The 2024 NNELL Award for Outstanding Support of Early Second Language Learning

And the award goes to…! NNELL is seeking nominations for the NNELL award for Outstanding Support of Early Second Language Learning that will be presented at the ACTFL 2024 Conference, in Philadelphia , PA, November 22-24.


The NNELL Award for Outstanding Support of Early Second Language Learning will be given to an individual or individuals who have demonstrated outstanding support of early second language learning of languages other than English. Nominees may be actively involved in their efforts in a variety of ways including, but not limited to, the following: principal or other school administrator, district or state school superintendent, classroom teacher, parent, school board member, businessperson, civic leader, politician/elected representative. Nominees should be individuals whose primary job responsibilities are not related to the field of second language education.

The nomination for this award will be in the form of two letters of recommendation (a letter of recommendation and a letter of support) from individuals who can attest to the nominee’s work in the field of early language learning. The letter of nomination must come from a current NNELL member, and the letter of support should be written by another individual who is very familiar with the nominee’s work for early language learning. The letters should include documentation that clearly demonstrates evidence of the ways in which the nominee supports early language learning and that is clearly separate and distinct from the individual’s primary job responsibilities.

The nomination may also include up to five photocopied pages of supporting evidence such as copies of newspaper articles that recognize the nominee’s work for early language learning (brochures, pamphlets, etc. will not be accepted). The following are examples of criteria that can be considered in writing the letters of nomination as they apply to the nominee’s work on behalf of early language learning:

  • Demonstrates commitment to early second language learning in the school and the community, e.g., seeks ways to inform the community of the need for beginning language study early as an integral part of the school curriculum and in an uninterrupted sequence
  • Provides visibility to the second language program, e.g., seeks media and/or newspaper publicity of school foreign language events, sends newsletter with second language program updates to parents
  • Provides leadership in establishing and maintaining early second language programs at the local or state level
  • Supports and provides professional development opportunities for early second language specialists
  • Advocates for early second language programs at the local or state level, e.g., represents his or her foreign language program at local or state school board meetings
  • Serves on local or state committees for early second language learning, e.g., advocacy projects, state world/foreign language association committee or board, PTA
  • Supports exemplary ongoing second language instruction in his/her classroom, e.g., collaborates with the world language specialist on interdisciplinary projects

Three copies of the nomination packet including the two letters of nomination and up to five pages of sample supporting evidence should be emailed as one nomination submission with a postmark date of no later than July 30  to:  Edgar Serrano  presidentelect@nnell.org

2023 NNELL Award for Outstanding Support of Early Language Learning


Dr. Tracy Vik


Sonia Sotomayor Elementary School 

Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Dr. Tracy Vik holds BAs in elementary and special education from Black Hills State University, ME in educational technology from Lesley University, specialist and doctoral degrees in educational administration from the University of South Dakota.  Tracy is in her seventh year as principal of the K-5 Spanish Immersion Program located at Sonia Sotomayor Elementary School in Sioux Falls. Previously she was assistant principal at Edison Middle School for four years, and the staff development coordinator for the Sioux Falls School District for six years. Tracy worked for the SD Department of Education/Office of Technology as a technology integrationist, and prior to that, taught special education at the middle/high school in Douglas, WY.

Dr. Vik was named the 2020 South Dakota National Distinguished Principal. Other awards include 2019 Black Hills State University Excellence in Education Alumni Award, 2018 South Dakota District Sertoma Service to Mankind District Award, 2017 Compassionate Sioux Falls, Argus Leader Media People to Watch in 2016, 2015 South Dakota American Legion Good Samaritan Award, 2014 South Dakota Education Association Human and Civil Rights Award.

Dr. Vik and her husband, Todd, have four grown children.  In her free time, Tracy loves to golf, read, and spend time with family and friends. In 2006 Tracy and her daughter started Project Warm-Up to provide new fleece blankets to children in need. Over the past 15 years, more than 27,000 blankets have been distributed.

Dr. Vik loves learning about the Spanish language and culture along with her students from her diverse staff.

Past Award Winners
2022 Award Winner-  Dr. Kate Carter, Superintendent, South Windsor CT Public Schools. Please click here to see more.

2021 Award Winner- Nicole Leach, English Learner and Dual Language specialist at the Indiana Dept. of Education. Please click here to see more.

2020 Award Winner- Dr. Vesna Dimitrieska, Coordinator of Global Education Initiatives, Indiana University-Bloomington’s School of Education and the Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies. Please click here to see more.

2019 Award Winner- Ms. Krissy Brown, Principal, Mount Rose K-8 School of Languages, Washoe County School District,  Reno, Nevada. Please click here to see more.

2018 Award Winner – Dr. Steven Garcia, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction & Personnel for Pelham Public Schools, New York.  Please click here to see more.

2017 Award Winner —  Rep.​ ​Peggy​ ​Mayfield, Assistant​ ​Majority​ Floor ​Leader,​ ​House​ ​of​ ​Representatives​ ​in​ ​the Indiana​ ​General​ ​Assembly. Please click here to see more.

2016 Award Winner — Dr.​ ​Renee​ ​Foose  – Superintendent,​ ​Howard​ ​County​ ​Public​ ​Schools . Please click here to see more.

Please click here to see who won our awards in the past.


NNELL Award Chair 2023-2024

Edgar Serrano

2024 NNELL Awards Committee

If you would like to serve on the 2024  Awards Committee, please contact Edgar Serrano,  presidentelect@nnell.org.


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