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FCS Teacher and Student Named GaDOE 2023 Exemplary English Learner and ESOL Teacher

Pictured left to right: FCS Chief Academic Officer John Parker, APES Teacher Wendi Van Leuven, CHS Senior Kimberly Lima, FCS ESOL Coordinator Dr. Jennifer Pendergrass


Each year, the Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE) recognizes outstanding English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) teachers and English Learner (EL) students across the state. GaDOE accepts one teacher and one student nomination from each district. Alto Park Elementary teacher Wendi Van Leuven was chosen from her peers across the district to be nominated as the Floyd County Schools Exemplary ESOL Teacher because of her extraordinary commitment and excellence in English learner education. Mrs. Van Leuven nominated Coosa High senior Kimberly Lima as the Exemplary EL student for her ​leadership roles in her schools and community and her outstanding academic achievements. Both submitted applications to the Georgia Department of Education detailing their passionate work and accomplishments. 

Wendi Van Leuven has been recognized as a GaDOE 2023 Exemplary ESOL Teacher. She is one of 60 K-12 teachers representing 60 school systems or charter schools across the state with up to 35 years of teaching experience. 

Kimberly Lima has been recognized as a GaDOE 2023 Exemplary EL Student. She is one of 48 students representing 48 school systems or charter schools across the state. Of the group of students, 18 countries are represented as well as 13 languages other than English. 

Kimberly is a former EL who is now serving ELs through the Floyd County College and Career Academy’s Teaching as a Profession Pathway at Alto Park Elementary alongside Mrs. Van Leuven. 

See more photos from their surprise recognition HERE