As Juneteenth draws near, a Des Moines Public Schools leader is being honored as the state’s top educator by Iowa Juneteenth. Frank Lee III, associate principal at Roosevelt High School, is this year’s recipient of the Mary McLeod Bethune Educator of the Year Award.

“Iowa Juneteenth looks forward to recognizing Frank Lee for his hard work and commitment to the students of DMPS,” said Dwana Bradley, chair of the Des Moines School Board and general chairperson of Iowa Juneteenth. “Mary McLeod Bethune was a trailblazer in education and we know that Frank will leave a lasting impact that will be felt for generations.”

In announcing the award, Iowa Juneteenth noted: “The Educator of the Year Award is given to a person in the education profession past or present who is committed to the education of young people and making an impact in their lives … .  You make sure students perform at their best and are committed to making sure they become their best selves. Your dedication to our students, the district you represent, and your heart for education hasn’t gone unnoticed.”

“I am extremely honored to be recognized as the 2022 Mary McLeod Bethune Educator of the Year Award,” said Lee. “I admit, I was quite surprised at the recognition because I never take the time to reflect on my daily work. I think I have only scratched the surface of what needs to be done in and for community.”

Lee is a native of New Orleans who has called Des Moines home for the past 13 years. He taught science at Lincoln High School before moving into school leadership. He earned his undergraduate degree from Lincoln University of Pennsylvania, a master’s degree in secondary education from the University of Phoenix, and is currently a graduate student in K-12 leadership administration at Bethel University.

“I take pride in treating every student, staff, family, and community member like they are a part of my family,” added Lee. “I only hope to live up to the legacy that Mrs. Bethune and the many great leaders here in Des Moines Community. I am one person who is crazy enough to think that I can actually change the world and I will continue striving to make our educational systems the best that they can be.”

Lee is also quick to note the team effort around his work at Roosevelt, including principal Steven Schappaugh, Melissa Floyd, Jeffrey Hummel, Praveen Bannikatti, Qynne Kelly and Charles Zanders.

Lee will be recognized this evening at the Juneteenth Appreciation Banquet.

Planning to attend the 32nd annual Iowa Juneteenth Neighbor’s Day event? Be sure to stop by and say “hi” at the DMPS booth. The event is on from 11:00 AM to 11:00 PM on Saturday in the Western Gateway Park in downtown Des Moines.

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