International Educator of the Year

2021 International Educator of the YEar

Every spring, the World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth's International Educator of the Year Award allows the Council to highlight the amazing individuals that make our education program, Global Young Leaders, possible. By working directly with high schools and universities, the Council has encountered numerous educators devoted to enriching their students' knowledge of world affairs and expanding international learning opportunities for their students. These teachers and administrators demonstrate leadership by going above and beyond their typical responsibilities.

Maria Viera-Williams
Maria Viera-Williams of the Richardson Independent School District will be honored as 2021 International Educator of the Year. Viera-Williams is an English and ESL teacher at Lake Highlands High School. She is the founder and senior co-sponsor of the school’s Junior World Affairs Council, active since 2014. The Lake Highlands Junior World Affairs Council was named Most Active Junior World Affairs Chapter in 2019 and 2020. There are more than 60 Junior World Affairs Council chapters in area public, private and charter schools.

“The Junior World Affairs Council Chapter has played a significant role in global awareness among students, faculty, and staff for the past seven years. As the founder and senior co-sponsor, I have been intensely committed to providing students with informative programs that raise awareness on current, past, and future world issues as well as exposure to presenters with international expertise,” said Viera-Williams. Lake Highlands High School Principal Kerri Jones said, “Mrs. Viera-Williams is a master of all of the ingredients of successful teaching and leadership.”

For her initiative and continued work inspiring young minds to think globally, Viera-Williams will receive the 2021 International Educator of the Year Award, a $500 honorarium, and participation in the World Affairs Councils of America’s Annual Conference to be held in the fall of 2021 in Washington, D.C.


International Educator of the Year Award: A Conversation with Jim MattisSecretary Jim Mattis
Our virtual conversation with former Secretary of Defense General Jim Mattis will be moderated by Council President Emeritus Jim Falk. General Mattis served as the 26th secretary of defense from January 2017 through December 2018 after retiring from his 43-year career as an infantry Marine in 2013. Through his decades of experience, General Mattis has developed an acute understanding of American foreign policy and the United States’ role on the global stage and is a fierce advocate for education.

As the former commander of U.S. Central Command, General Mattis led more than 250,000 American and allied troops in combat throughout the Middle East and South Asia. His experience also includes serving as NATO Supreme Allied Commander for Transformation and as a Davies Family Scholar at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution.

Presenting Sponsor



Patron Sponsors


Marjorie A. Adams
Baylor University
Shelly and Michael Dee
Grant Thornton LLP
Haynes and Boone, LLP
Maisie L. Heiken
HKS, Inc.
Cher and David Jacobs
Jessica Koloini and Travis Kelly
PNC Bank
Donna Wilhelm
Gary A. Wolens
Jocelyn Ansley
Barnes & Thornburg LLP
Michael and Jessica Capps
David and Melinda Emmons
Jeffrey Engel and Katherine Carte
Jim and Terrell Falk
Foley & Lardner, LLP
Michael Holmes
Chris and Jessica Hughes
Ambassador Robert W. Jordan and Kathy Donovan
Yon Jorden
Mary and Tim Leahy
Janis and Wes Loegering
Tracy Merzi
Joanna and Eric Ridgway
Brendon P. Riley & Carolyn K. R. Riley, MD
Marvin Singleton
Sue and Jim Spaniolo
Mike and Mitzi Wadsworth

Promotional Partners

World Affairs Council of Tacoma

  1. Step 1 Selection
  2. Step 2 Registration
Tuesday March 30
6:00 PM - 7:15 PM
Each year, the Council honors an educator who is devoted to enriching their students’ knowledge of world affairs and expanding international learning opportunities for their students. These teachers and administrators demonstrate leadership by going above and beyond their normal responsibilities. The International Educator of the Year program raises critical funds and awareness for the Council's Global Young Leaders education program.
Event registration summary
2021 International Educator of the Year with Jim Mattis:
$100 Donation
Patron Sponsor
Presenting Sponsor

Sponsorship Inquiries

Contact Alana Buenrostro at or (214) 965-8417.
Download the 2021 IEY Award Sponsorship Form.


Member of the

Contact Us

325 N. Saint Paul Street, Suite 4200
Dallas, TX 75201
Phone: (214) 965-8400
Fax: (214) 965-8419