Meet the new 332 TRS English Instruction Flight Chiefs
By Ezme Kornmeyer
DLIELC English Instructor and Guest Editor
Chief Specialized English Flight
Anne Andersen, Chief of Specialized English, was Chief of General English (Section 2) for a year before moving into her current position. In her new post she would like to use her 29 years of DLIELC experience “to provide Specialized English instructors and supervisors with a positive and stable environ-ment so they can focus on their individual professional growth.” Ms. Andersen also brings with her lessons that her parents taught her. One in particular is that “God helps those who help themselves.”
She says, “As a result, my philosophy is that those who work hard, have a good attitude and put forth a good honest effort are the ones who reap the rewards in this life.”
Chief, General English Flight
When General English Section Chief Angel BishopPetty start-ed teaching at DLIELC 24 years ago, she thought it would be a
good place to work while finishing graduate school. Although she did not intend to stay, she fell in love with the students and was excited by the many chances to learn and grow by working in different departments in the organization.
Her advice to DLIELC staff and students is to always take advantage of opportunities when offered, even if it is something you are not sure you will excel at or enjoy because you may be surprised by what you find. As a personal example, she was hesitant to move into the curriculum department, but soon found herself engrossed in the work and spent the next 14 years as a Specialized Curriculum Project Officer.
She emphasized that by moving out of her comfort zone and into other areas within DLIELC, she has been humbled because there is always more to take in. As she has progressed from teacher to Section Chief, Ms. BishopPetty has approached each new role as a learning experience and encourages others to do the same.
Chief, General English Flight
General English Section Chief, Michael Sheridan, who was recently promoted from his position as supervisor in Advanced English, has a clear goal in mind for staff at DLIELC: he would like to create conditions that allow instructors to really excel at their craft. He states that “The whole point of this institution is to deliver an excellent product to our customers and to prepare the students for their follow-on training.” Mr. Sheridan empha-sizes quality instruction throughout the organization and has three guiding principles that he learned from his PST trainers nearly ten years ago.
First of all, he states that teachers must teach well and do all they can to provide quality instruction. Secondly, they must stay on top of their administrative duties. Finally, instructors must cultivate strong interpersonal and working relationships with other staff members. Mr. Sheridan says these three pillars have guided him throughout his progression from teacher to section chief. He feels that it is imperative to attend to all three because if one is neglected, it really stands out.
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International Salute to Fiesta San Antonio!
Fifty-eight Nations March as One in Fiesta Flambeau Parade
Col. Jeffrey Cooper, DLIELC commandant, and senior students from Egypt, Mongolia, and Indonesia lead the 102 member international student flag formation flight past the Alamo Plaza grandstand and crowds during the San Antonio Fiesta Flambeau parade on April 23.
Photo By Spencer Berry
By Col Jeff Cooper, USAF Commandant, Defense Language Institute English Language Center
In what is growing into a San Antonio tradition, 102 military service members representing 58 countries around the world, from Nigeria to Afghanistan to Ukraine, marched with their national flags in Fiesta Flambeau, the largest illuminated night parade in the nation, during Fiesta San Antonio, 2016. The 2.6 mile twilight tromp through downtown San Antonio is a voluntary cultural enrichment event for the students, who are on temporary duty in San Antonio by invitation of the US Department of Defense. They participate to experience Fiesta and to feel the warm embrace of the people of Military City first-hand.
The Fiesta Flambeau Parade never disappoints. The international parade-marchers had many wonderful impressions to relay to their fellow students and countrymen about Fiesta Flambeau, San Antonians, and the USA in general. One student, Captain Tangara from Mali, said, “I really appreciated when thousands of people told me, ‘thank you for your service.” Lieutenant Hong from Cambodia remarked, “Everyone in the crowd was cheering for us while we marched and I found it an inspiration; even though we were tired, the cheers and the warm welcome made us energetic. I hope to be a part of this again.” Another student, Major Gautam from Nepal, observed, “I am really amazed with the sense of respect and gratitude of US citizens toward the military men and women. I thought it was an outstanding event and I thoroughly enjoyed the parade.” Sergeant Ucan from Turkey added, “It was amazing to participate, I felt like a pop star. It was unbelievable to see people thanking us for our service.”
These military professionals, in training under Air Education & Training Command and the 37th Training Wing at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, are in the United States to master a new language—English. Once they are trained to proficiency in English at Defense Language Institute English Language Center, they advance to technical training or developmental education with the United States military. Other students study advanced English, then return to their homeland as instructors to train members of their military in English using the center’s curriculum, the American Language Course.
The Defense Language Institute English Language Center, known by foreign militaries worldwide as “DLI”, has been executing its mission training global security partners English for 62 years and counting in San Antonio. The organization is composed of 520 people, mostly Department of the Air Force civilians, and mostly English language teachers, led by active duty military officers and with a military support cadre of 30.
Many DLI graduates from around the world progress to high rank and influence in their military careers. For example, DLI boasts 2 presidents as distinguished alumni, the current President El-Sisi of Egypt, and former President Bambang, the sixth president of Indonesia. Also, scores of DLI graduates have advanced to the general and flag officer ranks in their respective militaries. San Antonio is a common thread for all of them. Nearly 3,000 international students graduate from DLI each year and proceed to training with the US military. Thus the English language training enables enduring relationships between US and international leaders and strengthens Security Cooperation between the US and its many partner nations.
This ongoing Defense Security Cooperation activity happens continually Deep in the Heart of South Texas at the DLI campus. On this lush, quiet corner of JBSA-Lackland, new students arrive every week via the San Antonio International Airport to replace those who are graduating. In the course of a year, military professionals from over 100 partner nations around the world call Texas their home for a few months, and the people of Texas and Military City leave a lasting impression of the goodness of America on each of them.
