Joe Mendenhall Named International Educator of the Year
The World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth (WAC) presented its 2009 International Educator of the Year award to teacher Joe Mendenhall of L.D. Bell High School. The selection was announced in front of several hundred educators and business leaders at the WAC's April luncheon at The Fairmont Dallas. The featured guest was Fareed Zakaria, bestselling author of The Post-American World, host of "Fareed Zakaria GPS" on CNN, and Newsweek International editor.
The annual award is given to a local educator who has shown great commitment and dedication to international education in the Metroplex. A lifelong world traveler who speaks five languages, Mendenhall has brought his passion to see and understand the world to his German classroom at Bell for 14 years.
As Educator of the Year, Mendenhall receives $1,000, a trip to the World Affairs Councils of America Conference in Washington, D.C. and a one-year Council membership. The L.D. Bell library will receive $500 for international publications subscription fees.
Mendenhall earned his bachelor's degree in German and Slavic Languages and a master's degree in East German Cultural Politics from UT Austin. He also studied Spanish in Costa Rica and Russian at the Russian State Pedagogical University in St. Petersburg, Russia. After traveling the world extensively, Mendenhall worked as a German and Russian interpreter at the top level of gymnastics, wrestling and taekwondo events, including the Centennial Olympic Games held in Atlanta, Georgia.
He currently teaches German Language at L.D. Bell and serves as the campus sponsor for the Junior World Affairs Council. He has taught outside Texas, at the Free University in Berlin and at the Instituto Technologico in Chetumal, Mexico.
The World Affairs Council's International Education Initiative seeks to empower students through education to help them gain a critical understanding of international issues and to challenge students to find ways to impact and give back to their local communities and the world.