The list was narrowed down to the semi-finalists; that required more essays and interviews with the state Department of Education.
State officials also came to Pinkerton to watch Lee in action in the classroom.
“He truly exemplifies what we want with education found in the classroom,” said Cindy Chagnon, a member of the Board of Education.
In addition to teaching social studies, Lee leads the school’s golf and ice hockey teams, and also helps advise Pinkerton’s longstanding China exchange program.
Pinkerton senior golf team tri-captain Eric Byrne said his coach deserves the award,.
“He’s such a great leader,” Byrne said.
Commission of Education Virginia Barry called Lee “a leader and ambassador for all the outstanding teachers devoted to the highest level of student learning in their classrooms.”
Pinkerton Academy Headmaster Mary Anderson called Lee an enthusiastic and energetic educator.
“The kids like him, he relates the class materials to their level and he’s just a really deserving person for this,” she said.
Freshman Mike Jellison said Lee gives students the world and makes it easy to learn.
“He makes us find a solution to things,” he said. “He makes us learn, not just memorizing. We find real world solutions.”
As New Hampshire’s Teacher of the Year, Lee will be able to attend the National Teacher of the Year conference in Arizona in January and also the National Teacher of the Year announcement ceremony next April in Washington, D.C.
Lee said he is still processing his award and realizes he has been given a great opportunity.
“I am so thankful for that,” he said. “I am eager to represent New Hampshire and to collaborate with like-minded, motivated, and innovative educators from around the nation and the world. I don’t know what the future will bring, but I do know that I am starting a journey, and am going to ride the wave as long as I can.”