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EIU Department of
World Languages and Cultures

Star Teachers

We are proud of our teacher education students in World languages. You will find our alumni at high schools all over Illinois--and beyond. Due to their passion for teaching, dedication, and strong language skills they have built great programs at their schools. They love to return to EIU for our Department's annual "Culture Days" and bring their Spanish, French, and German classes.

Cathryn Harshman

Milford High School in Milford, IL


"2017-2018 is my third year of teaching high school levels I-IV, which includes several CHshort-term projects in grades PK-8.  Our school is rurally located and relatively small with 182 students in grades 9-12, but I quickly fell in love with the family-like atmosphere.  Several of my students participate in International Club where they work with groups throughout the school and community. 

I also stay active professionally with a few groups introduced to me by our Methods class at Eastern.  I currently serve as the Region 4 Director for ICTFL, am a contributing member of the GlobalFest Planning Committee, and am helping to train fellow teachers by presenting during the ICTFL 2017 fall conference, ICTFL 2018 and 2019 WinterFest workshops in Mahomet, and the Central States 2018 conference in Milwaukee. 

I am always working to write better curricula and help other small districts expand the depth and breadth of their world language programs.  Although World Language Instruction is my passion, I also recently began working toward a Master's Degree in Educational Leadership through my beloved alma mater." 




Stephanie Cascio

ESL and Spanish Literacy

Cascio"I studied Spanish and Italian at EIU and graduated with a BA in both Elementary Education and World Language. After graduation, I relocated to Michigan to teach Spanish to 250 students at the elementary level. During the summer of 2014, I traveled to Spain to explore Alicante, Barcelona, Madrid, and revisit Salamanca… the place in my EIU journey where I realized my desire to acquire a second major in World Languages! I am currently pursing an MA in both ESL and Bilingual Education at Olivet Nazarene University and am in my third year teaching ESL and Spanish literacy at a Transitional Bilingual School. I'm overdue for another adventure abroad and have Italy and Costa Rica on my horizon." 







Sarah Wojda  Sarah Wojda

French Ministry of Education

“With determination of teaching abroad for the year after my graduation, I have been working outside the realm of teaching French. I first worked as a full-time substitute at Hinsdale South high school. I recommend new teachers who struggle with classroom management to experience the role of substitute teaching. Your experiences will teach you confidence and management skills that you will later bring into your own classroom. I currently work at Hoffman Estates high school as a Teaching Assistant in an academic center. My role is building rapport with students who have very poor grades. I strive to teach organization and communication skills that will teach students to be successful not only in school but in life.

I have been accepted into the Teaching Assistant Program in France by the French Ministry of Education, where I will be teaching English at the primary school level for the 2016-2017 school year. I cannot wait to move back to France not only to build upon my French skills but also my teaching!"





Julia Holecek  Julia Holecek

Ladue Horton Watkins High School, Ladue, MO

Spanish 1 and Spanish 3

“Spanish 1 is fun and I love that I get to expose my students to a new language and get them excited about it. I enjoy Spanish 3 because I am able to spend most of the class period in the target language and converse with students. I've thoroughly enjoyed my first few years of teaching and look forward to the many years ahead. I enjoy my students who challenge me and make me laugh on a daily basis!”  









Levi Antrim Levi Antrim

Edwardsville High School, Edwardsville, IL

German 1 & 2

“I am planning on starting a GAPP exchange at EHS. I'm a great example of how an exchange program like that can make a huge difference in a student's life. If it weren't for the exchange in which I participated in 2004 I probably wouldn't be teaching German today.”








 April Karpus-Weddle

April Karpus-Weddle 

Effingham High School in Effingham, IL

French 1,2,3,4

“I've been teaching for 6 years now and I love it! My students make me smile every day and they tell me that learning French is fun. It's great to hear and I love having fun in class. We sing and dance a lot. I'm also the sponsor of French Club and it's great exposing these kids to new cultures and experiences. I especially love being the only French teacher (which sounds weird), but I get to see the students from their freshman year all the way until they graduate. My French 3 and 4 classes truly feel like a family.” 







Cindy Lewis Cindy Lewis

Taylor Preparatory High School in Taylor, MI.

