Linda L. Egnatz
Executive Director of the Global Seal of Biliteracy
Linda L. Egnatz will serve the Global Seal of Biliteracy as its Executive Director. Currently on Leave-of-Absence from Lincoln-Way West High School in New Lenox, Illinois, where she taught all levels of Spanish including both AP Spanish Language & Culture and AP Spanish Literature & Culture, Egnatz is a Board Member on the Joint National Committee for Languages--National Council for Languages and International Studies (JNCL-NCLIS) and the Illinois Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ICTFL) of which she was President (2013-14). Additionally, she has taught as an Adjunct at DePaul University, Purdue University and Joliet Junior College. Egnatz was named the 2014 ACTFL National Language Teacher of the Year and is also an active member of the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese (AATSP).
Egnatz has been a trailblazer in many respects. Recognized in 2013 with a Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching and Leadership, she identifies a need, clarifies objectives and takes action. As a new ICTFL Board member, she learned web design to update the www.ictfl.org website and serve as Webmaster. Other ICTFL initiatives she has led or co-led include: designing an annual summer Professional Learning Tour for Illinois language teachers, bringing ACTFL Oral Proficiency Training to Illinois, and creating the TALL-IL (Training for Assessment of Language Learning in Illinois) extension training. In 2011, she became one of the first two teachers in her district to become Nationally Board Certified Teacher. In her 2nd year of high school teaching she began an annual student service learning tour program that was recognized in 2015 with the ACTFL Global Engagement Initiative Award. In both high schools where she was assigned, she founded chapters of the AATSP sponsored Sociedad Honoraria Hispánica.
As ICTFL President, Egnatz testified on behalf of the Seal of Biliteracy in Illinois to recognize high school seniors who are biliterate in both English and a second language at graduation. In 2013, Illinois became the third state to have a “Seal of Biliteracy.” To lead by example, her school district, Lincoln-Way Community District #210, became the pilot school the year prior to state-wide adoption. Her work on the Seal of Biliteracy has been featured in interviews with Univision and the Chicago Tribune and her articles have appeared in the Foreign Language Annals, Hispania, The Language Educator and Education Weekly. Egnatz served on the joint task force to establish National Guidelines for the Seal and her support of the Seal of Biliteracy has been national in scope, working with schools, districts and state departments of education to recognize and celebrate language learners.
Egnatz believes that language is a valuable life skill rather than a school subject. She says, “Studies consistently show that the ability to speak more than one language is one of the most highly valued skills in the present workplace, no matter what the career choice. My job is to help Global Seal of Biliteracy recipients visualize themselves using their language skills, not just in a classroom, but in their community, in their career and perhaps outside of their country. A life skill is something you will always have -- for me the joy in knowing other languages has come from the incredible people with whom I have shared stories or a meal. Learning a language is not about learning a set of grammar rules, it is about communicating one's thoughts, one's ideas and one's passions. It is about expanding our cultural horizons while opening our arms to embrace the diversity of our own community.”
Linda Egnatz earned her B.A. from Olivet Nazarene University in 1981 in Romance Language Education and her M.A. from Purdue University in Spanish Literature in 1996. She currently resides in Frankfort, Illinois, a southwest suburb of Chicago with her husband, John.