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May 25, 2001   Email to Friend 

Debra Davis
(334) 613-4686
May 25, 2001

"MONTGOMERY, Ala." A Madison County educator, Barbara Dickens, has been named Alfa's Teacher of the Month for June. As this month's winner, Mrs. Dickens will receive $1,000 from Alfa, as will her school. Alfa Insurance Co. and the Alabama Farmers Federation have honored more than 40 outstanding teachers since beginning the program in 1998.

A 27-year veteran classroom teacher, Mrs. Dickens received her Bachelor of Art degree from Southeastern College in Lakeland, Fla., and her Masters of Education degree from Mercer University in Atlanta, Ga. She graduated with honors from college and is listed among Who's Who Students in American Universities and Colleges. Barry Simon, principal at Valley Fellowship Christian Academy, describes Mrs. Dickens as an organized, well-trained and capable teacher. Mrs. Dickens said, as a history teacher, her philosophy focuses on capturing her students attention and giving them information they can relate to.

"I believe that when a student researches an important historical character, he will remember more if he comes dressed like that person dressed, when he gives his oral report," Mrs. Dickens said. "When studying about a particular time period, I think students should be able to taste some of the food they ate then, as well as play the games of that period."

In addition to history, Mrs. Dickens teaches science, government, economics and English at Valley Fellowship Christian Academy. She said she tries to find challenging ways for students to express their creativity in those classes as well. Science students had projects that involved everything from a maze with gerbils running through it to DNA models made with tinker toys. Her history class is planning a trip to Noccalulu Falls so students can see three different historical periods they have studied.

"Mrs. Dickens is a creative teacher who brings the curriculum to life for her students," Simon said. "She is a great example of a well-rounded teacher who challenges herself and her students to strive for excellence."

During the year, Alfa will honor one outstanding teacher from each of Alabama's eight state school board districts as well as two principals and two private school teachers. Each winner is selected by an independent panel of judges based on the applications received.

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