Mr. Lally named 2023 Cy Creek Teacher of the Year


Photo by: Crystal Gooding

Mr. Lally dresses up as Santa Claus for the preschool students on Dec. 8, 2022. Photo by Crystal Gooding.

After teaching for 16 years William “Buck” Lally, government and AP U.S. history teacher, National Honor Society Sponsor and Key Club Sponsor was awarded 2022-2023 Teacher of the Year Dec. 8, 2022.

According to Principal Vicki Snokhous, Teacher of the Year is an award selected by administrators and is based off the teacher’s performance in the classroom. Snokhous believes Lally stood out  for Teacher of the Year because of his investment in his students and the expectation he sets for them.

“Lally’s students love him not because he is an easy teacher, but because he has high standards and expectations for them and he helps them to reach those standards. Lally is invested in the student body and culture of Cy-Creek and goes above and beyond to show Cougar Pride and to help build a positive culture,” Snokhous said.

Snokhous believes Lally deserved the award because of the results he gets out of his students.

“Lally has taught everything from on-level courses to AP courses. His students always achieve high standards on course testing requirements,” Snokhous said. “Lally teaches from bell to bell each class period with well-prepared lessons, and he applies his depth of knowledge of the content.”

Growing up, teaching wasn’t Lally’s first choice. Lally said he believed he would be “coaching soccer my whole life,” and he did not get a teaching degree during college, but his time as a substitute teacher and soccer coach sparked his love for teaching.

“I started substitute teaching at Creek in 2005 and I liked it, so I started a program to get my teaching certificate,” Lally said. “Also, working as a coach made me want to be a teacher because I wanted to have more interaction with students.”

Lally believes his time as a soccer coach has helped him as a teacher.

“Part of coaching is bringing the best out of your players and bringing it all together, and I think that has helped me as a teacher,” Lally said.

Over the course of Lally’s teaching career, his students have taught him more than he expected.

“I have learned that I don’t know very much and the kids have to keep teaching me things,” Lally said.

Teacher of the Year is the highest honor a Creek teacher can receive, and Lally appreciates the acknowledgement from administration.

“Anyone that wins this award would say it is nice to get the recognition from the administration that you are doing the right thing in the classroom,” Lally said.

Over the course of Lally’s 16-year-teaching career, his favorite memory comes from working with a group of kids from a few years ago.

“There were classes in 2016, 2017, and 2018 – working with them for several years was very memorable. A lot of them have gone on to do great things in their young professional lives and playing a tiny part in that was pretty cool,” Lally said.

Teachers have an important role in students’ lives and being part of their journey is something fulfilling for a teacher. Lally teaches because he simply loves being a part of his students’ lives.

“I live for the interaction,” Lally said. “If I did not teach government that day but had positive interaction with students and got to know them better, that is an awesome day for me.”

Lally believes a teacher’s ability to connect with their students and understand their uniqueness is what makes a teacher great.

“Being able to relate to the students and understand [that] every single one of them have a different outlook and you are never going to make the kids see the world you do, but you want them to be part of the world, to not just watch life but live life,” Lally said.

As an experienced teacher, Lally believes anyone who wants to teach must have humility.

“I have learned more from the students than I have taught them, and if you are not humble, you will not pick up those things from students.” Lally said.

Lally also believes aspiring teachers need to be committed despite the ups and downs of teaching.

“They [teachers] have to be ready for the highs and lows and wake up every morning ready to put in a good shift and understand that it [the day] will never go according to the plan,” Lally said.

After teaching for a while, Lally became the sponsor of Key Club – an organization dedicated to volunteering and providing service for the community as well as visiting schools and retirement homes – because the sponsor at the time needed help.

Lally could have left after the original sponsor was gone, but he stayed because he saw the value in a club that encourages volunteering in the community.

“One of the biggest things we can do is be involved with the world and our community, and one of the best ways to do that is through volunteering and service,” Lally said.

One of the most important aspects of teaching is the impact a teacher leaves on their students. Lally hopes his students learn to be involved with the world around them and make positive change.

“The world itself is a really cool place,” Lally said. “We just have to go and interact with it, and part of it means changing and making the world a better place.”