TEACHER OF THE YEAR: Claude Lee teaches from the heart.

Published 9:34 am Sunday, January 14, 2024

Claude Lee, an art teacher at Warren Central High School, puts hi heart into every lesson and every interaction with the students he teaches.

Lee is a finalist for the Vicksburg-Warren County Chamber of Commerce’s Educator of the Year award. The Chamber will select and announce one elementary and one secondary teacher of the year at the Chamber Luncheon in February. The winner of each award will receive $1,000 from Ameristar Casino and the runner-up for each award will receive $500 from Mutual Credit Union.

Lee started teaching more than 30 years ago in Mexico. He has taught in numerous places in those 30 years. He has also taught many different age groups, from elementary to high school. Lee has taught foreign languages, music, and art.

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Lee received a bachelor’s degree in Spanish and music from Delta State University and a master’s degree from the University of
Mississippi in Spanish and art.

“Once I break the ice with a student and get them to smile, I know that I have a brain to work with,” Lee said. “I try to make my
classroom ambiance relaxed and inviting for the students. This is just another way to win them over and focus them on the task (the lesson) at hand.”

Lee explained that before he can teach a student, he has to gain their trust. He also believes he has to show them that he knows the subject he is teaching in a way that engages them. Once he has broken the ice and gained their attention, he said, the lesson
is going to be a success.

“We talk about current events and incorporate those into our lesson,” Lee said.

Pointing out an example, Lee said one of his classes once brought up Jordan shoes, so the class spent the lesson learning about the design, where the shoes are made, how marketing works, and how much the shoes cost.

He gave the students an assignment to design a shoe and work on the marketing of that shoe.

“In one lesson my students learned that if they put their minds to it, they could be a designer or marketing executive.”

When asked to share one of his most moving educational experiences, he said, “every day working with teens is a moving educational experience. I feel that teaching is not just a career. For me, it is a calling.”