Educator Profile    Educators

Wilson Reyes (IN '11)


Lincoln Middle School
Indianapolis, IN

Subject(s) taught: English as a New Language, Drama, English, Speech and Debate
Grade(s): 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

At the time of the Award, Wilson Reyes was:

Guion Creek Middle School
Indianapolis, IN

Subject(s) taught: ESL
Grade(s): 6, 7, 8

Biographical Information

His classroom a well-oiled machine, English as a New Language and Newcomers' teacher Wilson Elias Reyes is praised for his ability to quickly mainstream his non- English-speaking, Newcomers. Reyes, himself an immigrant from the Dominican Republic who speaks multiple languages, fosters a family-like atmosphere in his classroom and has created a state-of-the-art school-wide TV program that promotes diversity and sense of community school wide. To help immerse his students in the English language, Reyes has students create their own PowerPoint presentations and shows. He also helps them articulate their beliefs and teaches them the importance of having a voice. In addition, Reyes takes students on field trips to learn about American culture and encourages parents to volunteer in his classroom. Reyes has also contacted legislators on behalf of the local Latino community. He has been an advocate for the Latino community for many years and continues that work in the Indianapolis and surrounding communities. With Reyes at the wheel, test scores are improving, discipline referrals are dropping and attendance is growing. He created the Newcomers Program for recent immigrants at the school and, among those students, scores have jumped by almost 70 percent. Three students were picked for an early-college prep program. One of his students even won a statewide award in which she was unanimously nominated by the school staff. Reyes completed the National Board Certification and a figurehead in the local Latino community. Reyes was a former business owner who worked in media, furniture and television has also served in the military. Reyes is able to bring interesting color to his lessons and obtain useful resource material for his students. He presented at the Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol (SIOP) Institute specializing in high-quality instruction for English Learners (ELLs), and has published articles in the local media regarding diversity in schools and in business. Wilson has written several children's books in the English as a Second field and other four books on education, one of which is his story of navgating racism and race in the United States. 

Personal Message

My philosophy of education is that any child can learn and every one should have an equitable opportunity to learn and succeed. It should not matter if you have money or if you know someone in high places, you should be able to be educated well. Students also deserve someone who is passionate in what they are doing. I had many teachers that came before me that were examples to me. I want to be that role model or example to my students. The English Language Learner is my passion. It seems to me that this section of our population is not wholly served in all parts of the United States. I would like to bring more focus to the ELL population.

Related Connections

Article: How Milken Educators are Spending their Summer Vacation (continued)

Wilson Reyes In The News

Paying it forward: Milken award winner teaches students like him
The Indianapolis Star  |  Nov 15, 2011  |  Indianapolis, IN

Teacher surprised with prestigious award
WISH-TV  |  CBS  |  Nov 14, 2011  |  Indianapolis, IN

Additional Information

English as an Additional Language, Drama, Speech, Debate, English, Spanish, and Video Production