Thomas Nelson Professor Heads Tidewater Center for Teaching Excellence and Receives State Award for Outstanding Foreign Language Teaching

Isidoro Kessel, an Assistant Professor and Foreign Language Department Head at Thomas Nelson Community College, has been named Chairman of Virginia’s Community Colleges (VCCS) Regional Center for Teaching Excellence ̶ Tidewater Region. Kessel has also been selected to receive the Marshall Brannon Foreign Language Association of Virginia (FLAVA) Excellence in Teaching Award.

The VCCS has five centers for teaching excellence throughout Virginia that afford a forum for dialogue about teaching by focusing on four themes: learning, teaching, self-development, and innovation. As chairman, Kessel will provide leadership in delivering professional development to faculty members at Thomas Nelson, Eastern Shore, Paul D. Camp, and Tidewater community colleges.

Kessel has been affiliated with FLAVA for more than 20 years and is elated about the recognition. “R. Marshall Brannon, for whom the award is named, was my mentor and role model. While I am very honored to receive the award in his name, it feels odd to receive an award for doing what I love,” he said.

Kessel became a Thomas Nelson faculty member in 2010. He is a National Board Certified Teacher in Early Adolescence Young Adult World Languages Other than English. His teaching career includes 14 years with Virginia Beach City Public Schools and 16 with Hampton City Schools. He believes teaching has many rewards and greatest of all is “providing my students with valuable communication skills that will enhance their quality of life.” He has also taught Spanish at Old Dominion University, Hampton University, and Tidewater Community College. He has Bachelor’s and Masters degrees in Spanish from San Diego State University.

In addition, he was Director of the Governor’s Spanish Academy for the Virginia Department of Education for over 15 years; FLAVA conference coordinator for more than 12 years, and chairman of numerous Southern Association of Colleges and Schools site visits. Kessel also served as President of FLAVA and the Southeast National Board Certified Teachers Network. In 1990, he received a Virginia Distinguished Foreign Language Teacher Award.

Thomas Nelson provides an array of Foreign Language courses. For more information, visit the website at