Outstanding Advocate Honor

The Outstanding Advocate Honor is presented by TESOL International Association at its annual convention to individuals who have advocated for, and on behalf of, the ESL/EFL profession and English language learners. Each year the host affiliate for the convention has an opportunity to nominate an individual for recognition. 

2017 TESOL Outstanding Advocate: Gil Mendoza

In his recent positions as Assistant Superintendent of Special Programs and Deputy Superintendent of Public Instruction within Washington State's Office of Superintendent for Public Instruction, Gil Mendoza strove to bring English learners (ELs), Migrant, and Native American needs to the forefront. With an understanding that English learners are not just the responsibility of one program and are impacted by decisions, policies, and legislation throughout the k-12 system, ​he has been a strong advocate for improving communication among state education programs and between departments so that the needs of the rapidly growing EL population are not left off the table. As a child of migrant parents himself, his intentionality in seeking out and listening with an open and respectful mind to alternate perspectives has been much appreciated by teachers of ELs across Washington state.

Past Recipients 

Year  Outstanding Advocate Nominated by 
2016  Gustavo Torres  Maryland TESOL
 Premiere Kathleen Wynne TESL Ontario
2014  David Bautista Oregon TESOL
2013   Rep. Roberto Alonzo TexTESOL V
2012   Len Reiser, Esq PennTESOL-Eastby Intermountain TESOL
2011  David A. M. Ware, Esq. LaTESOL
2010   State Rep. Jeffrey Sánchez MATSOL
2009   Rep. Jared Polis COTESOL
2008  Rep. Tim Bishop NYS TESOL
2007   Sen. Maria Cantwell WAESOL
2006   Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz Sunshine State TESOL
2005  Gilette Irby TexTESOL IV
2004  Assemblywoman Jackie Goldberg CATESOL
2003  Dr. Alvin Thornton Maryland TESOL
2002  State Senator Pete Suazo Intermountain TESOL
2001   Governor Tom Vilsak Mid-America TESOL
2000  Dr. David Lam B.C. TEAL
1999  Assemblyman Ed Sullivan NYS TESOL

Outstanding Global Advocate Honor

From 2002-2010, a separate award recognized individuals from outside the United States who advocated for, and on behalf of, the ESL/EFL profession. Past honorees have included:
Year  Honoree Nominated by 
2002  Dr. Victor Galindo Sanchez  Mexico TESOL 
2003  Raffaele Sanzo   TESOL Italy 
2004  Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan  TESOL ARABIA 
2005  Dr. Vladimir Kurilov  FEELTA (Russia) 
2006  Sergio Bitar  TESOL Chile 
2007  Léon-Charles Ciss  ATES (Senegal) 
2008  Dr. K. Lakshminarayana  FORTELL (India) 
2009  Goran Andonovski & Zarko Hristovski  ELTAM (Macedonia) 
2010  Minister Lucy Molinar  Panama TESOL 


Questions can be directed to:

John Segota, CAE
Associate Executive Director for Public Policy & Professional Relations