In his first year of teaching, he was recognized by the State Department of Education and the Multicultural Education Institute as the January 2015 Educator of the Month and the 2015 Multicultural Teacher of the Year for promoting global citizenship in his classroom and achieving a successful academic turnaround. In December 2017, Patel was selected from over 30,000 nominations as one of the top 50 teachers around the world and shortlisted as a finalist for the Varkey Foundation’s Global Teacher Prize, a $1 million prize that is awarded annually to one teacher who has made an outstanding contribution to the profession: https://bit.ly/2JKeXF5 In June 2020, Patel was elected to the National Council of the United Nations Association of the United States of America (UNA-USA) to serve the 2020-2022 term. At UNA-USA, Patel chairs the Global Engagement Summit committee, the largest gathering of grassroots changemakers and global activists in the General Assembly Hall at the UN and the Educators Affinity group, responsible for helping educators from across USA champion the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in their classrooms.
Akash has connected all of his classrooms with people and professionals worldwide using virtual platforms such as Facebook video calling, Skype and Google Hangout. At first, he started inviting his friends from social media platforms. Eventually, he mobilized over 1,000 volunteers from over 150 countries to join his Global Connect database at the Happy World Foundation (www.happyworldfoundation.us), a Texas based global education nonprofit he founded after the passing of his twin brother Anand Happy Patel.
Patel frequently speaks at regional, national and international conferences about his classroom experience. He has also trained over 40,000 teachers to use the Global Connect database and other multicultural programs. Today, thousands of American children travel to countries worldwide through Happy World Foundation’s global education programs.