Akash Patel. Photo courtesy of Dallas ISD.

A teacher at Ignite Middle School has been elected to lead a national organization for foreign language teachers.

Akash Patel will serve the next three years as president-elect, president and immediate past president of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL).

At the ACTFL, Patel will focus on addressing the shortage of foreign language teachers in the United States. He will also push for equitable access to foreign language certification, support the teaching of multiple languages in elementary school and work with state legislatures to increase representation of foreign language teachers in state educational agencies.

Patel is originally from India and has worked for Dallas ISD for five years. He speaks six languages and has visited more than 60 countries.

In 2018, Patel and DISD’s world languages director, Amy Anderton, founded the nonprofit Happy World Foundation Inc. to “promote global citizenship education, cross-cultural understanding and citizen-to-citizen diplomacy in schools and communities worldwide.” The organization was named after Patel’s twin brother, Anand “Happy” Patel, who died.