MACON – Mercer University alumnus Ernest William Lee II was named the state's Teacher of the Year by the Georgia Department of Education on May 9.
Lee, who teaches International Baccalaureate history, U.S. government and civics at Windsor Forest High School in Savannah, graduated from Mercer's College of Liberal Arts in 1982 with a bachelor's degree in psychology.
He went on to a career as an attorney and practiced law for over 20 years before becoming a teacher in 2008.
"I congratulate Mr. Lee on being named the 2016 Georgia Teacher of the Year," State School Superintendent Richard Woods said in a release. "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."
Lee has also been an instructor for the Georgia Department of Revenue and Department of Human Resources. Additionally, he operated a mobile technology training lab, developed learning protocols and curriculum, and trained newly hired manufacturing plant employees for new technology positions while working for the Technical College System of Georgia.
He is the chair of the board of directors for the Ben Marion Institute for Social Justice, an organization that presents workshops nationally and internationally to the public and private sector to prevent bullying.
The award was presented at the annual Georgia Teacher of the Year banquet at the James H. "Sloppy" Floyd Veterans Memorial Building in Atlanta.
As the state's Teacher of the Year, 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 2016 National Teacher of the Year.