Juanita High School Japanese teacher wins state award for excellence in language teaching

Juanita High School Japanese teacher wins state award for excellence in language teaching
Kei Tsukamaki

Kei Tsukamaki is no stranger to winning awards. The Japanese language teacher from Juanita High School was the recipient of the American Association of Teachers of Japanese (AATJ) 2022 Teacher Award in the K-12 category. Now, she has been given the Washington Association for Language Teaching (WAFLT) Teacher of the Year award. 

According to the WAFLT website, the award is a recognition given to members (K-16 educators) who have a proven track record of:

  1. Promoting recognition of the importance of language study within and beyond the school community and/or educational institution
  2. Displaying innovative approaches and modeling creativity in the teaching of world languages, including sharing, networking and mentoring of colleagues.
  3. Promoting excellence and inspiring students.
  4. Creating a superior program for his/her department.
  5. Striving to promote greater cultural awareness, intercultural understanding, and the celebration of diversity within the classroom and school communities.

Here is a summary of Tsukamaki as to why she received the award:

Kei is a model language teacher, dedicating great energy to sharing her learning with others and making sure that her teaching reaches ALL learners. Her focus on connection and communication not only make her a successful teacher in her school setting, but also a successful presenter in the conference world. She is able to blend traditional and new approaches to make language learning engaging, personalized, and fun. 

The workshops that she has hosted at conferences and on behalf of WATJ have been transformative and inspiring. Kei is a regular presenter at state, regional, and national conferences on a variety of topics of interest to language educators, including inclusive teaching practices, games and activities, and social-emotional learning. She has served on the board of WAFLT, and was also the president of WATJ for a long time. Additionally, she is working with her department to write curriculum centered around ACTFL's core practices in a proficiency-oriented model. 

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