Educator Wins National Award for Innovation in Language Education

Dec 17, 2020

HHS AP Allison Ginn

Heritage High School assistant principal Allison Ginn has been honored with the 2020 Leo Benardo Award for Innovation in K-12 Language Education by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages.

This prestigious award honors World Language educators who demonstrate significant contributions towards innovative instructional practices and programs. The ACTFL is recognized globally as a leader in language education. Their language proficiency standards are utilized throughout the world and are even embedded with the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills, the backbone of every Texas student’s education.

Ginn has been an educator since 2006 and she has served as a Spanish teacher, instructional coach, lead teacher, coordinator and assistant principal in Frisco, Plano and Lovejoy ISDs.

Allison served as the District’s first world languages, health and physical education coordinator before returning to work on campus as an assistant principal in the fall of 2020. During her time as coordinator, she led more than 100 world language teachers in their pursuit of engaging students in meaningful, innovative learning.

Ginn is currently an assistant principal at Heritage High School where she is thankful for the opportunity to make an impact with teachers and students while balancing being a wife and mother.

“The connections I can make with students through our daily interactions mean everything to me,” Ginn said. “I enjoy growing with teachers and supporting them in their pursuits and their career paths.”

In her role as world language coordinator, Ginn expanded opportunities for students to earn world language credit in languages including Telugu, Tamil, Hindi, Arabic and several others.

In an effort to honor students’ home languages, students can now gain language credit through Avant testing and through pre-approved local courses from accredited organizations.

Ginn shifted the practice of language teachers to proficiency-oriented instruction aligned to the ACTFL World Readiness Standards and improved outcomes for all learners. 

“She took a subject that once had the highest failure rate in the District and transformed it into one of the lowest failure rates in the District,” said Dr. Angela Romney, managing director of academic programs. “Meanwhile she helped substantially improve upon student enrollment in language courses while expanding credit opportunities.

“We are thankful for her leadership and what she brings to Frisco ISD students and staff.”

During her time supporting world languages, Ginn led the world language staff on a journey to shift their instructional focus to emphasize relevant communication skills and align the curriculum with ACTFL standards.

“Throughout her years of service, Ginn has grown capacity in her world language teachers, which in turn grows capacity in our students,” said Allison Lau, Memorial High School world languages instructional coach. “She designed impactful learning experiences through professional development workshops, trainings, observations and learning walks.”

Ginn was recognized at the virtual ACTFL national conference and received a cash award and a plaque for her accomplishment, but she refuses to accept the award without acknowledging those who have helped mold her.

“I would not be the educator I am today without the support of this district,” Ginn said. “One of our future-ready leader attributes is to innovate and I am blessed to work with educational leaders like Dr. Angela Romney, Phil Evans and my principal Dr. Katey Gray who allow me to challenge the process and continue to push boundaries every single day for our students and staff.”

Click here to watch the virtual ceremony and Ginn's acceptance speech.
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