Courtney L. Cochran is a National Board Certified Teacher in World Languages and the 2017 Arkansas Teacher of the Year. A native of Benton, Arkansas, she serves in the Benton School District as an English as a Second Language (ESL) aide. She divides time between two elementary schools tutoring English language learners. In Fall 2006, after completing a non-traditional licensure program, Cochran was hired by Van Buren School District to pilot a ninth grade Spanish program at the district's two junior highs. Due to the success of this program, the district promoted her to the high school to initiate an AP Spanish program, which has become the most successful in her district with a passing rate of nearly 80%. She then turned her focus to building a Spanish for Heritage Learners program. Courtney Cochran has been a member and often an active leader of several professional organizations, ranging from Parent Involvement Facilitator to District III Director of the Arkansas Foreign Language Teachers Association. As an advocate for the State Seal of Biliteracy she was responsible for initiating collaborative work on a joint AFLTA and ArkTESOL Arkansas State Biliteracy Award. She passionately promotes the 21st century skill of global competence for all classrooms and all students.