Louis de Corail, France's consul general in Atlanta, honors Kristy Winkler of the Alliance Francaise, with the Insignia of Knight in the French Order of Academic Palms.
From left to right attending the ceremony: Helene Toure, executive director of the Alliance; Greg Barfield; Louis de Corail, consul general of France; Kristy Winkler; Daniel Wolff, the Alliance’s president.

A contingent of more than 60 Francophiles collected at the Alliance Francaise d’Atlanta in Midtown on Sunday, Dec. 4, to honor Kristy Winkler, its educational director, and Greg Barfield, its board member and former lead program specialist of world languages and global initiatives at the Georgia Department of Education.

Louis de Corail, the consul general of France to the U.S. Southeast, conferred the Insignia of Knight in the French Order of Academic Palms, upon Ms. Winkler in recognition of her contributions to promoting the French language and culture in the region. Mr. Barfield was promoted to the Insignia of Officer for his commitment to France and the French language.

Ms. Winkler has served as the Alliance Francaise’s education director since 2010 and works with the Consulate General of France to organize French language immersion day and national French exams. As director, the education program has expanded to include a branch of the Alliance in Roswell, French summer camps and French classes for travelers, children and adolescents. 

Mr. Barfield honored for promoting the French language.

She began her career as a certified French teacher in Georgia in 1996. As educator director of the Alliance Francaise d’Atlanta since 2010, she directs the educational program for Alliance members. She also is responsible for organizing French language immersion days and national French exams with the French consulate general.

Originally from Gainesville, Ms. Winkler told Global Atlanta that she traces her initial interest in France to a visit to Paris and Versailles as a high school student. She later studied French as a student at the University of Georgia and spent a junior year abroad in Aix en Provence. Following graduation, she taught French at schools in Fulton and Douglas counties as well as having worked at the French consulate general in Atlanta including a four-year stint in cultural services. She holds a high-ranking C-1 level “DALF” diploma from the French Education Ministry.

Mr. Wolff provided opening remarks at the ceremony.

Mr. Barfield has promoted foreign language acquisition in Georgia for 32 years both as an educator and an administrator. While at the Georgia Department of Education, he played an important role in establishing a Memorandum of Understanding between the state of Georgia and the Academie de Nancy-Metz, which prompted multiple school exchanges since 2010.

In addition, he provided strategic support in the creation of the first two French language immersion programs in Georgia, which opened in 2013. There currently are five French language immersion programs in Metro Atlanta: in DeKalb County, Evansdale ES-French (K-3); the Globe Academy Charter School, Chinese, French, Spanish (K-8); Rockbridge ES-French (K3); in Fulton County, International Charter School of Atlanta, Chinese, French, German, Spanish (K-5) and in Gwinnett County, Trip ES-French )K-2.

Created in 1808 by Napoleon 1, the Oder of Academic Palms (Ordre des Palmes academiques) recognizes the merits, talents and exemplary activities of those who have rendered eminent service to French education and have actively contributed to the prestige of French culture. Both foreigners and French citizens living abroad are eligible for the decorating. The Order of Academic Palms is made up of three ranks: Knight, Officer and Commander.