2021 Honoree
Maria Viera-Williams

Lake Highlands High School

Maria Viera-Williams has spent more than 40 years in education as an ESL, English, and Spanish teacher and curriculum director in both public and private schools around Texas. Since 2013 she has taught at Lake Highlands High School in Richardson ISD, where she serves as Junior World Affairs Council sponsor. Lake Highlands High School Principal Kerri Jones said, “Mrs. Viera-Williams is a master of all of the ingredients of successful teaching and leadership.”

Maria was selected as a Yale Teaching Fellow during her time teaching with New Haven Public Schools in Connecticut. Her JWAC hosts bi-monthly speakers for the community and has been honored as the most active JWAC in DFW - from more than 60 clubs - for the past two 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.

Maria holds a BA in English/Spanish from the University of Texas at El Paso and a masters of arts in linguistics from UTD. Maria’s love of global education is evidenced by her travel throughout Europe and Central America and by the fact that she in addition to English she speaks Spanish, Vietnamese, Husa and some French. She is an active member of the American Association of University Women and served as the Texas chapter president from 2005-2008. For her initiative and continued work inspiring young minds to think globally, Viera-Williams receives the 2021 International Educator of the Year Award.


In working directly with middle school, high schools and universities, the World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth 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 normal responsibilities.

Just as these teachers feel it is important to help their students develop a better understanding of the world, we at the Council feel it is equally important to recognize the efforts of these dedicated individuals. 


Who is eligible for this award?

The individual being nominated for the IEY Award must be a full-time 6-12 teacher or administrator who resides in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex and has worked with WACDFW in some capacity over their career. The nominee should have a proven track record of incorporating international resources and perspectives into their work as an educator to develop global competence skills in students.

What are the benefits associated with this award?

The International Educator of the Year will receive a $500 award, a trip to the World Affairs Councils of America Conference in Washington, D.C. in the fall (includes flight and conference fees) and a one-year membership to the World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth. Winner will be announced at the Council's annual International Educator of the Year luncheon.

Who can give me more information about this award?

For more information, contact Jennifer Bowden, Director of the Education, via e-mail or at (214) 965-8415.

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