Omaha Public Schools teacher is May Hometown Hero

An OPS ESL teacher is making a difference in the lives of his students.
Published: May. 30, 2023 at 4:31 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Call it a last week of school surprise for the 6 News Heartland Hero for May.

Lee Perez from Alice Buffett Magnet Middle School has made quite a name for himself in the Omaha Public School District. He has wrapped up another school year as an English as a Second Language teacher for 5th-8th graders

He prides himself on connecting with his kids. Many are learning at different levels.

“Pretty much I teach students who come to this country that have limited to no English proficiency how to read English and how to comprehend English. Students from all over the world including Mexico, Guatemala, Afghanistan,” said Perez.

On the day we were there, Mr. Perez was proctoring an exam and encouraging his students to focus and do their best.

A North Platte native and U-N-O graduate who is about to get his Master’s degree, Perez recently received the Horace Mann Award for teaching excellence. It’s a national accolade for his skill in the classroom, commitment to the profession and attention to equality and diversity. A friend nominated him for our award as well.

“A lot of these kids have really big dreams in the country and me being a part of them learning English as a second language to help them achieve their dreams is just an honor,” noted Lee Perez, who just completed his sixteenth year.

Perez also noted that as a person of color, he often shares his story and the struggles that his father’s side of the family went through when they immigrated to the United States from Mexico. He hopes his students will take what they’ve learned from him to the next level.

For his selfless efforts throughout the school year, Lee Perez is a 6 News Heartland Hero.