TexTESOLer of the Year

TexTESOL III is proud to announce the winners of the TexTESOLer of the Year Award, which is presented to a TexTESOL III member who has made exceptional contributions to the field of teaching English as a second language.


John Schmidt: 2016 Region III TexTESOLer of the Year

John earned his doctorate in Foreign Language Education at the University of Texas with an emphasis on ESL/EFL. He served for over a decade on the TEXTESOL III Board of Directors in various positions, including Vice President, President, and State Conference Co-Chair.In 1982 John attended his first TESOL International Convention and has attended all 35 conventions between then and this year, taking on the roles of Associate Convention Chair in Philadelphia (2012), Dallas (2013), and Toronto (2015), as well as Convention Program Chair in Portland (2014).

In addition to serving on the TESOL Awards and Membership Committees, John has been a member of TESOL’s Board of Directors, currently through 2018. A frequent TEXTESOL and TESOL convention presenter, John has participated in TESOL affiliate conferences and trained EFL teachers in other contexts on five continents.
An ESL/EFL author and materials developer, John’s most recent work is in TESOL Press publications— New Ways in Teaching with Humor (October 2016) and Voices from the TESOL Adult Classroom (March 2017). John works in Austin as the Academic Coordinator, as well as an instructor and EFL teacher trainer, at the Texas Intensive English Program of the Texas International Education Consortium.

Nancy Meredith: 2015 Region III TexTESOLer of the Year
Nancy Meredith is currently enrolled in the doctoral program of The University of Texas Foreign Language Education Department, with a specialization in ESL/EFL.  Until recently, she served many years as our TexTESOL III Webmaster. She is also a part-time ESL teacher in the Adult Education Department of Austin Community College. She holds an MA degree in Foreign Language Education from UT Austin, an MA degree in speech from Northwestern University, a BA with Honors from The University of Texas at Austin, and a Texas Adult Education Teacher Credential.  Before entering the world of adult education, she taught ESL as a volunteer and then in middle school for 4.5 years. In her life before teaching, she was a technical writer and editor.  

Mimi Parris: 2014 Region III TexTESOLer of the Year
Mimi holds an MA in Foreign Language Education and taught public high school German, Spanish and ESL for thirty years before beginning a second career in IEP/ESL in 2006. She was a Fulbright exchange teacher in Germany, after which she organized ten exchanges to Munich with her high school students. She was also actively involved in the German Advanced Placement (AP) Program, serving for fifteen years as an AP Reader, for ten years as a German AP Teacher Trainer/Presenter all over the U.S., and for four years on the national German Test Development Committee with the College Board. She co-authored two College Board publications about teaching AP German. Using her public school experiences, she is currently an ESL Instructor and Academic Coordinator at the Texas Intensive English Program in Austin, where she has also helped train teacher groups from Korea, Japan, India, Chile and Argentina. She co-wrote the Fulbright Korea Proficiency Test for Writing and Speaking in 2007 for Korean ninth-graders. Downloadher teaching philosophy.

“I highly recommend Mimi Parris for·TexTESOLer·of the·Year·because of her dedication to her students, her excellence at overseeing her faculty, and her professionalism in the TESOL field.··There is no one more deserving of this·honor..” Jill Rolston-Yates


Elaine K. Horwitz: 2013 Region III TexTESOLER of the Year
Dr. Elaine K. Horwitz is Professor of Curriculum and Instruction and Director of the Graduate Program in Foreign Language Education at the University of Texas at Austin. She teaches courses in language teaching methodology, second language acquisition, language testing, and second language research methods. She is well-known for her research on language anxiety and student and teacher beliefs about language learning. She is the author of Becoming a Language Teacher: A Practical Guide to Second Language Learning and Teaching, 2nd ed. and coeditor (with Dolly Young) ofLanguage Anxiety: From Theory and Practice to Classroom Implications. She has been involved with TexTESOL III off and on since 1980. Download Dr. Horwitz’s statement of her teaching philosophy.

