Dr. Michele Anciaux Aoki is an International Education and World Languages Advocate with a special focus on heritage and less commonly taught languages (LCTLs). She retired in 2019 as International Education Administrator for Seattle Public Schools, where she was responsible for developing and supporting the ten international schools in the district and their K-12 Dual Language Immersion programs in Japanese, Mandarin Chinese, and Spanish, as well as supporting all World Language teachers throughout the district. She was also Co-Director of the Confucius Institute of the State of Washington and led statewide efforts to expand access to Mandarin language instruction in K-12 schools. From 2008 to 2014, Dr. Aoki served as World Languages and International Education Program Supervisor at the Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI). While there she received a major grant from the Gates Foundation to support Competency-Based Credit testing to award high school World Language credits to students with demonstrated language proficiency in dozens of LCTLs. This led to introducing the Seal of Biliteracy in Washington state, which has awarded the State Seal to more LCTLs than any other state.
Since 2011, Dr. Aoki has consulted with the University of Washington STARTALK teacher and student programs serving Heritage Language learners of Russian and Portuguese, and teachers of Russian, Portuguese, Persian, Korean, Turkish, and Arabic. Dr. Aoki currently volunteers with the Washington Association for Language Teaching (WAFLT) and serves as Advocacy Chair for the National Council of State Supervisors for Language (NCSSFL) and on the Advisory Board of the Global Seal of Biliteracy. Since 2020, she has coordinated the OSPI grant for Heritage Language learners to earn the Global Competence Certificate and Global Seal of Biliteracy, serving speakers of Romanian, Russian, Spanish, and Ukrainian.
Michele has a B.A. in Teaching English as a Foreign Language and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Slavic Linguistics, all from the University of Washington. She has received numerous leadership awards, most recently, the 2021 award for Outstanding Contributions to the Teaching of World Languages in the Pacific Northwest from PNCFL and the 2022 J. David Edwards Power of Advocacy Award from JNCL-NCLIS.