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. 

2016 TESOL Outstanding Advocate: ​Gustavo Torres

Gustavo Torres is the Executive Director of CASA de Maryland, an immigrant advocacy and direct services organization active in Maryland, Virginia, and Pennsylvania. In this position, he has overseen the successful growth of an ESOL program in Maryland that reaches English Language Learners through two innovative approaches: a semester-based model and a mixed-level, drop-in model. The first program is attended by ELLs with stable schedules, while the drop-in model is built around the needs of day laborers. Many of the classes are embedded in CASA's Welcome Centers, which offer a wide variety of direct services (including work placement, vocational training, tax preparation, health insurance navigation, drivers license exam assistance, and much more). This environment-- safe, supportive, and accountable-- is highly conducive to lowering the effective filter and maximizing acquisition. Furthermore, learners are encouraged to engage in CASA's advocacy campaigns that build power in low-income immigrant communities. CASA's latest education initiatives, two international high schools for ELLs in Prince George's County Public School System and a teacher-parent community building initiative, Learning Together, are further evidence of CASA's commitment to this much needed work. ¡Adelante! ¡Si se puede!

Past Recipients 

Year  Outstanding Advocate Nominated by 
 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