Lt. Col. Jeffery Steffen, former deputy commander of the Defense Language Institute English Language Center at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, receives a certificate of appreciation from Col. Jeffery Cooper, DLIELC commandant and 673th Training Group commander during Steffen's retirement ceremony Jan. 30, 2016. Steffen returned to DLIELC soon after his military retirement to become an English instructor.
Photo By 2nd Lt. Nadejda Mocan
Commentary by 2Lt Nadejda Mocan 22nd Peacekeeping Battalion
2/24/2016 - JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas
The retirement ceremony of Lt. Col. Jeffery D. Steffen, deputy commander, Defense Language Institute English Language Center and commander of the associated U.S. Army element, took place Jan. 30, after a remarkable 30-year military career
The day before, Steffen pleasantly offered one of DLI's international students the opportunity to make a flashback on his career and interview him. From the very first moment, I could tell that he was truly dedicated to his profession and served his country and its people with dignity. Even the purpose that got him in the army was noble. "I believed it is important that some choose to serve so that others have a choice not to. Some countries still have mandatory military service and it is important for people to volunteer so that others don't have to," said Steffen.
We started with a glimpse at the beginning and nostalgically discussed the first years of Steffen's military service. He enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserve in January 1986, completing Basic Combat Training and Advanced Individual Training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. In 1992, Steffen culminated his military training with the Distinguished Military Graduate title from the Reserve Officer Training Corps at Weber State University, Ogden, Utah and entered active duty as a second lieutenant in the infantry at Fort Carson, Colorado. That period was quite an experience: he became an accomplished platoon leader, jumped out of airplanes, and completed Army Ranger School. That training took place during the coldest period of the year, from January through March, which was a tough lesson for him during his career. All that shaped and formed a young professional who, after four years, transitioned to the Military Intelligence Corps.
Shaping assignments as a captain traces back to the time when Steffen was a French instructor at the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, New York. During those two years of teaching, he was very demanding of his students by giving them daily quizzes; he remembered those good old times and considered them a great experience.
The next part of Steffen's career was centric Europe. First, he spent a year in Paris where he graduated from the French Joint War College. During the next phase, he was entrusted with key military intelligence positions such as the Chief of the Analytical Control Element for the 7th Army/U.S. Army in Europe, then headquartered in Heidelberg, Germany, followed by the Battalion Executive Officer in Darmstadt, Germany. During that period, he was twice deployed to Afghanistan, both tours were in the Intelligence Analysis Section at the International Security Assistance Force Joint Command in Kabul. Those deployments Steffen considered very important for his professional development: "I gained a lot of things that I inflicted on DLI, such as work in groups and strategic planning."
The last assignment as the Deputy Commandant of the Defense Language Institute English Language Center would be memorable for Steffen because he enjoyed meeting professional instructors, supervisors and program managers, as well as interacting with students. He tried to visit classes every week and share the same powerful message: "If you want to be strong physically, you go to the gym and if you want to have strong English muscles, homework is how you exercise them." He would also say that academic reading and critical thinking in English were crucial for students in order to develop advanced proficiency in their foreign language.
Steffen outlined the importance for the students to build amiable relationships and for the instructors to appreciate the important role of DLI, something that all of them would take in their future careers. Knowledge accumulated during that period which made students emerge as honored graduates on DLI's wall of fame.
The fact that Steffen took the position of Deputy Commander at DLI with a linguistic background prompted him to actively participate with the entire dynamics taking place there. During his two years and a half at mission, one of the main contributions was the expansion of the training sessions for the DLI's staff that entrusted them as worthy representatives abroad. Professional experience was something they brought back and implemented either in the classrooms or in their future curriculum training.
What was important to outline was the fact that Steffen stood not only as an extremely professional, dedicated, and responsible officer, but also as a loving and caring husband, and a proud father to four children. He took pride in talking about his eldest daughter, a happily married woman who brought joy to her father with two grandchildren. His second child, a son, is a sophomore at Texas University studying animal science. His third child, a 19-year-old son, is a church missionary, just as Steffen used to be. And his fourth son, a 14-year-old, enjoys playing the trombone and walking in his father's footsteps. Steffen's marriage has approached the impressive number of 26 years, and the woman that stood by him during all that time and made it a happy journey was his wife Lisa.
As a loving husband, he courteously expressed his gratitude for all her support along the way through; a simple but touching gesture during his retirement ceremony, such as a beautiful bouquet of flowers handed to her, accompanied by his grateful speech, stood proof of his good nature and generous personality. His heartfelt speech brought tears to the audience's eyes and left everyone speechless. Steffen successfully managed to mingle his professional profile with his personal aspects of life: "It is always good, when you get done with your day, to go home to an environment of special relationship, where you can relax and not worry about managing tasks."
As Steffen says - "If everything collapses into place ..." - he will continue his mission at DLI in a new capacity, as civilian instructor of English. The valued addition that he will represent to the DLI teaching environment will reflect the light of his previous expertise in the field of training and mentoring others. With a smile on his face, he remembered the academic years at West Point as a French teacher.
Steffen is a great professional that I personally look up to and consider one of the most motivating people I have met through my career so far. Many other students that will have an opportunity to come to DLI will be honored to meet Steffen and gain not only knowledge in the linguistic domain but also in the professional and personal ones as well.
Steffen sees DLI in 10 years as an emerging and highly technologically developed educational facility that is reflective of the population's diversity. He outlines empathy being extremely necessary and a core value for good communication, as is transparency and the ability to appreciate the other environmental variables that are occurring. "Focus first on your responsibilities, then on your rights" was his concluding message to DLI's staff and students as well.