Spanish 1 and 3

“I love teaching because it is a rewarding career where I am a positive influence for students. I enjoy how each day is different in teaching Spanish and truly enjoy all my students. Currently, I attend Eastern Michigan University where I am working towards my Master of Arts in World Languages-Spanish.“ 







Lynette Cervi Lynette Cervi

Jacksonville High School, Jacksonville, IL

German 1-5 ; GAPP coordinator.


“I am a Jacksonville HS alum. I literally grew up in District 117 starting in Kindergarten at South Elementary School until I graduated from Jacksonville HS in 2006. I loved learning German. During my sophomore year, I hosted a German exchange student through GAPP (German American Partnership Program) and became a GAPP student myself. Being part of this exchange fueled my desire to become a German teacher. GAPP creates lifelong friendships—my GAPP partner from sophomore year was maid of honor at my wedding.” 




Emily Golden Emily Golden

Altamont Community High School, Altamont, IL

Spanish I-IV

“Teaching has been one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences of my life. I wouldn’t trade it for anything!”











Katie Rahn Katie Rahn

Centennial High School, Champaign, IL

Spanish 2 and 3

“ Currently I'm working on a Master's of Education from U of I in Curriculum and Instruction (also getting my ESL endorsement through this program).” 







Erica McNeely Erica McNeely

Newton Community High School, Newton, IL

Spanish I, II, III

Spanish Club Sponsor; Germany--Student Cultural Exchange Sponsor

“There are hard days but my students mean the world to me.” 






Lauren Hall

Lauren Hall

St. Joseph's Academy in St. Louis, MO

Honors Culture and Language; Spanish 2 

“I graduated 2008 from the University of Illinois, then pursued post-Bac teacher cert and completed in 2010 at Eastern. This summer, I’ll be exploring Europe!” 








Bianca Capezio Bianca Capezio

Lyons Township High School in La Grange, IL

Spanish 2 Accel (a fast-paced, more rigorous Spanish 2 course); Spanish 2 Prep. They both use the same textbook but I have to modify activities, assessments, and projects for each level.

"I highly encourage first-year teachers to get involved. Along with teaching, I've joined a Professional Development team. Also, I am the Junior Varsity Girls' Gymnastics Coach. Even though life is extremely busy, it helps with time management and you become really involved with the school. In addition, you get to work with your students outside the classroom environment. Days will be extremely hard, but all it takes is one student to say 'Thank you' or you see them understand the material. That is what really makes it all worth it!"





Emily Pedziwiatr
Emily Pedziwiatr

Lincoln-Way East High School in Frankfort, IL

German 1, 2, 3 and 4

“I love seeing how interested the students get in German and German speaking countries and how that leads to their language growth. Cultural learning and language learning go hand in hand. I spent a semester in Lüneburg and a summer in Berlin and Leipzig while studying at EIU. My first-hand experience of Germany enriches my German lessons every day. My future plans are to continue working at Lincoln-Way East and start working towards my Master’s degree.”   







Dawnaya Key Dawnaya Key

Mt. Zion High School in Mount Zion, IL

Spanish II, III, IV, and AP (college prep class)

Spanish Club & International Club (World Exchange Program) Sponsor

“ I was born to become a Spanish teacher. I am one of the most passionate teachers you could ever meet and I absolutely love what I do. It is a privilege and blessing to be bilingual and I’m proud to help my students reach the ultimate goal of bilingualism through sharing the same language that I learned as a child. I am currently writing my first book about the journey that led me to teaching Spanish and hope to publish it within the next year.”









Kenisha Chinnell Davis Kenisha Davis

New York City

"After student teaching [in Spanish] in an inner-city charter school, I left Chicago to teach English as a Second Language (ESL) in Otavalo, Ecuador. I loved the rural lifestyle so much that I made Arkansas--the natural state--my home for a year to teach high school Spanish in a small town. Then, I traveled to the Big Apple as an ESL field monitor, overseeing classes all over the five boroughs of New York City. Currently, I am a program manager for a tech non-profit that teaches underserved youth in NYC how to code. "

"Each of my jobs has required me to teach young adults and create curriculum while using the valuable language skills I acquired at EIU."




Related Pages

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Department of World Languages & Cultures

Coleman Hall, First Floor
Fax: 217-581-3113

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