Marty Abbott

Martha Abbott is the Executive Director of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) where she was the Director of Education since 2004. Prior to joining ACTFL, she was the Director of High School Instruction in the Fairfax County Public Schools (VA) and also served as its Foreign Language Coordinator and as a high school teacher of Spanish and Latin. Abbott has also taught briefly at the elementary and postsecondary levels. She has held a wide variety of leadership positions including President of ACTFL in 2003, Chair of the Northeast Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages in 1999, and President of the Foreign Language Association of Virginia in 1996. She earned her B.A. Degree in Spanish with a minor in Latin from the University of Mary Washington and her M.S. in Spanish Linguistics from Georgetown University.

Dr. William P. Rivers

Screen Shot 2016-06-29 at 10.03.51 AMDr. Rivers has 20 years of experience in culture and language for economic development and national security, with expertise in research, assessment, program evaluation, and policy development and advocacy. He chairs ASTM Technical Committee F43, Language Services and Products and the U.S. Technical Advisory Group to ISO Technical Committee 232, Training in the Informal Sector. Before joining JNCL-NCLIS, he served as Chief Scientist at Integrated Training Solutions, Inc., a small business in Arlington, Virginia, where he focused on strategic planning, management, and advanced technologies for language and culture programs in the public sector. While at ITS, he served in a contractor role as the Chief Linguist of the National Language Service Corps. Prior to working at ITS, he was a founding member of the Center for Advanced Study of Language (CASL) at the University of Maryland, and was a staff member of the National Foreign Language Center from 1994 to 2003. During his career, Dr. Rivers has also taught Russian at the University of Maryland, worked as a freelance interpreter and translator, and conducted field work in Kazakhstan, where he regularly returns to teach at several universities. He received his Ph.D. in Russian from Bryn Mawr College and his MA, BA, and BS from the University of Maryland. He speaks Russian and French.

Maria Tukeva

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Maria Tukeva is the Principal of Columbia Heights Educational Campus DCPS. After earning a degree in Spanish literature and journalism at Pennsylvania State University, Tukeva received a master’s degree in linguistics and bilingual education at Georgetown University. She worked as an educational specialist developing curricula for dropout prevention programs targeting Hispanics nationwide and started her own alternative high school. Modeled after a successful alternative school that mainly served black students in Philadelphia, in 1981 Tukeva launched the Multicultural Career Intern Program which became part of the D.C. school system in 1989. The program was one of the constituents of today’s Columbia Heights Educational Campus.

Maquita Alexander


Maquita Alexander is the Head of School of Washington Yu Ying PCS. Prior to becoming Head of School in 2012, she served as the Principal of the school from 2009. She has led the educational effort of the School to develop a first of its kind Chinese immersion program and the School’s International Baccalaureate program. Maquita has honed a Chinese program team with whom she works closely to develop effective classroom management strategies for new immersion teachers. Maquita has over twenty years of teaching and administrative experience, including fifteen years in the Fairfax County Public School system, seven of which she served as an elementary school teacher. She has a Master of Arts in Educational Technology Leadership from George Washington University, a Master of Teaching in Elementary Education from Virginia Commonwealth University, and an administrative certification in Curriculum and Administration from George Mason University. She is a founding advisory board member of Chinese Early Learning Immersion Network. She has presented on Immersion Education at the National Chinese Language Conference and The American Council Teachers of Foreign Language multiple times.