“We have had the pleasure of working closely with Dr. Horwitz for nearly four years in the Foreign Language Education (FLE) MA program and now the PhD program. She always encourages students and makes them feel less anxious about accepting challenging academic goals as she carries her anxiety reduction expertise into her graduate classes. She is known for her Stephen Krashen impersonations as well as her frilly pink dress stories. Her use of humor helps make SLA theories not only memorable, but also applicable.” — Crystal Kusey & Nancy Meredith


 Crystal Kusey: 2012 Region III TexTESOLER of the Year
Crystal Kusey studied abroad in Seville, Spain and in Buenos Aires, Argentina before earning a BA in English Literature and Spanish from The University of Texas at Austin. She taught English in South Korea and then went on to pursue an MA in Foreign Language Education from the University of Texas at Austin. She is currently a doctoral student in the department of Foreign Language at The University of Texas at Austin where she is particularly interested in interaction research involving intercultural communication. Currently, she teaches upper-level listening and speaking at the Texas Intensive English Program (TIEP). Click here to download her philosophy of education

It is our sincere pleasure to nominate our colleague Crystal Kusey for the award of TexTESOLer of the Year 2012 for Affiliate Region III. We have known Crystal for almost two years as her Academic Coordinators and fellow ESL teacher at the Texas Intensive English Program (TIEP) in Austin.… Other teachers at TIEP often comment that Crystal is a very giving colleague. Although she is extremely busy working full time and taking her PhD coursework, she always finds time to help colleagues when they need it, whether it involves sharing her technological skills or her teaching tips. She was also instrumental in organizing two very successful sessions at the TexTESOL conference in Austin in October 2011, about teaching Saudi students, which was expanded for a session at the international TESOL conference in Philadelphia in March 2012. These sessions included both teachers and Saudi students from TIEP. In addition, she was able to co-present other sessions with graduate students and her professor Dr. Veronica Sardegna about pronunciation.” — Mimi Parris & John Schmidt


Harishini Marysze Ernest: 2011 Region III TexTESOLer of the Year
Harishini Ernest has a PhD in Applied Linguistics from The University of Texas at Austin. She has taught K-12, community college, and university levels, and has been involved in educational consulting, program evaluation, administration, and teaching since 1984. Professionally, she is an ESL Coordinator with Austin ISD where her responsibilities include teaching, teacher mentoring, and curriculum development. Actively involved in TexTESOL III for many years. Click here to download her personal statement.

“I have known Dr. Harishini Ernest since 2007 when I joined the board of TexTESOL III. At that time, Harishini held an executive leadership position, and had already gained the experience of running a state conference (TexTESOL 2006). She and only a handful of faithful board members successfully put on the 2006 conference and continued on the board through the next five years. Soon after the 2006 conference, she became the treasurer of the organization and brought with her more than a decade of fiscal management experience in the non-profit sector, which supported the operations of the board through the years. As a District Coordinator for Austin ISD, she is an outspoken advocate for English language learners and passionate about implementing programs that will increase their English proficiency and academic content knowledge. She can often be found in her office well after all have gone home answering calls from principals, assistant principals, and teachers on issues relating to ELLs. She is fiercely attentive to detail, especially when TT3 enters into contracts, and for this and so many other reasons, she is our TexTESOLer of the Year! We are proud to honor her.” — Linda Muñoz


Nancy Meredith: 2010 Region III TexTESOLer of the Year
Nancy Meredith is currently enrolled in the MA program of The University of Texas Foreign Language Education Department, with a specialization in ESL/EFL. She is also a part-time ESL teacher in the Adult Education Department of Austin Community College, a McDonald’s English Under the Arches instructor, webmaster for TexTESOL Region III, and Communications Officer for the UT Foreign Language Education Students Association. She holds an MA degree in speech from Northwestern University, a BA with Honors from The University of Texas at Austin, and a Texas Adult Education Teacher Credential. Before entering the world of adult education, she taught ESL as a volunteer and then in middle school for 4.5 years. In her life before teaching, she was a technical writer and editor. Click here to download her personal statement.


Galadriel Friese: 2009 Region III TexTESOLer of the Year
Galadriel Friese, ESOL teacher at Martin Middle School in Austin, is the 2009 TexTESOLer of the Year for region III. In addition to her classroom and administrative responsibilities, Ms. Friese also sponsors extracurricular activities and schoolwide organizations to foster respect for and pride in diversity. Other awards she has received include Teacher of Promise (2005) and Teacher of the Year (2008–2009). Ms. Friese served as 2009–2010 Delegate-at-Large for Secondary Education on the TexESOL III board. Click here to download her personal statement.


Beverly Ingram Sladek: 2008 Region III TexTESOLer of the Year
The 2008 award for Region III TexTESOLer of the Year went to Beverly Ingram Sladek. Ms. Sladek is an instructor with the Texas State Intensive English Program in San Marcos and co-author of From Writing to Composing, (Cambridge University Press). Click here to download her personal statement.