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2017 Global Leaders Conference

Xperitas Launches Educator Advisory Council

Tags: GLC, 2017, Event Recap

More than 150 World Language teachers traveled to Minneapolis to participate in the Xperitas Global Leaders Conference, January 27-29, 2017. 

At this year's conference, Xperitas launched the Educator Advisory Council (EAC), which is comprised of 11 Spanish, French, and German World Language teachers and three Xperitas staff members:

  • Mauri Deer (French), Farmington HS, MN
  • John Fitzer (Spanish), EAC Chair, Delano HS, MN
  • Linda Havas (German), Greendale HS, WI
  • Beth Lillskau (German), Prairie MS & HS, IA
  • Dennis Meredith (Spanish), Former ISE Director of Education
  • Valerie Neri (Spanish), Park Center HS, MN
  • Denise Pahl (Spanish), Former Spanish teacher, MO
  • Doug Philipp (German) Cheyenne Mountain HS, CO
  • Julia Price (French), Westosha Central HS, WI
  • Gildy Smith (Spanish), Vinton County HS, OH
  • Cathy Stresing (French), Wauwatosa East HS, WI
  • Beth St. John, Director of Outreach & Marketing, Xperitas
  • Barb Thees, Senior Outreach Manager, Xperitas
  • Alain Thiry, President & CEO, Xperitas

Educator Advisory Council members spent Friday afternoon at Xperitas headquarters discussing issues pertaining to World Language education and building global competencies. Topics ranged from the importance of providing curriculum enhancements to the fact that educational travel programs now compete for student participants with other school travel programs, activities and sports.

The long-term goal of the council is to partner with teachers on an ongoing basis to get a pulse on current issues and challenges facing the field of education and to share information that will help Xperitas enhance its existing programs and processes. The EAC will serve as a sounding board for new programming and potential Language Immersion Program locations.

On Friday evening, all Global Leaders Conference participants, and some of our partners from abroad, were welcomed with a social hour with Xperitas staff members. Saturday provided teachers with ample individual planning time with Xperitas staff and international partners. Our Alumni Scholarship award winner, Cara Meyer from Robbinsdale Cooper High School, was announced just prior to keynote speaker, longtime ISE/Xperitas employee and former Spanish teacher, Dennis Meredith’s presentation on the importance of cultural competency in today’s world and how we can encourage our students to embody this value as they travel abroad.

Teachers had the opportunity to attend various breakout sessions on: The Xperitas Student Ambassador Program, Community Partnership Programs, Hosting International Students in your Community, and Traveling with Students for the First Time presented by Linda Havas and Cathy Stresing – always a favorite! Many opportunities were available for teachers to get to know each other and network, most notably at the Saturday evening Minnesota-themed dinner and storytelling, which was followed by live music by the energetic Salsa del Soul.

The conference was closed on Sunday morning with a Q&A session with Xperitas CEO, Alain Thiry, and a Lead Us to the Next Level session where teachers provided their perspectives on our program offerings and building the Xperitas community. Staff enjoyed spending the weekend with our teachers and international partners and look forward to sending our 2017 groups abroad over the next few weeks!


Let us assist in planning your next immersion experience and help make it accessible to all of your students! We have many destination options for Language Immersion programs worldwide. Necessary traveler protections for teachers and students are already integrated into our programs too!   Contact us today