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Florida Foreign

Language Association

FFLA Hall of Fame

When teachers have received a "Most Valuable Teacher" Award from FFLA 5 times, they are admitted to the FFLA Hall of Fame.  Listed below are the Hall of Famers from the inception of the program in 2002 to date.  

Sylvia Amaya


Sylvia A. Amaya


2007-2010 Immersion Coordinator, for Dual Language and Immersion Programs in Pinellas County


Degree in Elementary Education from the University of South Florida
2003-National Board Certification


2007 Irving Wershow Award for Excellence in Leadership in the Profession-FFLA

Professional Bio

CURRENT:  Working with ESOL students from Cuba, India, Bulgaria, Mexico, Bosnia, and Arabic children.

40 years with the Pinellas County Schools.

1986-One of a team of teachers who started

Early Language Program in Pinellas County.

2002-Started the FLETT program at a Pinellas County Elementary School.

2007-2010 Immersion Coordinator, for Dual

Language and Immersion Programs in Pinellas County



2007-08- President-World Lang. Association

NNELL State Representative

NNELL Southeast Regional Representative

Service to FFLA. 

2002 FFLA Local Committee

2008 FFLA Local Committee, Chairperson

2010 FFLA Local Committee, Co-Chairperson

2012 FFLA Local Committee, Chairperson

Presenter at FFLA since the late 80’s including the popular Musica, Maestro.


Always dream and reach higher than you know you can reach.  Don’t bother just to be better than your contemporaries and predecessors; try to be better than yourself.

Mieko Avello


Mieko Yamaguchi Avello


Japanese Language Teacher, Miami Palmetto Senior High School, Miami Dade County Public Schools


Bachelor Degree from Florida International University (FIU), currently a Master Degree Candidate in Curriculum and Instruction in Modern Language also at FIU.


FFLA: The Most Valuable Teacher Award 2014, 2013, 2012, and 2009.

FFLA: Japanese teacher of the year 2012.

Senator Alex Diaz de la Portilla : Certificate of Appreciation for Teaching Youth 2010.

Cheng & Tsui: Professional Development Award 2008.

FFLA:  Teacher of Promise Award 2006.

Professional Bio


Japanese Language Instructor at Miami Palmetto Sr HS 2005-present, and Florida International University 2014-present.


Co-Director for Fall Conferences at Association of American Teachers of Japanese 2015-16.

AP Japanese Question Leader 2008-present.

AP Japanese Language and Culture Test Development Committee Member 2008-12.

Director of Association of FL Teachers of Japanese 2007-09, and 2012-present.

President of Association of FL Teachers of Japanese 2009-11.



Service to FFLA

FFLA Board Member 2009-11, Presenter at various sessions 2008-present.


Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn. 

– Benjamin Franklin

Craig Bebergal


Dr. Craig Bebergal


Lead Latin Teacher, Florida Virtual School


PhD Humanities FSU

MEd Educational Psychology FAU

BA Latin FSU


2014 Classical Assoc of FL Travel Scholarship

2013 FFLA Scholarship to attend ACTFL

Professional Bio

Craig has helped write the Certification exam for Florida, Beta-tested a Latin textbook for Bolchazy publishers, worked on the Latin EOC committee, served on the State Forum Planning committee, organized and assisted at Regional Fora, and serves as both CAF Treasurer and Webmaster. Craig currently assists the full team of Latin teachers at FLVS to ensure students all over the state have the chance to enjoy Latin.

Service to FFLA

Craig has presented at FFLA 4 times.


“Forsan et haec olim meminisse iuvabit” -Vergil

Pam Benton


Pam Benton


World Languages Specialist, Pinellas County Schools


BA Spanish & Education, MED Curriculum & Instruction:  Interdisciplinary Studies, EDS Educational Leadership


FAATSP Teacher of the year 2012, FFLA Teacher of the year 2009, Semi-finalist Pinellas County Teacher of the Year 2008 & 1994, Teacher of the Year Dunedin Middle school 1994, 2011 FFLA Mini-Grant winner

Professional Bio

CURRENT:  Pinellas County Hospital Homebound (Spanish 1-5, French 1-6) & AP Spanish Language & AP Spanish Literature to students who are in schools that don't offer AP courses.

HISTORY: 18 years Pinellas County Schools, 3 years Leon County Schools, 3 years Berlitz Korea, 1 year Nagano-Clearwater Teacher Exchange; Nagano, Japan

PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS:  2013 President Florida Foreign Language Association **Joint conference with ACTFL Orlando 2013**.  Immediate Past President Florida Chapter AATSP.  SCOLT, WLTA, NEA, AFT, ASCD, NAME, IALLT, SEALLT, ISTE, PDK

Service to FFLA

2013 President, 2012 (et al) Presenter, 2012 President Elect, 2011 Parliamentarian, 2007-2011 FAATSP Rep (President), 2007 Parliamentarian


“To have another language is to possess a second soul.”

