WIDA’s Shafer Willner wins NJTESOL/NJBE President’s Award


UW–Madison’s Lynn Shafer Willner, a researcher with WIDA, has been awarded the 2024 NJTESOL/NJBE President’s Award. This accolade is given annually to an individual whose work has significantly advanced the needs of multilingual learners (MLs) in New Jersey, serving as a catalyst for change and excellence in education.

Shafer Willner

NJTESOL/NJBE recognized Shafer Willner for her exceptional contributions and unwavering commitment to supporting MLs through her work at WIDA, which is housed in the School of Education’s Wisconsin Center for Education Research. In their letter to her, NJTESOL/NJBE stated, “Without a doubt, your work at WIDA as well as your commitment to supporting New Jersey and NJTESOL/NJBE as we have learned about the WIDA English Language Development Standards Framework, 2020 Edition, and begun to implement it, have been invaluable. We are so grateful that you have been an invited speaker to our conference for the past years. Your work with our members has been key to our successful implementation of the standards here in New Jersey. Thank you so much for all you have done!”

Shafer Willner has been instrumental in advancing the understanding and application of the WIDA ELD Standards Framework, including development of digital tools such as the WIDA ELD Standards Framework, 2020 Digital Explorer. Her dedication to enhancing educational practices for MLs has not only benefited the state of New Jersey but has also had a profound impact on educators and students nationwide.

“I am deeply honored to receive the 2024 NJTESOL/NJBE President’s Award,” Shafer Willner said. “It has been a privilege to collaborate with such a dedicated and passionate group of educators.”

Tim Boals, WIDA executive director, also praised Shafer Willner’s achievements by adding, “Lynn’s contributions to the field of English language development are truly exemplary. Her work embodies the spirit of innovation and dedication that WIDA strives to achieve.”

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