an Assistant Professor of Spanish in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Her teaching specializes in business and professional Spanish as well as elementary, intermediate and advanced language acquisition.  She has served as a foreign language student teacher supervisor for the School of Education at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Languages: Spanish, Italian and English.

Advocacy Chair, Nick Gossett 

Nick Gossett, PhD, is an Assistant Professor of Russian at the University of South Alabama where he is the Russian language program director, the director of the Language Resource Center, the director of the South Alabama Language Institute, and the coordinator of the minor in Applied Linguistics. He received his BA in History and Russian from the University of South Alabama, and both his MA in Russian, Eastern European, and Eurasian studies and his PhD in Applied Slavic Linguistics from The University of Texas at Austin. Besides Russian language and culture, Nick is a specialist in both formative and summative assessment. Nick is also on the Alabama State Board of Education Course of Study Committee for World Languages as well as the IALLT representative to ACTFL. Languages: Russian, BCS, Czech, and English.

AWLA 2019 Site Chair, Leonor Vázquez- González

Dr. Leonor Vázquez-González is Professor of Spanish and the Foreign Language Program Coordinator in the College of Arts and Sciences. She received her B.A. from Universidad Autónoma de Querétaro,  her  two M.A. in Spanish and in Linguistics from Ohio University, and her Ph.D. in Spanish from Texas Tech University. Vázquez-González’s interests include 20th Century Indigenous Literature, cultural survival, 20th Century Latin American Literature, and Spanish Linguistics.

Professional Development Director, Krista Chambless

Krista S. Chambless, PhD, is an Assistant Professor of Foreign Languages and Education at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Krista has taught Spanish and French at all levels (pre-K-16). She currently teaches Spanish, French and foreign language methods courses. She as a member of the Southern Conference of Language Teaching (SCOLT) board and serves as Alabama's delegate to ACTFL. She was the SCOLT Educator of Excellence in 2013. Languages: Spanish, French, English.

Registration Chair, Christina Thurman

Christina Thurman grew up in Montevallo, and now lives in Montgomery with her husband, daughter, dog, and chickens. She graduated from the University of Alabama at Birmingham with a B.A. in Spanish and an M.Ed. in Spanish Education. She began teaching Spanish in 2002 and has taught K3 – SPA 101 (at UAB). She currently teaches at Prattville High School in Autauga County and also through ACCESS Virtual Learning. When not teaching, she enjoys learning and traveling.  She studied abroad in Guadalajara, Mexico, during the summers of 1993 and 1996 and has lived and worked in both Guatemala and the Republic of Georgia. She has traveled to Canada, Mexico, Bahamas, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, England, Germany, Austria, and Azerbaijan. Her goal is to travel to all 50 states, all Spanish-speaking countries, and all the continents.

Awards Director, Sara McCutcheon

Sara McCutcheon has taught at Cullman High School since 2007 and was named Cullman City Schools Teacher of the Year in 2014. She has taught Spanish I-IV, Bible as literature, and public speaking. Sara is sponsor of the Student Government Association, Spanish Club, and Spanish Honor Society. Her instructional leadership includes serving as the Foreign Language Instructional Team Leader, Formative Assessment In-Service Instructor, New Teacher Orientation Instructor, and Cullman High School SACS Accreditation Team Leader. She is currently a Distance Learning Educator with the ACCESS Distance Learning program. Sara has also completed professional learning in Mexico, Costa Rica, Spain, and numerous other countries.

AWLA 2019 Exhibits Chair, Stacey Beth-Mackowiak Ayotte

Dr. Stacey Beth-Mackowiak Ayotte is a Professor of French in the Department of English and Foreign Languages. She received her B.A. from Hope College and her M.A. and Ph.D. from Michigan State University. Ayotte specializes in Foreign Language Methodology and Pedagogy. Her secondary interest includes Phonetics.




Affiliated Organizations

AATF President, Anne Barton

Anne Barton is the president of the Alabama chapter of the American Association of Teachers of French. She holds an MA in French literature from the University of Virginia.  Anne teaches 4th through 8th grade French at Advent Episcopal School in downtown Birmingham.  Very active in the Alabama Federation of French Clubs for over 20 years, she has served as its president for the past three years. It is thanks to this experience that she has had the pleasure and privilege of meeting and working with many of Alabama’s wonderful French teachers. Languages: English, French, German.


AATG President, Peggy Boynton

Peggy Boynton has been the German teacher and Content Lead at James Clemens High School in Madison, Alabama since it first opened in 2012. She also began the Latin program at James Clemens. She received her B.A. from Ball State University in German with minors in Latin and Japanese. She earned her M.A. in Germanic Languages and Literatures from the University of Cincinnati. She has lived, studied, and traveled to all parts of the German-speaking world on many occasions. She was also a Fund for Teachers fellow during the summer of 2013 and traveled to Austria.   


AATSP President, Rhea Grate

Rhea Grate has taught Spanish at Booker T. Washington Magnet High School in Montgomery, Alabama, Wetumpka High School in Wetumpka, Alabama and is currently at Saint James High School in Montgomery.  She leads the Spanish Club and Spanish Honor Society at her school. Languages: Spanish, English and Conversational Dutch. 



SEALLT President, Jenny Faile

Jenny Faile, MA, is a Senior Instructor of Spanish at the University of South Alabama in Mobile, AL. She currently serves as Director of the Lesser Taught Languages Program, which includes classes in Arabic, ASL, Greek, Japanese, Korean and Portuguese. She also works closely with the National Association of Self-Instructional Language Programs (NASILP), serving as the Administrative Assistant to the NASILP Secretariat and Executive Director. She received her BA in Spanish from the University of South Alabama and her MA in Spanish - Applied Linguistics from the University of Alabama. She has taught introductory and intermediate language courses, as well as linguistics courses.


ACA President, Tatiana Summers

ACLTA President, Rui Feng






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