Alan Blessing


Alan R. Blessing


Latin and German teacher


A.B. in Classics from Florida Presbyterian (now Eckerd) College

M.A. in Classics, Florida State University


1980 – recipient of Fulbright-Hays grant from Italy and the United States to study for six weeks at the American Academy in Rome

1983 – selected as one of twenty-five German teachers in the United States by the Fulbright Commission as exchange teacher to Germany, but unable to accept

1985 – recipient of the Semple Award from the Classical Association of the Middle, West and South to attend the American School of Classical Studies in Athens for six weeks

1989 – recipient of the travel scholarship from the Classical Association of Florida to tour classical sites in Turkey

1990 – FFLA Latin Teacher of the Year

Professional Bio

I began teaching in Florida in 1971 and have taught at Northeast High School in St. Petersburg  from 1975 to the present.  I have taught Latin, Classical Greek, German, and Spanish.  I have been a member of FFLA since 1974, as well as a member of the Classical Association of Florida, the Florida Association of Teachers of German and the American Classical League and the American Association of the Teachers of German.  I have thoroughly enjoyed the collegiality and friendship of all these organizations.

Service to FFLA

Second Vice-President, 1993-1994

Parliamentarian, 1994-1995

Board Member, 1992-1993,  2007-2008


Homines, dum docent, discunt –When you teach, you learn.

Φὐσιν ἔχειν ἄριστὀν ἐστι, δεῦτερον δὲ μανθἀνειν – To have talent is the best thing; to learn something is second

Annamarie Cairo-Tijerino


Annamarie Tijerino


Spanish Teacher at Gainesville High School


Master of Arts in Education from University of Florida

Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and English from Stetson University


Educator of the Year 2008-2009-Foreign Language Educators of North East Florida.

Spanish Teacher of the Year 2008-Florida American Assoc. of Teachers of Spanish, Portuguese.

1996 Florida District Teacher of the Year for Lafayette School District.

Florida Center for Teachers, July 1995, Summer Institute at University of Tampa participant.

Professional Bio

In the past 22 ½ years I have taught in 4 school districts and worked for one year at the FLDOE. Most of my experience was in small or rural districts and now a medium district, but students are all the same.  They want someone to understand them and listen to them.  This is the part of the job I love best along with the incredible opportunities for creativity.

Service to FFLA

Florida Foreign Language Association board member, March 2002 – October 2012; Special Appointment March 2002 - October 2002; Region 4 director, October 2002- October 2011; Region 2 director October 2011- October 2012.


“Every man’s reach must out distance his grasp or what’s a heaven for?” Robert Browning

Jacki Cinotti


Jacquelyn Cinotti-Dirmann


Spanish Teacher, Oceanway Middle School, Duval County Public Schools (2007-present)


Masters in Secondary Ed w/concentration in Spanish (University of North Florida)

 B.A. Spanish (Stetson University)


Above and Beyond Award, Oceanway Middle School, 2012-2013

 Florida Foreign Language Association (FFLA) Teacher of the Year, 2012-2013

 Leadership Award, Oceanway Middle School, 2011-2012


Educator of the Year, Foreign Language Educators of Northeast Florida, May 2011

 Duval County Public Schools Teacher of the Year Semi-Finalist, 2010-2011

 Teacher of the Year, Oceanway Middle School, 2010-2011

 Teacher Hall of Fame Inductee, Florida Foreign Language Association, October 2010

Outstanding Teacher Award-Electives, Oceanway Middle School, 2009-2010

Irving Wershow Award for Excellence in Leadership in the Profession, Florida Foreign Language Association, November 2008

Most Valuable Teacher Award, Florida Foreign Language Association, October 2009, November 2008, October 2002

 Extra Mile Faculty Award, Oceanway Middle School, 2007-2008

Who’s Who Among American Teachers, 1999

 Teacher of the Year, Highlands Middle School, 1994-1995

Professional Bio

After my first Spanish class at Fletcher Junior HS with Ms. Martínez, I knew I wanted to be a Spanish teacher.  I began my career at Highlands MS in1989, where I developed an effective 2-year Spanish 1 program. I worked at the district office (2001-2007) as the Resource Teacher for World Languages. I returned to the classroom in 2007 at Oceanway MS where I continue to share the Spanish language and culture with middle school students.

 Throughout my career I have dedicated myself to professional development through participation in professional organizations including FFLA, SCOLT, ACTFL and FLENEF (Foreign Language Educators of Northeast Florida).

Service to FFLA

- Local Committee Co-Chair, October 2011-October 2012

- Local Committee Co-Chair, November 2008-October 2009

- Newsletter (FFLAN) Editor, October 2006-Present

- JNCL Delegate/Legislative Liaison, October 2005-October 2006

- Past-President, October 2005-October 2006

- President, October 2004-October 2005; Conference Chair for 37th Annual FFLA, Inc. Conference: Foreign Language Education: Risky Business (October 13-15, 2005)

- Region 3 Director, January 2002-October 2004

- Special Appointee, October 2001-January 2002

- Special Appointee, October 1994-October 1997


I’m a perfectionist, but I’m not perfect.

Dr. Joanne C. Davis