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"J. Paul Till, Director, Information Department"
334 613-4313

MONTGOMERY Top-notch educators in public and private schools around the state will earn recognition in a new Teacher of the Month program sponsored by the Alabama Farmers Federation and Alfa Insurance Co.

Over the 12 months of 1998, the program will honor eight outstanding public school teachers (one from each of the eight State Board of Education school districts), two private/parochial school teachers, and two principals. The Principal of the Month competition will be open to principals from public and private schools.

The winner of each month's award will receive a check for $1,000, as well his or her school.

"Quality education revolves around quality teachers," said Alfa Executive Vice President Ken Wallis. "We are proud to sponsor this program to encourage quality and reward excellence in teachers, principals and their schools."

The goals of the new program are to encourage quality and reward excellence in Alabama's teachers, principals and schools.

Teachers and principals must apply for the award. The State Department of Education, which is helping coordinate the program, has already sent information to each board district on how teachers and principals can apply. The department also will send that information to private schools.

Teachers and principals applying for the honor must submit a resume, including professional development and educational history; write brief essays about their philosophy of teaching or administration and how they apply their philosophy in the classroom; and have two letters of support.

"It's very important to recognize good teachers, and I'm grateful to Alfa for initiating this program," said state Superintendent of Education Ed Richardson.

"The department recognizes excellence in teaching through the State Teacher of the Year program, but I think it is significant when business also takes an interest in encouraging and rewarding those most responsible for the achievement of our students," Richardson said.

For the eight public school teacher awards, winners will be chosen by committees within each district. The two top principal and private school teacher award winners will be chosen by statewide committees.

The first Alfa Teacher of the Month for 1998, Jane L. Whitfield of Rainbow City, was chosen from public schools in District 8, which includes school systems in Limestone, Madison, Jackson, DeKalb, Etowah and Cherokee counties.

The Teacher of the Month for February will be selected from District 7, which includes school systems in Colbert, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Franklin, Marion, Winston, Lamar, Fayette, Walker, Tuscaloosa and parts of Hale counties. The deadline to apply was Dec. 18.

Teachers from District 6 school systems have until Jan. 9 to apply for Alfa's Teacher of the Month for March. District 6 includes school systems in Morgan, Cullman, Blount and parts of Jefferson and Shelby counties.

For more information on the Alfa Teacher of the Month program, teachers should contact their principal or superintendent or call the state Department of Education in Montgomery at (334) 242-9950.

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