Alberta Education has signed Memoranda of Understanding with educational authorities in various countries. In some cases, these agreements include the posting of a special language advisor to Alberta who provides support for language and culture program implementation to school authorities and  teachers.

There are currently five special language advisors who work with Alberta Education and Alberta school authorities. They come from:

Chinese Advisor

Dr. Liang Tian has been the Special Language Advisor for Chinese language and culture at Alberta Education since August 2016.

Prior to her placement in Alberta, Dr. Tian was an Associate Professor at Beijing Language and Culture University. She received her Doctor of Literature from Peking University’s Department of Chinese Language and Literature.

Dr. Tian has extensive experience in teaching Chinese as a second and/or foreign language. She worked in South Korea from 2006 to 2007 and taught Standard Chinese in Hong Kong as a volunteer for a non-profit organization in 2010. From 2013 to 2014, she engaged in advanced studies as a visiting scholar in the East Asia department at Stanford University.

In addition to her teaching experience, Dr. Tian has also published several articles in second language teaching research. Her recent interests mainly focus on bilingual language studies and pedagogy in Chinese as a second language.

Areas of focus

The Chinese Language Advisor's specific areas of focus will be:

  • advise and provide leadership to professional educators appointed by the department in planning and development of Chinese language and cultural programs, including the identification, evaluation, and selection of appropriate learning resources
  • provide consultative services to teachers and school systems on matters related to Chinese language and cultural programs
  • provide assistance to organizers of educational exchanges and school partnerships
  • provide advice and assistance for departmental missions to China
  • be available to school jurisdictions in the development of the English-Chinese bilingual programs
  • be available for consultative purposes to personnel in private schools and educational institutions that are engaged in Chinese language and cultural activities

Chinese programs, education and resources

Contact Chinese Advisor

German Advisor

Andreas Meckes has been assigned as the German Language Advisor at Alberta Education since August 2015. His position is co-sponsored by the Central Agency for Schools Abroad in Bonn, Germany.

Born in Fürth, Bevaria, Andreas graduated from Erlanger University in 1993. He was an Academic Secondary School teacher for German, French and Spanish and was also the head of the French department in Höchstadt, Germany from 2009 to 2015. For seven years, Andreas was a German and French teacher at the German School “Colegio Aleman Juan Hoffman” in Marbella, Spain between 2002 and 2008. During his stay in Marbella, he also co-wrote the French curriculum for German schools in Spain and Portugal for grades 9 to 12. Before moving to Alberta, Andreas had some teaching experience at private schools in Toronto in 2008 and 2009 with French and Spanish languages.

Areas of focus

The German Language Advisor's specific areas of focus are:

  • German language proficiency exams: Deutsches Sprachdiplom level I and II, German language assessment A1 and A2
  • providing resources to German programs in Western Canada
  • promotion of German language and culture in Western Canada
  • professional development for Alberta German teachers

German programs, education and resources

Contact German Advisor

Japanese Advisor

Yoshifumi Murakami has been the Special Language Advisor for Japanese language and culture at Alberta Education since May 2017.

Yoshi has extensive experience teaching Japanese and conducting teacher training programs in Mongolia, Vietnam, Egypt, Hungary, and Japan. His teaching experience covers a wide range of levels from language schools to high school and university. Yoshi has also authored several research paper and books. In addition to his role as an advisor (sponsored by the Japan Foundation) with Alberta Education, he is also involved in Japanese language education support across Canada.

Japanese programs, education and resources

Contact Japanese Advisor

Spanish Advisor

Rodolfo Fernandez has been the Special Language Advisor for Spanish language and culture at Alberta Education since September 2015. He has been a language teacher, teacher trainer, and a language advisor in Spain and the U.S.A. for several years.

Areas of focus

The Spanish Language Advisor's special areas of focus are:

  • supporting schools in establishing and sustaining Spanish language and culture programs
  • providing information and resources for Spanish language teachers
  • offering workshops, courses and meetings that focus on teaching materials, resources and pedagogy that promote intercultural communication language teaching in Spanish

Spanish programs, education and resources

Contact Spanish Advisor

Ukrainian Advisor

Nataliya Nayavko has been the Special Language Advisor for Ukrainian language and culture at Alberta Education since August 2017 and has been a second language teacher in Ukraine for over 20 years. She was a methodologist at the Town Educational Department and a teacher trainer of second language acquisition since 2007. Nataliya has previously studied at George Mason University and University of Maryland.

She was the national winner of Eurasia/South Asia Teaching Excellence and Achievement Program in 2008 and helped develop the new Ukrainian state school curriculum.

Nataliya is an ambassador of the eTwinning Plus Program and coordinates international educational and exchange projects.

Areas of focus

The Ukrainian Language Advisor's specific areas of focus are:

  • developing strong relationships with Alberta schools offering Ukrainian language and culture programs
  • leading professional development sessions with Ukrainian language teachers
  • supporting schools partnership projects between Alberta schools with Ukrainian programs and secondary schools in the Lviv region

Best Teacher of the Ukrainian Language Abroad Award

For a second year in a row, Ukrainian language teachers in Alberta were recognized at the international level for their teaching of the Ukrainian language in the province.

Luba Eshenko of St. Theresa School (Sherwood Park) was awarded first place in the Secondary School Teacher category, while Lesia Lesoway of Jean Vanier School (Sherwood Park) received second place in the Elementary School Teacher category. In the 2016 competition, Yanina Vihovska of St. Martin School (Edmonton) won first place in the Elementary School Teacher category.

Founded in 2014, the annual award recognizes excellence in teaching of the Ukrainian language outside of Ukraine. Teachers can compete in one of two categories - Best Elementary School Teacher or Best Secondary School Teacher. The main evaluation criteria included:

  • methodological literacy
  • creativity
  • ethnology aspect
  • the performance of a teacher
  • the use of information and communication technologies.

In the 2017 competition, 127 teachers from around the world applied for the award. At the final stage, 14 teachers from 5 countries - Canada, Italy, Spain, Moldova and Russia - were shortlisted.

Congratulations to our teachers on this great international achievement!

Ukrainian programs, education and resources

Contact Ukrainian Advisor


To connect with a Special Language Advisor:


Phone: 780-644-3063
Email: liang.tian@gov.ab.ca


Phone: 780-422-0536
Email: andreas.meckes@gov.ab.ca


Phone: 780-415-6165
Email: yoshifumi.murakami@gov.ab.ca


Phone: 780-422-0664
Email: rodolfo.fernandez@gov.ab.ca


Phone: 780-422-3245
Email: nataliya.nayavko@gov.ab.ca

International Education Services

Phone: 780-427-2035
Email: intl.ed.sec@gov.ab.ca

Main Floor, 44 Capital Boulevard
10044 108 Street
Edmonton, Alberta  T5J 5E6