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

MONTGOMERY An Etowah County elementary school teacher has been selected as the Alfa Teacher of the Month for January 1998. Jane Whitfield, a fifth-grade teacher at John S. Jones Elementary School in Rainbow City near Gadsden, will receive a $1,000 check from Alfa, as will her school.

Sponsored by the Alabama Farmers Federation and Alfa Insurance Co., the Alfa Teacher of the Month program recognizes top-notch educators in public and private schools around the state. The new program is aimed at encouraging quality and rewarding excellence in Alabama's teachers, principals and schools.

Mrs. Whitfield, who began her teaching career at Carlisle Elementary School in Boaz in 1972, has been teaching fifth grade at John S. Jones Elementary since 1980.

The 25-year veteran of the classroom says her philosophy of education is simple.

"I believe in children," she says. "I believe in their natural curiosity, ability and creativity. If given the appropriate opportunities, children far surpass any goal set for them. I believe children should become confident in their ability to learn, to think and to solve problems. Children should learn to value education and learning as a tool to their world and the future."

"Jane Whitfield has dedicated her life to teaching young children," says John S. Jones Elementary Principal Cheryl Tyler. "Her positive attitude and her ability to work with all children in her class makes a lasting impression."

Ms. Tyler says Whitfield challenges her students daily and exposes them to many varied experiences, enriching their lives and providing them with opportunities to succeed.

In addition to her recognition as Alfa Teacher of the Month for January, Mrs. Whitfield was named the John S. Jones Teacher of the Year in 1987 and the Alabama Council for Technology in Education's District Technology Teacher of the Year in 1990. She is a member of the Alabama Department of Education Mathematics Course of Study Committee and executive board member of the Etowah County Education Association. She also serves as a leader with the local Girl Scouts organization and is a member of the United Methodist Church of Rainbow City.

Mrs. Whitfield has a bachelor's degree from Jacksonville State University in Jacksonville and a master's degree from the University of Alabama. She and her husband, Roy, live in Rainbow City and have one daughter, Heather.

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