Jacques Bailly

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Jacques A. Bailly (born 1966)[1] serves as the Bee's official pronouncer, a position he has held since 2003.[2] He was the 1980 Scripps National Spelling Bee champion.

Bailly grew up in the Denver, Colorado area. He began participating in spelling bees in sixth grade, training with a nun at his Catholic school.[2] He reached the National Spelling Bee as an eighth grader and won with the word elucubrate.[3]

Bailly studied Ancient Greek and Latin, receiving his bachelor's degree from Brown University and his PhD from Cornell University.[4] He learned German in Switzerland with the help of a Fulbright scholarship.[2] In 1990, he wrote a letter to the National Spelling Bee organizers offering his services and was hired as an associate pronouncer.[5] Bailly became the Bee's chief pronouncer after Alex Cameron's death in 2003.[2]

Bailly works full-time as an associate professor of classics at the University of Vermont, specializing in Greek and Roman philosophy, particularly Plato.[2][6]

Bailly portrays himself in the 2006 film Akeelah and the Bee, which tells the story of a girl who competes in the National Spelling Bee.[2]

Bailly is married to Leslyn Hall. They have two children, Isidora (b. 2001) and Jean-Pierre (b. 2003).[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Jacques Bailly 1966 - Public Background Checks". publicbackgroundchecks.com. Retrieved June 10, 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d e f James Maguire. American Bee: the National Spelling Bee and the Culture of Word Nerds. Rodale, 2006. 121-124.
  3. ^ "Denver boy wins spelling bee". The Ledger. May 30, 1980. 5.
  4. ^ http://www.uvm.edu/~classics/documents/JacquesBaillyResume_Aug2010.pdf
  5. ^ M.J. Stephey. "Q&A: Spelling Bee Pronouncer Jacques Bailly". Time. May 26, 2009. Retrieved on August 4, 2009.
  6. ^ Department of Classics. University of Vermont. Retrieved on June 5, 2010.
  7. ^ JABcv2014. JABcv2014. Retrieved on May 31, 2017.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Katie Kerwin McCrimmon
Scripps National Spelling Bee winner
Succeeded by
Paige Pipkin