Natalie Lalagos

SWCOLT 2023 Teacher of the Year, NBCT

Spanish 2-4 Teacher, Kealakehe High School


Rebecca Kāhealani Sanborn 

Hawaiian Educator, Waipahu High School

Keynote Speakers – Day 1 – Saturday, July 22nd


Natalie Lalagos is the Hawai’i Association of Language Teachers (HALT) and the Southwest Conference on Language Teaching (SWCOLT) Teacher of the Year. Natalie is a National Board Certified Spanish teacher and a Hawai’i State Teacher Fellow who is deeply interested in language acquisition, elevating multilingualism, and growing students’ global and intercultural competencies. In partnership with the University of Hawai’i, Hilo she has developed a dual college and high school credit program across two schools that teaches multilingual students how to translate from English to their diverse home languages with the option to engage in a paid internship translating materials for the community. Natalie, a product herself of K-12 public schools, has worked in public education for the last eleven years as both a teacher and an instructional coach. Natalie was a 2020 Fulbright Teachers For Global Classrooms Fellow, is currently HALT’s webmaster, and she designs and leads programming for new hires at her school. Natalie often presents at conferences to share strategies she uses in her classroom which focus on community building and on getting students to increase their language output through games. Natalie enjoys reading, volunteering in her community, and growing her skills as an improviser at her local theater.

Rebecca Kāhealani Sanborn is a Hawaiian language specialist deeply rooted in the culture of Hawaiʻi. The past three decades of her professional life has been dedicated to enriching students and colleagues with an appreciation of all things Hawaiʻi. Rebecca is a Hawaiian language and Natural Resources teacher at one of the largest high schools in the state of Hawaiʻi, Waipahu High School. Rebeccaʻs collaboration with various community organizations have opened opportunities for the students to practice both language and culture simultaneously. Involvement in Hawaiian organizations have been a benefit to both her professional and personal life. Training in both a traditional academic setting and a traditional Hawaiian setting has encompassed the arts, the language and civic participation in the culture. Rebecca has held several leadership positions within her school, the Hawaiʻi State DOE and is currently the representative for Hawaiian language in HALT.


  1. What community partnerships could you develop to compliment and deepen your social justice work and practice?
  2. What is your kuleana? Your responsibility? Your privilege?
  3. Where can you find community resources in the target language related to kuleana to the land?