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September 14, 2000   Email to Friend 

Debra Davis
(334) 613-4686
September 14, 2000

The Alabama Farmers Federation and Alfa Insurance Co. presented a new Chevrolet Impala to Alabama's 2000-2001 Teacher of the Year during a special ceremony Thursday morning in Montgomery.

Alfa President Jerry Newby presented Tonya Perry, an eighth-grade teacher at Berry Middle School in Hoover, the keys to the new car. Al Dees, executive vice president of marketing for Alfa Insurance, also was on hand for the presentation. Perry will spend much of the 2000-2001 school year traveling across Alabama as an ambassador for public education and the teaching profession.

"We need great teachers in Alabama, and we have great teachers in our state," Newby said. "Alfa is glad to be a part of this program by supplying an automobile and the insurance for the next year to Ms. Perry. As a farmer, I know that plants and animals require a good environment and careful nurturing to grow and be productive. It is the same for children. For students to achieve, schools must provide a setting that inspires learning and teachers with the desire and skills to help their students develop. We are pleased to help reward our state's teacher of the year for the great job she does in nurturing the minds of her students."

During the presentation, Newby announced the continuation of the Alfa Teacher of the Month program, a separate program from the Teacher of the Year.

The Alfa Teacher of the Month program is coordinated through the State Department of Education and funded by Alfa Insurance Co. and the Alabama Farmers Federation. During the year, the program recognizes a teacher from each of the state's eight school districts, two principals chosen at large, and two private school teachers chosen at large. Each recipient receives $1,000, and his or her school also receives $1,000. Teachers make application for the award through the State Department of Education.

This is the fourth year Alfa has presented a car to the state teacher of the year. State School Superintendent Dr. Ed Richardson praised Alfa and the Alabama Farmers Federation for its continued support of education.

"Without the continued support of the community, especially the business community, we're not going to be able to move education to a higher plain," Richardson said. "I'd like to thank Alfa and Mr. Newby for again recognizing that education is very important."

Perry has been a teacher for 10 years and has completed coursework in the doctoral program at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She is spending this school year as teacher-in-residence at UAB. She received certification in administration from the University of North Carolina-Central, a master's degree from UAB, and an undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. In 1999, she received National Board for Professional Teaching Standards certification.

"I am so honored to have been chosen for this award," Perry said. "I really appreciate the support that Alfa has shown by providing this car and for the support it shows through the Teacher of the Month program."

The selection process for Alabama's Teacher of the Year begins at the school level. Local honorees are nominated to the system level, and each system can nominate an elementary and a secondary teacher to the state Board of Education district level. An elementary and a secondary teacher are selected from each of the eight state board districts. A state selection committee then selects finalists to be interviewed to determine Alabama's Teacher of the Year and an alternate.

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