Janis Hennessey grew up in Louisville, KY where her French relatives had settled. She received a BA in French from Ursuline College, a MA in French literature from the University of KY, and a Diplôme d’Etudes de Civilisation Française from the Sorbonne.
Marriage brought Janis to New England where she and her husband raised their three children. She taught French for ten years at Newton South High School – MA becoming Chair. For nineteen years, Janis taught French at UNH, where she created the French Studies course taught in English in hoping to excite students about French literature, history, and art, and then sign up for a French language course.
For sixteen years at Dover High School, Janis taught French and was Chair. She worked hard to increase World Language teachers from six to thirteen. She believed French culture was best experienced first-hand, so she took hundreds of students alternatively to Quebec and to France.
During her thirty years on the NHAWLT (New Hampshire Association of World Language Teachers) Board, Janis was President four times. She was the Director of the NH Guidelines for World – Ready Language Learning and the Director of the NH World Language Competencies aligning them with national standards.
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