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

MONTGOMERY A Mobile County high school principal, Lewis Copeland, is one of two principals statewide to be honored as part of Alfa's Teacher of the Month program.

A 31-year education veteran, Mr. Copeland is principal of W. P. Davidson High School. As the July winner, Mr. Copeland will receive $1,000 from Alfa, as will his school. Alfa Insurance Co. and the Alabama Farmers Federation are sponsoring the awards program in an effort to encourage quality and excellence in education.

Mr. Copeland was a teacher and assistant principal at three elementary schools before becoming the top administrator at Davidson in 1981. He holds bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of South Alabama and an AA certificate from Auburn University.

Mr. Copeland subscribes to the philosophy that the school and community should work together to help students become "contributing, responsible, democratic American citizens.

"I believe that the single most important issue in a child's school success is parent involvement," he says.

Based on that concept, Copeland has initiated a number of parent communication devices at Davidson including parent newsletters, orientation programs for new students and their parents, visitation days, a Parent Workshop Night and a computer-based information and messaging system.

Copeland's open-door policy has been embraced by parents and students.

"Davidson is a community; it is made up of parents, teachers, students, and many others who just want to be part of something special," says Ben Goldman, a 1994 Davidson graduate.

The success of the Davidson's community concept has not gone unnoticed. Student attendance and test scores are up, and Davidson has been named a National Model Blue Ribbon School twice this decade. The school was also one of Redbook Magazine's America's Best Schools in 1992, and the Davidson PTA has won Mobile County's Best High School PTA award five times since 1991.

As for Copeland, he was the Mobile County PTA Principal of the Year in 1994-95 and the Alabama PTA Principal of the Year in 1993-94.

During 1998, the Alfa Teacher of the Month program will also honor one outstanding public school teacher from each of the state's eight public school districts and two private school teachers. Each month's winner is chosen based on an independent committee's evaluation of the applications received. Information on the Teacher of the Month program and the application process is available from local superintendents or from the state Department of Education in Montgomery, 334/242-9950.

Copeland lives in Mobile with his wife, Sylvia. They have a son, Louie, and a daughter, Lynn.

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