AFS-USA has two distinct awards to celebrate both individual educators and schools or districts that have made global engagement and intercultural learning a part of their everyday instruction and school environment. We hope to showcase an educator and school every year that will inspire others to weave culture and global thinking into their learning environments.
AFS-USA Global Educator of the Year
Lindsey Smaka, a science teacher and coordinator of the Global Scholars Program at Edina High School in Minnesota, was named the 2023 AFS Global Educator of the Year. Lindsey works tirelessly to bring global content and international opportunities to her students through scientific explorations in group experiences abroad, to seeking out scholarships for individual travel, to engaging in virtual exchanges, and inviting international guests to the school and classroom. Through her work and leadership, she has set a superb example of what’s possible when you mix global thinking and standards-based learning in science. Lindsey’s passion and enthusiasm for engaging her students in global endeavors is nothing less than stellar.
Lindsey is pictured between U.S. Department of State Deputy Assistant Secretary for Professional and Cultural Exchanges at the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, Nicole Elkon (left) and Tara Hofmann, AFS-USA President and CEO (right).
AFS-USA Global School of the Year
Manhattan High School USD 383 in Kansas was named the 2023 AFS-USA Global School of the Year for its deep-rooted commitment to intercultural and global competence as demonstrated by its courses, international programming, and school-wide activities. Beyond making the decision to work exclusively with AFS, Manhattan High School maintains a strong AFS Club, with a dedicated club sponsor, that engages both local and AFS exchange students every year in learning about the world, various cultures, and the local community.
Pictured from left to right: U.S. Department of State Deputy Assistant Secretary for Professional and Cultural Exchanges at the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, Nicole Elkon (left), Janet Hanson, Manhattan High School AFS Club Sponsor (middle), and Tara Hofmann, AFS-USA President and CEO (right).