Dallas ISD Spanish Teacher a Contender for $1M Global Teacher Prize

The award is given annually to an educator who has made an incredible impact on their profession.

Dallas ISD teacher Akash Patel has been named a Top 50 finalist for the $1 million Global Teacher Prize.

The Global Teacher Prize is for educators teaching students from kindergarten through high school. It seeks to honor educators such as Patel who use innovative teaching methods to attain improved student learning outcomes, and facilitate their students in becoming globally aware citizens.

Since the awards program was started by the Varkey Foundation in 2015, each March it has awarded $1 million recognizing an educator who has made an incredible impact on their profession. The prize’s mission is to inspire the best candidates to join the profession by illuminating wonderful educators and working to elevate the status of teachers all over the world.


Patel often uses his travel experiences to inspire lessons for his Spanish classes at Thomas J. Rusk Middle School, notes DISD on The Hub, the district’s online news source. 

He was acknowledged by the State Department of Education as the January 2015 Educator of the Month, as well as by the Multicultural Education Institute as the 2015 Multicultural Teacher of the Year, according to his Global Teacher Prize bio.

Patel is the founder and former executive director of the World Experiences Foundation, an Oklahoma nonprofit organization that brings diverse learning experiences to students. It has taught more than 5,000 educators about global education and works for “anti-bias multicultural and multilingual education,” according to the foundation’s website. Patel also started the Global Ambassadors Leadership Institute and was honored with Leadership Oklahoma’s 2017 Helping Oklahoma Award.


As a Top 50 finalist for the Global Teacher Awards, Patel is eligible to travel to Dubai in March for the awards ceremony. Prior to that, the Varkey Foundation will narrow down that pool to 10 teachers, one of which will receive the $1 million prize. 

Nancie Atwell, the first recipient of the prize and the only American to have won thus far, donated the entire prize to her school in Edgecomb, Maine for its resources, scholarships, and books, according to the foundation. She founded the Center for Teaching and Learning in 1990, and was recognized for facilitating her students’ prolific reading and writing skills.

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