Director of World Languages – State Department of Education
Why are you a member of the OKGIT?
As Director of World Languages Other Than English, I represent the Superintendent of Public Education on the OKGIT.
Tell us about your international experiences and how that is reflected in your life and work in Oklahoma?
I have always had a deep curiosity and interest in other cultures and languages which led me to begin study of German, Spanish, and French in my childhood and to continue throughout by life. Wanting to open opportunities to students led me to becoming a Foreign Language teacher and to getting a Ph.D. in Applied Linguists/TESL in order to collaborate with researchers in the field of second language acquisition and 21st Century Skills. Traveling to countries in Central America and Europe and collaborating with colleagues internationally has reaffirmed my understanding of this need and my desire to help others develop intercultural communicative competence, which includes the ability to interact effectively in a second language.
Why do you think it is important Oklahoma has strong international ties?
For Oklahoma to thrive and move into the category of Top 10 States, we need to engage internationally through business, education, and diplomacy. Diversifying our economy and engaging with other cultures internationally in collaboration and problem-solving will help build a stronger Oklahoma, and prepare world-class leaders to ensure we have a voice in shaping the future.
Cathleen Skinner is Director of World Languages other Than English at the Oklahoma State Department of Education. She has a long career in education teaching Spanish, German, and TESL in PreK-20 urban, suburban and rural schools, as an adjunct in Business Communication in the Spears School of Business at Oklahoma State University, then serving as the Director of Foreign Language Teacher Education at OSU. From there she went to Southwestern Christian University where she developed programs in TESL and Global Leadership. With a Ph.D. in Applied Linguistics, she enjoys learning about various aspects of language, culture, and learning, as well as writing.