Georgia’s new Teacher of the Year: Former attorney looking to make lasting impact

The state Department of Education announced the Georgia Teacher of the Year today.

Interesting to see that six of the 10 finalists, including the winner, are male teachers. (Nationwide, 84 percent of k-12 teachers are women.)

Here is the DOE release:

Ernest William Lee, II, is Georgia Teacher of the Year.

Ernest William Lee, II, is Georgia Teacher of the Year.

Ernest William Lee, II, an International Baccalaureate history, U.S. government and civics teacher from Windsor Forest High in Savannah, has been named the 2016 Georgia Teacher of the Year.

Mr. Lee was named the winner of the award at the annual Georgia Teacher of the Year banquet held at the James H. “Sloppy” Floyd Veterans Memorial Building in Atlanta.

As Georgia Teacher of the Year, Mr. Lee will serve as an advocate for public education in Georgia.

Mr. Lee was a lawyer for over 20 years before becoming a teacher. He also worked as an instructor for the Georgia Departments of Revenue and Human Resources, and the Technical College System of Georgia, where he operated a mobile technology training lab, developed learning protocols and curriculum and trained newly hired manufacturing plant employees for new technology positions.

Several events in his life led him to ask the question “What have you done to make a lasting and positive impact on the community and the lives of others?” In 2008, he started as a full-time substitute teacher.

After his time as a substitute, Lee began his educational career as a special education inclusion teacher then moved to teaching International Baccalaureate History, U.S. Government and Civics.

“I congratulate Mr. Lee on being named the 2016 Georgia Teacher of the Year,” State School Superintendent Richard Woods said. “It is inspiring to see an individual like Mr. Lee, who had a successful career as a lawyer, decide to become a teacher later in life so he could have a lasting and positive impact on the lives of others. I look forward to working closely with Mr. Lee this year to help our schools serve students better than ever.”

Mr. Lee is the chair of the Board of Directors of the Ben Marion Institute for Social Justice. This organization presents workshops both nationally and internationally to the public and private sector to help prevent bullying.

Mr. Lee is known for not only possessing content knowledge but how to connect with students. The connection he has with his students makes him very effective. Mr. Lee’s classroom’s motto is “I’m not telling you it is going to be easy. I’m telling you it is going to be worth it!”

As Georgia Teacher of the Year, Mr. Lee will represent Georgia teachers by speaking to the public about the teaching profession and possibly conducting workshops and programs for educators. He will also compete for the 2016 National Teacher of the Year.

2016 Georgia Teacher of the Year Finalists (in alphabetical order by district)

Brian David Butler, Science, Bibb County, Rutland High

Patrick Logan, First Grade, Buford City, Buford Elementary

Alexandra Vlachakis, Information Technology, Fayette County, Sandy Creek High

John Wood, Art, Henry County, Luella High

Holly Canup, Media Resource Specialist/Online Instructor, Jackson County, East Jackson Comprehensive High

Brian Patrick, English/Literature, Jasper County, Jasper County High

Kimberly Lester, Writing/Language Arts, Muscogee County, St. Elmo Center for the Gifted

Gary Allen Jones, II, Gifted, Rome City, East Central Elementary

Blair Inabinet, Runner-up, Georgia Studies, Walton County, Youth Middle

Reader Comments 0

10 comments
NikoleA
NikoleA

There also seems to be more finalists from middle and high schools.

MiltonMan
MiltonMan

"Interesting to see that six of the 10 finalists, including the winner, are male teachers. (Nationwide, 84 percent of k-12 teachers are women.)"


Yet we are bombarded with the lack of women in STEM careers and in the CEO ranks.  When was the last time you heard of men being recruited for female-dominated jobs like teaching, nursing, etc.?????

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

Perhaps it has something to do with the selection process?  I don't know. 

straker
straker

Are you suggesting that those who select the teacher of the year have some bias against women?

popacorn
popacorn

@straker

Funny how most great chefs, surgeons, scientists, mathematicians, artists and on and on are men. Why should teachers be different? Because it rattles the cages of the Girls Club?.Anything you can do, we can do better. 

Quidocetdiscit
Quidocetdiscit

@popacorn @straker


A lot of those fields are dominated my men, so statistically it makes sense that many of the best would be men.  However, since education tends to be dominated by women, statistically there should be more women nominated for accolades. 


Whether it be a deliberate bias against women, or just a result perhaps of folks being drawn to the "novel" or purposefully trying to appear non-biased by nominated men in a field dominated by women, more men seem to be nominated that would be statistically expected.


Unlike you, who I suspect is just looking for a rise, I suspect it has little to do with men being inherently better at teaching than women.


Oh, and I suspect, as more women enter  fields which historically they have denied access (many of which you mentioned) the number who will win recognition will grow.  

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

Congratulations to the gentleman!  


Like Quido, below, I have to wonder at the number of males chosen in the top 10 year after year, in a female-dominated profession, as well as the number of "special" teachers (art, IB, gifted).  Rarely does a "common" teacher get named, and rarer still a female, elementary,  grade-level teacher from a low SES school.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

"Several events in his life led him to ask the question 'What have you done to make a lasting and positive impact on the community and the lives of others?' In 2008, he started as a full-time substitute teacher."

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


I would, also, like to extend my congratulations to Georgia's Teacher of the Year, Ernest William Lee II.  It sounds as if Mr. Lee were born to be a teacher.  I am delighted that he made this career move after 20 years.  Good luck, Mr. Lee, on becoming the National Teacher of the Year.  I believe you have excellent odds for being selected.  


Also, thank you for advocating for public education.

Quidocetdiscit
Quidocetdiscit

Congratulations to Ernest William Lee!



That being said, I always find it interesting that so many of our Teacher of the Year finalists tend to be men, considering this is such a female dominated field.  This seems to be the case year after year.  Just makes me wonder....