Mr. Wills-Keely earns Educator of the Year

Yabe Beneberu and Shishyan Bhatta

The hallways buzzed with excitement as the news spread like wildfire: Mr. Wills-Keely, the history and Theory of Knowledge teacher, was named Educator of the Year. For many students and colleagues, the news came as no surprise. Keely is a teacher who goes above and beyond to create a transformative learning environment for his students.

Wills-Keely’s colleagues praised his in-depth work, passion for teaching, and love for his students. His wife, Alisa Wills-Keely, who is also a teacher at the school, saw the magical impact he had on his students every day.

“Wills is more than just an amazing teacher,” Wills-Keely said. “He’s a true inspiration to his students and colleagues. His passion for teaching and reading and helping students find what they are passionate about is what makes him special.” 

“Keely’s passion for teaching and his dedication to his students is something that’s truly remarkable,” said English/TOK teacher Mr. Cobb. “He is a genuine guy and that’s why he is able to connect to his students so well.”

In Wills-Keely’s classroom, learning doesn’t end after an assessment. He encourages his students to question assumptions, argue their points, and think critically. His approach engages students and leads them to feel invested in their education.

“Keely taught me how to think critically and to believe in myself,” said junior Sarah Bicking. “He never gave up on me, and because of him, I feel more comfortable in his classroom.”

Wills-Keely’s empathetic nature and likable personality are also major factors in his success as an educator. His students adore him, not just for his teaching style, but also for the way he makes them feel. He is approachable, easy to talk to, and genuinely invested in their well-being.

“Keely is more than just a teacher,” said junior Rami Heik, “He’s a mentor and a friend. He’s always there for us, even if it’s just to talk. He truly cares about each and every one of his students.”

As the news of his award spread, Wills-Keely’s classroom was inundated with congratulatory messages from his students, past and present. Some students even did a surprise celebration for him, in which students from other classrooms went out of their way and gave speeches and words of praise for the deserving teacher. Wills-Keely was touched by the outpouring of love and support, but he was quick to remind his students that the award wasn’t just about him.

“It feels really good to work with the colleagues that I work with and to be recognized amongst this faculty,” he told them. “It’s a really cool thing.”

In a world where standardized testing and curricula can often feel a little tedious, teachers like Wills-Keely bring new ways to learn and reminds us that education is about more than just passing a test. It’s about fostering a love of learning, inspiring students to become critical thinkers and global citizens, and making a positive impact on the world.