SELMA PRINCIPAL HONORED BY ALABAMA FARMERS FEDERATION
MONTGOMERY, Ala. - Janis W. Stewart has a simple philosophy when it comes to education: "All students can learn, and it's our job as educators to see that they do so." Her down-to-earth approach along with her drive and enthusiasm has earned Stewart the honor of being Alfa's Teacher of the Month for July. As this month's winner, Stewart will receive $1,000 from Alfa Insurance, and her school, Meadowview Elementary in Selma, will receive a matching award from the Alabama Farmers Federation.
Stewart graduated from the University of West Alabama with a bachelor's degree in elementary education. She later earned two master's degrees from Auburn University in elementary education and educational administration. In 1971, Stewart began teaching language arts, science and mathematics to fourth- and fifth-graders in Linden, Ala. Stewart joined the Selma City Schools in 1984 as a sixth-grade teacher.
Before becoming principal of Meadowview Elementary, Stewart was a member of the School Support Team for the state Department of Education, where she worked with faculty and administration of schools on "caution" and "alert" status. According to Selma School Superintendent James Carter, Stewart "continues to serve as a mentor to several teachers and principals even as she meets the needs of teachers and students in her own school."
Stewart was the only principal selected statewide to help develop the Alabama Math, Science, and Technology Initiative, and worked to bring about many improvements to her school in all areas, including multiple new labs for both the sciences and the arts.
Stewart actively seeks involvement from parents, businesses and the community to help her school and improve the educational experience of her students. Dr. Carter praised Stewart's accomplishments as principal of Meadowview Elementary, as the school has become a demonstration site for many educational programs, including the Alabama Reading Initiative.
But the real benefit is seen in the students. According to Meadowview teacher Louise Wood, "We're having more fun teaching, and our children have fallen in love with school (and their scores show it!)."
This year, Alfa Insurance and Alabama Farmers Federation will recognize one teacher from each state school board district as well as two private school teachers and two principals. Application information is available online in the Ag Links section of www.alfafarmers.org under "Alfa Teacher of the Month."