Coalition Language Representatives

Language representative photo Neila Baumilienė is a native of Lithuania. She initiated the establishment of the Alexandra Kazickas Lithuanian Heritage Language Saturday School in Eastern Long Island, New York in 2006, with the goal of helping her own and local Lithuanian American community children to preserve their heritage and to learn Lithuanian. In 2011, after the passing of Mrs. Kazickas, Neila was invited by the Kazickas Family Foundation (KFF) to create the Alexandra Kazickas Grant Program (AKGP) to support 40 Lithuanian schools across the U.S., and became executive director of the KFF NYC bureau soon after. Over the past years, thanks to AKGP, the Lithuanian Heritage Schools not only received a financial boost, but also collaboration was strengthened between the Ministry of Education and Science of Lithuania and the Education Councils of Lithuanians in the Diaspora. Since 2014, AKGP has been supporting establishment of the Lithuanian Language Level Test for Youth, which is internationally recognized as a proficiency test for Lithuanian as a foreign/heritage/second language. Neila holds an M.A. in Ethnology (Cultural Anthropology) from Vytautas Magnus University, Lithuania, and has a passion for languages.
 Language representative photo

Gintautė Genender is a native of Lithuania. She has been involved with the Alexandra Kazickas Lithuanian Saturday School on Eastern Long Island, New York, since 2006. For a decade she took care of media, graphics, website development, and support for the school until she became its director in 2017. She joined the Kazickas Family Foundation NYC office, and has been its website content manager in both English and Lithuanian since 2015. She also directs the Alexandra Kazickas Grant Program and is active in the Lithuanian heritage school community of 46 schools in the U.S., strengthening ties among them and with the governmental institutions in Lithuania. As a Lithuanian heritage school’s director, she also contributes in helping to further develop a Lithuanian proficiency test. Gintautė is an active parent in the school district of Sag Harbor, NY, where her three children proudly represent their Lithuanian roots. She is the mom of a teen with Tourette Syndrome and together, as a Tourette Association Youth Ambassador team, they work to educate lawmakers and the public about Tourette Syndrome and raise awareness about the impact of federal legislation on the health and well-being of people with it. Gintaute holds a B.A. in Media and Communication from Hunter College in NYC, and has a passion for exploring different cultures.

  Language representative photo Irena Sebeda is a teacher of the Lithuanian language and culture at the Boston (Massachusetts) Lithuanian School and a parent of three bilingual children. She is a native of Lithuania and received her Bachelor's and Master's degrees in English Language and Literature and Linguistics from the University of Vilnius. Since moving to the United States in 1988, she has been involved in Lithuanian as a heritage and foreign language teaching, serving both children and adults at any proficiency level.

In the past, she belonged to the Lithuanian Educational Council of the USA. She is also a member of Lithuanian folklore ensemble in Boston. Irena is the Developmental Course writer and speaker for the Lithuanian Level 1 Audio Course, Simon & Schuster's Pimsleur. Since 2014, she is a certified tester for the Lithuanian language level proficiency tests.

Irena's current research interests and activities include Comparative Studies of English and Lithuanian, focusing on teaching Lithuanian as a foreign language for adult learners in the USA at the heritage school, as well as teaching at undergraduate colleges and distance learning. She is also involved in freelance translation and editing projects; works on exploring new venues for language proficiency testing for ages 14 and up; and coordinates Global Seal of Biliteracy project opportunities for the Lithuanian heritage school in Boston, Massachusetts.
 Language representative photo Gailutė Urbonaitė – Narkevičienė (Gaila Narkeviciene) received her Masters degree in Linguistics from the University of Vilnius and later taught Lithuanian as a foreign language in the Department of Lithuanian Studies, where she was actively researching the language acquisition of Lithuanian children. Since 2011, she has served as principal of the Boston Lithuanian School, and she has over 25 years of teaching experience. In the past, she belonged to the Lithuanian Education Council of the Lithuanian- American Community. She has published a Lithuanian Practical Dictionary (2013) and co-authored Lietuvių kalbos ugdymo programa JAV lituanistinėms savaitgalinėms mokykloms (Lithuanian language teaching curricula for American Lithuanian weekend schools, 2014-2017) and Kalbėkime lietuviškai (Beginner's Lithuanian, 1993). She resides in Danvers, Massachusetts, and continues working on curriculum development as well as creating coordinated teaching materials.




Published: Tuesday, October 8, 2019