Coalition Language Representatives

  Shahnaz Ahmadeian has been involved with the SDSU-STARTALK program (San Diego State University) since 2008. Since 2013, she has directed a variety of STARTALK student and teacher training workshops. She is also the vice-principal of the Iranian heritage school in San Diego, one of the biggest and oldest Persian heritage schools outside Iran, with over 250 students every year. She has co-authored six textbooks specifically designed for heritage students for the school’s beginner to advanced level courses, many of which are used by other heritage schools worldwide. She holds a Master’s degree in Policy Studies in Language and Cross-Cultural Education and a Bachelor’s degree in Multimedia. She is working toward a Ph.D. in Education at the Joint Doctoral Program at Claremont Graduate University and San Diego State University. Her research interests include second language acquisition, heritage language teaching and learning, and teacher education and preparation. She is the Director of Programs at SDSU-LARC (Language Acquisition Resource Center), where she supervises the beginner-level language courses offered by the center and directs two grant-funded programs (STARTALK and SAILN). In her role as the director of the Southern Area International Languages Network (SAILN), one of the California World Language Project’s sites, she manages and leads their professional development programs and other ongoing activities. She has many years of experience in developing, overseeing, and administering professional development programs for language teachers.

 Farrokh Farrokhzad, Ph.D., holds a Bachelor and Master of Art in English Language and Literature and a Doctor of Education. He represents Persian (Farsi) and Azerbaijani Turkish (Azari) with the Coalition. He managed and directed language schools in the Middle East for 15 years and taught, supervised, and trained teachers Middle East public and private schools for 12 years. He is proficient in English, Persian, Azerbaijani or Azeri, also known as Azerbaijani Turkish (his mother tongue), and familiar with Arabic and French. His concentration in his doctoral research was on Phenomenological Insights into Farsi Heritage Language Maintenance Among Second-Generation Iranian Americans. He has been active with Teaching English as a Second Language (TESOL), TESOL Arabia, Association of Translators and Interpreters of Ontario Canada (ATIO), National Association for Bilingual Education (NABE), Southwest Educational Research Association (SERA), American Educational Research Association (AERA), and the Alliance Language Network. Farrokh has been teaching English literature as an adjunct professor, English Language Art and Reading (ELAR), and writing, English as a second language (ESL), English as a foreign language (EFL) in the United States since 2014.

 Soheil Mansouri, Ph.D., teaches Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) courses at Webster University in Missouri, having taught previously at Florida State University. He earned his master's degree in Foreign and Second Language Teaching with the focus on TESL, and his doctoral degree in Curriculum and Instruction specializing in Foreign and Second Language Education from Florida State University. His research interests include heritage language learning and motivational factors in maintaining a heritage language; specifically, Persian heritage language maintenance, TESL methods, and second language motivation and maintenance. He has also served as a co-director and instructional lead of two fully granted STARTALK Programs, and site visitor and consultant for the STARTALK programs, which focuses on promoting the acquisition of critical languages in the United States. Dr. Mansouri has more than 15 years of teaching experience between the United States and Iran, including EFL instruction in elementary schools, ESL adult instruction at the university level, and TESL courses for both pre-service and in-service teachers seeking TESOL certification.
















Fatemeh Towhidi is an assistant professor at the Defense Language Institute (DLI) Foreign Language Center. She has been working in the education field for the past 30 years in different countries including Iran, China, and the U.S. Her passion lies with language teaching and curriculum development, instructional design, and linguistics. She earned her first Master's degree in Linguistics from Iran, which led to directing teacher training programs for English language schools. Her second Master's degree is from George Mason University in Curriculum and Instruction, with a specialty in integrating technology into schools. She developed Persian-Farsi language curriculum for these programs: SOFTS (Special Operations Forces Teletraining System), SOCOM (U.S. Special Operation Commands), Headstart, and GLOSS, as well as Persian-Farsi language textbooks. Her third Master's degree is an MBA in Global Affairs, with research on Cyberschools and a virtual language learning focus. She has also been e-interning with the Virtual Student Federal Service, U.S. Department of State for the past 5 years, translating and analyzing articles from Persian-Farsi to English, and providing training to instructors for e-courses. She speaks Persian-Farsi, Dari, some Arabic, Chinese, Tajik, and Azari. Her goal is to connect heritage language speakers of diverse languages with native and second language speakers through language studies, technology, distance learning, and culture-language programs. Currently, she is working on her fourth Master's degree in cybersecurity at Bay Atlantic University in Washington, DC, and continuing to work on her PhD program in Education. She is also helping families and community schools with interpreting and translation services and with learning to work with new educational tools during this time of distance learning. She presented her recent paper, "Project-Based Learning: Alternatives to Study Abroad," at the National Heritage Language Resource Center (NHLRC) 2020 Project-based Learning Summit and a paper on Linguistic Landscapes at the 2020 LEARN Summit.

Published: Wednesday, October 9, 2019