William Lee is 2023 ACTFL Teacher of the Year

Clark HS Latin teacher best in the nation

William Lee, a Latin teacher at Clark HS, is the 2023 American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Language’s (ACTFL) National Language Teacher of the Year. 

In his 23 years of teaching, 20 years at Northside ISD, he has racked up an impressive number of accolades. In 2006, his colleagues selected him as Teacher of the Year.  Since 2016, students have nominated him as the most influential teacher at the annual Summa Cum Laude Teacher Recognition Ceremony.  He has been a recipient of the Yale University Teaching Award and the University of Chicago Outstanding Educator Award. 

In 2021, he was named the Texas Foreign Language Association’s Teacher of the Year and moved on to the regional level, where he was named 2022 Teacher of the Year by Southwest Conference on Language Teaching and qualified as one of the five finalists for the ACTFL National Language Teacher of the Year program.  Throughout this process, Lee has had to submit evidence and testimonials for his portfolio, deliver a 3-5-minute memorized policy speech, and endure multiple rounds of interviews.

Lee is currently serving as the State Co-chair of the Texas State Junior Classical League, Vice-President of the Texas Classical Association, and has served on various committees for the National Junior Classical League. He has also been a member of the American Classical League, Texas Classical Association, and the Board of Regents for North American Cambridge Classics Project.  He is currently serving as a College Board Consultant for AP Latin and also as one of the four high school representatives on College Board’s AP Latin Development Committee.

Although Lee is very accomplished and successful, he is the first to tell you that his most significant accomplishments are the family-type Latin program he has established at Clark, the accomplishment of his students, and the impact he has made on his former students.  He is most proud of his former students who are now Latin teachers themselves.

One student stated that NISD should hire more teachers like Mr. Lee, saying “I didn’t have any plans on studying Latin in high school, but after listening to him when he visited my middle school, I decided to try it. Mr. Lee genuinely cares about his students, he challenges us, and in return, we challenge and care about each other as classmates and individuals.”