Dr. Ngoc Diep Thi Nguyen Named CAL’s New President and CEO


Dr. Ngoc Diep Thi Nguyen Named CAL’s New President and CEO

Washington, DC — April 25, 2024: The Board of Trustees of the Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL) is delighted to announce Dr. Diep Nguyen as the incoming President and Chief Executive Officer of the organization. 

Dr. Nguyen was selected following a rigorous national search conducted by a search committee of CAL Board of Trustees supported by Koya Partners | Diversified Search Group, a national firm that specializes in placing leaders in mission-driven roles. Dr. Nguyen succeeds President and CEO Dr. Joel Gómez, who is stepping down after seven years of successful service. She will commence her position on July 1, 2024. 

Dr. Nguyen comes to CAL after three decades of leadership in K-12 settings and institutions of higher education in the U.S. Most recently, she was Senior Director of Research and Academic Outreach for WIDA at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. 

Since 2017, Dr. Nguyen has been a member of the Senior Leadership team at the WIDA Consortium at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. For six years, she served as Director of Educational Learning Research and Practice leading a team of researchers and professional learning specialists in providing research-based resources and professional learning opportunities to teachers of multilingual learners. Most recently, she was named WIDA’s Senior Director of Research and Academic Outreach.

Dr. Nguyen is a visionary, deliberate, and passionate leader. She brings to CAL a strong scholarly record and an exemplary demonstrated commitment to teachers, communities, and students. Her lived experience as a refugee and a multilingual learner are key assets that have shaped her scholarly and professional leadership. Born in Vietnam, she attended Vietnamese-French dual language education in her native country and came to the U.S. as a refugee in 1975. In the U.S., she experienced gradual loss of her native language in the process of integration, and later added Spanish to her linguistic repertoire. She also knows the struggles of parents who want to maintain and pass down their native language to their children.

Dr. Nguyen (Ph.D., The Ohio State University) started her career as a high school French and Spanish teacher. She later became a bilingual program director (1994–2006) and an assistant superintendent of instruction (2006–2012) in pre-K-12 school districts in Illinois. From 2012 to 2017, she served as Department Chair and Associate Professor of Education in the Teacher Education Department of Northeastern Illinois University, where her influential research focused on teacher education, cultural and language identity of Asian American school educators, and the long-term impact of dual language education on students. 

The CAL Board of Trustees wishes to extend its deep appreciation to Dr. Joel Gómez, who, for the past seven years, has significantly advanced CAL’s sustainability, legacy, and mission. Dr. Gómez will step down from his role as President and CEO of CAL effective the end of June 2024.

Dr. Gómez is a Professor Emeritus at the George Washington University, where he held the positions of Associate Dean for Research and Department Chair of the University’s Department of Educational Leadership before joining CAL as President in 2017.  

Dr. Gómez’s lifelong research, policy, and practice accomplishments in higher education and public education have advanced equity in multilingual education and earned him the Ramón Santiago Award from the National Association for Bilingual Education (NABE) in 2018 and the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2022. We wish him the very best with his personal and family interests and his continued contributions to the advancement of multilingualism and social justice.

The Center for Applied Linguistics is a non-profit based in Washington, DC. It was established in 1959 by Stanford Professor Charles A. Ferguson, a pioneer in the field of linguistics, with a grant from the Ford Foundation to the Modern Language Association. CAL promotes language learning and cultural understanding by serving as a trusted source for research, resources, and policy analysis. Through its work, CAL seeks solutions to issues involving language and culture as they relate to access and equity in education and society in the U.S. and around the globe. 

We congratulate Dr. Diep Nguyen as she takes on this new leadership role at the Center for Applied Linguistics.


The Board of Trustees of the Center for Applied Linguistics

Read about Diep Nguyen here.

Read about Joel Gómez here.

Learn more about the Board of Trustees of the Center for Applied Linguistics here.

Please direct media inquiries to CAL Communications,

Posted On April 25, 2024
Posted On April 25, 2024