LHS Spanish Teacher Ryan Casey Wins the ACTFL/IALLT Award


Ryan Casey, winner of the ACTFL/IALLT Award for Excellence in World Language Instruction Using Technology (K-12). Photo by Michael Gordon

Alexis Chen and Zahra Karim

In Nov. 2021, Ryan Casey, a Spanish teacher at Lexington High School, received the ACTFL/IALLT Award for Excellence in World Language Instruction Using Technology. Recognized for the integration of technology into his classes, Casey was selected from a national pool of K-12 world language teachers.  

Casey has taught at LHS for seven years and has been an important mentor to many LHS students. Casey believes in creating a space for students to learn while having fun and respecting Hispanic cultures.  

“I want kids to leave the classroom feeling that they have gained a new skill or new knowledge, that they had fun and laughed a lot, and that they feel that their presence or identities were important to the lesson,” Casey said.

Ireh Hong, a junior and past student of Casey, emphasized that his method made learning Spanish more exciting.

“Mr. Casey was a fun, energetic, and vibrant teacher. It was fun to pay attention to his lessons and he made learning an enjoyable process. I appreciated the energy and comfortable environment in our classroom, which definitely helped me learn a lot better and improve my Spanish skills,” Hong said.

Casey appreciates being able to help students learn the language and its culture.

“My favorite thing is the opportunity, every day, to share with students a language and a culture that has always really fascinated me, and to help them on their own journey on being fluent and culturally proficient and citizens of the world who really appreciate the food, the music, the history,” Casey said.

Hong credits her Spanish skills, and significant improvement since middle school in the Spanish language, to Casey’s guidance. 

“As a freshman, I still lacked experience and practice with Spanish… and it was hard for me to participate as I transitioned from middle school. Mr. Casey helped me get more comfortable with using the Spanish language, and I was able to learn a lot in his class,” Hong said.

Casey’s passion for the Spanish language and culture is evident through his teaching approach and the positive experiences of many of his past students.

“I had a very enjoyable experience in Mr. Casey’s class. Despite the halt from school during quarantine, I was able to learn a lot during his class and experience a whole new level of Spanish, which I’m really grateful for,” Hong said.