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Welcome to TESOL's Press Room, where members of the press and news media can find information and the latest announcements from TESOL International Association. For interviews and questions on TESOL press releases contact David Cutler, policy and communications ​manager.

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TESOL News and Press Releases

TESOL Mourns the Loss of Penny Alatis

by David Cutler | 08/19/2019
TESOL International Association mourns the loss of Penelope “Penny” M. Alatis, who passed away peacefully on Thursday, 15 August 2019 while surrounded by her loved ones. As TESOL member #1, Penny was instrumental in assisting her husband, the late Dr. James “Jim” Alatis, establish the association in 1966. Her unwavering support allowed Dr. Alatis to spend many hours serving as the Executive Director of TESOL until 1987. A very active member in the early years of the association, Penny, along with Jim, became affectionately known as TESOL’s ‘founding family.’

A fixture at the annual TESOL convention, Penny was a source of inspiration and encouragement for TESOL members across the globe. Penny had a long career as an ESL teacher in Alexandria City Schools (Virginia, USA) where her love of teaching and desire to promote English proficiency among English learners was well-known. She will be missed by TESOL members and staff.


A viewing will be held at Everly Wheatley funeral home, 1500 West Braddock Road, Alexandria, VA 22302 from 4:00­—7:00 pm on Sunday, 25 August with a Trisagion service at 6:00 pm.

A funeral service will take place on Monday, 26 August at St. Katherine's Greek Orthodox Church located at 3147 Glen Carlyn Road, Arlington, VA.

In lieu of flowers, contributions in her memory may be made to the TESOL Grants and Scholarships program.