President: Jessica Santiago
Jessica Santiago (she/her/ella) has been teaching Spanish since 2004 at the secondary level, and works at New Berlin West Middle/High School. She has studied and lived abroad in Mexico and Venezuela, and is a Leader of student study/travel (Costa Rica, Spain, Guatemala, Belize, Ecuador). She advises the International Club and is the school liaison for international students and study abroad programs. Jessica is an “Emerging Leader” of LILL (Leadership Initiative for Language Learning, of ACTFL), and in addition to Spanish, teaches Education Concepts, a “future teacher” adjunct course of UW-Milwaukee. She is a 2020 Kohl Educational Foundation Fellow, a bilingual wedding officiant, and tutor. Jessica’s most challenging work is being a good mother; her bilingual family lives in Milwaukee and loves to attend the festivals, arts, and music scenes.
Past President: Kathy Varda
Kathy Varda, originally from Roseville, MN, has been teaching since January 2009. After completing her student teaching at Pelican Rapids High School in Pelican Rapids, MN, she was hired as a teacher at Kingsford High School in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan where she taught Spanish I, II, III, IV and occasionally English. She attended Northern Michigan University in Marquette, MI for her undergraduate degree and has done some work toward a Master’s degree as well. During her undergraduate she traveled to several different Spanish-speaking countries – Peru, Chile and Argentina, studying abroad at La Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso, Chile. She has traveled to Peru and Costa Rica with students. During the 2013-2014 school year she taught at Parkview High School in Orfordville, WI. In 2014-2015 Kathy taught kindergarten – 8th grades at St. John Vianney School and St. Mary School in Janesville, WI. She also taught at Stoughton High School from 2015-2017. Since 2017, Mrs. Varda has been teaching 8th grade Spanish and Spanish 3, 4, and AP Spanish Language and Culture at the School District of Beloit Turner.
President-Elect: Bridget Geboy-Helfenstein
Bridget Geboy-Helfenstein (she/her/ella) has taught Spanish at Nathan Hale High School in West Allis since 1991. For the past 31 years, she has facilitated first-time study abroad /travel trips to Mexico, Spain, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Belize, and Ecuador for more than 220 students. She is a seasoned international traveler as a Rotary Youth Exchange participant her senior year in HS, a junior year abroad student at La Universidad Complutense in Madrid and as a United States Peace Corps Volunteer in Honduras for 2-½ years. In Central America, she worked in the fields of Primary Environmental Education and AIDS awareness. She chartered the first Sociedad Honoraria Hispanica at NHS in 2008 and continues to encourage and facilitate community service activities and engagement in the Latinx community for her students. Early in her career, she served the WAFLT Board as a political action committee member and later became chair. Bridget has nominated many of her colleagues for WALFT awards and recognitions to show the public the tremendous jobs that we are doing in world language education. She was recognized by her alma mater and was inducted into the Kettle Moraine High School Trailblazer Hall of Fame in 2014 for her education and humanitarian work. Her greatest challenge lately is becoming an endurance triathlete in her 50s. She is currently happily training for her second Olympic triathlon and her second Half Iron in 2022. Bridget looks forward to collaborating again with President Jessica Santiago as they previously worked together for more than 10 years at NHS.
Treasurer: Catalina Cabello
Webmaster: Josh LeGreve
Josh LeGreve (he/him/él) is a 2nd through 12th grade Spanish teacher and IB Diploma Program Coordinator at Green Lake School District, a small, public International Baccalaureate World School. He additionally serves the district as the MYP Community Project co-coordinator and the Wisconsin Global Scholars Program school coordinator. He holds a BA in Spanish and physics with a minor in secondary education from Ripon College. Josh has served the Wisconsin Association for Language Teachers (WAFLT) as advertising manager for the last 8 years, as WAFLT president for 2015-2016, and as WAFLT Fall Conference Co-Chair from 2019-2020. He currently heads the WAFLT New Visions in Action committee. Josh is also a member of the Wisconsin FLESFEST planning committee and was a writing team member for the newly revised Wisconsin State Standards for World Languages. Josh also served as Local Liaison for CSCTFL 2018 in Milwaukee and currently serves on the CSCTFL Board of Directors.
NSE Coordinator: Victoria Carter
Victoria Carter has been teaching Spanish at Onalaska High School, her alma mater, since 2005 after earning a BA on Spanish with a Business Concentration from UW – La Crosse and then her teaching license through St. Mary’s – Twin Cities. She teaches Spanish 1 through AP Spanish Language and Culture and is also the advisor for Spanish Club and La Alhambra Chapter of Sociedad Honoraria Hispánica. Victoria loves sharing her love of the Spanish language and culture and has had the opportunity to take several groups of students to Spain. Victoria is proud to serve on the executive boards for both AATSP-WI and WAFLT.
SHH Coordinator: Nicole Thompson
Nicole Thompson, originally from New Berlin, WI, has been teaching Spanish since 2012. After graduating from Marquette University she was a long-term substitute in various districts, including Muskego Norway, West Bend, and St. Francis. She then completed a year-long Rotary program in Salta, Argentina during 2013. She has been teaching at New Berlin West High School since August 2014 and teaches Spanish 4 and 5 (CAPP Spanish 204). She loves advising the El Sol Chapter of Sociedad Honoraria Hispánica, doing service in the community, and traveling with students to Spain, Costa Rica, and Perú.
Secretary: Alix Madden
Alix Madden teaches Spanish levels 1 to 6 at Pittsville High School, a small public school in the geographic center of the state. She graduated in 2012 from UW-Stevens Point with a Spanish Secondary Education Major and a Biology minor. During her undergraduate studies, she spent a semester in Valladolid, Spain. She also spent three weeks in Costa Rica studying Tropical Ecology. As the sole world language teacher in her district, Alix enjoys seeing her students progress through all levels. She has led trips to Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Panamá and is hoping to lead more trips in the post-pandemic years. She serves as the International Club advisor and Global Scholars Program Coordinator. In her summers, Alix enjoys camping, hiking, traveling, and spending time with her husband and two children.
Concurso Oral Coordinator: Barb Olsen
Barb Olsen, co-coordinator of the Concurso Oral, is originally from Appleton. After graduating from UW-Oshkosh in 1990, Barb has taught in Fort Atkinson, Poynette, Kewaskum, and West Bend High Schools. She is currently in her eighth year teaching Spanish and Speech at Kettle Moraine Lutheran. Barb studied in Salamanca, Spain in 1988 and has returned to Spain and Mexico with students a total of seven times since. She has also studied in Buenos Aires most recently in 2018. She is looking forward to exploring Peru with students in 2021. Sra. Olsen loves the enthusiasm in her students both in the classroom and in adventures abroad! Barb has been an active member in AATSP for several years and appreciates the opportunities the organization provides her students.