We believe that learning a world language is no longer a luxury; it is a necessary skill that students must have in order to compete in a global economy.
21 of the top 25 industrialized countries begin the study of world languages in K-5.
Of all students, need is highest in underserved communities around the country, where public elementary schools cannot afford to provide courses for languages other than English. Children in these communities are excluded from the cognitive and competitive benefits that learning a second language offers.
Elisabeth Shovers is proud to be part of a team working towards such an important mission: to make students world and work ready through the study of high impact foreign languages and cultures.
Elisabeth moved to New York, after teaching kindergarten and first grade as a Teach For America Corps member in Chicago where she also earned her M.Ed. Prior to that, she received a B.A. in International Affairs from the George Washington University where she wrote her thesis on the Importance of Integrating Multicultural Education Programs into DC public schools, and then spent a year teaching English in France.
As a lover of languages, Elisabeth has studied French, Spanish, German, Hebrew, Mandarin, Hindi, and Wolof. Whenever she has the chance, she spends long periods of time immersed in different countries soaking up culture, language, and traditions. To date, she has lived in Germany, France, Senegal, and India and traveled to many other places. She realizes how influential these experiences have been, and wants to create the same opportunities for all GLP students.
Manager of Teacher Training
Michelle Paradies personifies the impact of high quality world language instruction. She had no exposure to world languages or other cultures before entering junior high school, but a great teacher of Spanish changed her whole outlook on life. Now her mission is to make sure that students across America have the same access to top-notch language instruction that is common in schools in other parts of the world, especially Europe.
A New York native with roots in Germany, Michelle has been in the foreign language education field for many years. She started her career as a Spanish teacher with the New York City Department of Education, and she has held program manager positions with several language-related organizations over her career. Michelle also teaches English as a Second Language to adult learners, and she has taught English as a Second Language in Poland. Michelle has a Bachelor’s degree in Spanish from the University at Albany, a Masters in Teaching English as a Second Language from Hunter College-CUNY and an MPA from Baruch College-CUNY.
Michelle got the language bug in elementary school after taking optional lessons in American Sign Language. Michelle speaks Spanish and German and travels frequently to Europe.
Curriculum Specialist/Dir. of PD
Victoria Gilbert, Ed.D. designed GLP's pilot Spanish program, and is a believer in GLP's mission to empower disadvantaged schoolchildren with foreign-language skills that will benefit their futures. Dr. Gilbert earned her Doctorate in Educational Leadership in the Curriculum & Teaching Department at Teachers College-Columbia University in 2005. A native speaker of Spanish and fluent speaker of French, she has taught Science and Foreign Languages for over 20 years at Saint David's School in New York City.
As an art-history undergraduate major, Dr. Gilbert has always believed in the importance of understanding culture to bring understanding of a people and their world. Learning a language involves studying modes of communication, an understanding of the target culture, and making connections and comparisons across disciplines and communities until one understands others as well as oneself.
Dr. Gilbert considers herself lucky to have lived in Europe, South America and in the U.S. Having learned foreign languages at an early age, she once told her mom, "Mommy, do you know that if you speak more languages, you can make more friends?" Dr. Gilbert's experiences throughout the years have proven that the knowledge of foreign languages is beneficial to all students, and that people can affect others positively when addressing people in their own language.
Jameela Syed joined the Global Language Project after teaching English at the University of Bordeaux in southwest France. She has a BA in Linguistics and French Language and Literature from Stony Brook University. Following graduation she moved to Paris to work as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant at a public high school in the region. She is passionate about language education, dialects, and social engagement in the classroom.
Board of Advisors
American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages
Helena Curtain, Ph. D
Associate Professor, Emerita at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
New York University
National Urban League