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"Jeff Helms, Publications Editor"
334 613-4212

MONTGOMERY A Prattville kindergarten teacher, Tracye Strichik, has been named Alfa's Teacher of the Month for April. As this month's winner, she will receive $1,000 from Alfa, as will her school. Alfa Insurance Company and the Alabama Farmers Federation began sponsoring the awards program two years ago as a way to recognize excellence in education.

A National Board Certified teacher, Mrs. Strichik began her career at Prattville Kindergarten School in 1994. In the years since, she has earned the Golden Apple Award from WSFA-TV and was the 1999 recipient of the Alabama Electric Cooperative Bright Ideas Grant.

Mrs. Strichik is a graduate of Auburn University and holds a master's degree in early childhood education from Auburn University Montgomery (AUM). Mrs. Strichik said a key to successful teaching is collaboration.

"I believe it is important to reach beyond the walls of the classroom to support collaborative efforts aimed at reaching students. This includes peer collaboration as well as parental and community involvement," she said.

To further develop her teaching skills, Mrs. Strichik studies the latest child development research findings and participates in professional development workshops. She also has served as a mentor for other teachers and as a presenter at various teacher workshops. Mrs. Strichik has involved parents in the learning process by developing math games and reading assignments that students complete at home, and she publishes a weekly newsletter entitled "The Kindergarten Chronicle," which provides parents with information about what's going on in her classroom."

As a teacher, I am challenged to be the best that I can be, and I am rewarded daily when I observe my eager and trusting learners becoming the best they can be," she said.

Prattville Kindergarten Principal Sylvia Knight said she receives numerous requests each year from parents who want their children to be placed in Mrs. Strichik's classroom.

"Mrs. Strichik is the kind of teacher that every parent wants their child to have," Ms. Knight said.

During 2000, the Alfa Teacher of the Month program will honor one outstanding public school teacher from each of the state's eight public school board districts; two private school teachers; and two principals. Each winner is chosen based on an independent committee's evaluation of the applications received.

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