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October 02, 2008   Email to Friend 

By Kim Hall
(334) 613-4187
October 02, 2008

Pelham High's Nelson
MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- Pelham High School marine biology teacher Julie Nelson impacts her students not only by teaching the basic knowledge of science, but also by helping them learn that "education is essential for a rewarding and successful life."

Holding firm to the idea that no child should be left behind regardless of their personality, race or intellectual ability, Nelson does whatever it takes to provide each student with a high level of education that will help them in their future. "I try to show what hard work and dedication can accomplish if they will commit to putting forth their best efforts," Nelson said.

That's why Nelson has been chosen as Alfa's Teacher of the Month for October. She will receive $1,000 from Alfa Insurance, and her school, Pelham High School, will receive a matching award from Alabama Farmers Federation.

A classroom teacher since 1996, Nelson holds a master's of education degree from the University of Alabama in Birmingham and a bachelor's of science from Auburn University.

Being a science teacher, Nelson has the opportunity to share "an appreciation of the world" with her students through hands-on learning. The students participate in various activities like, "making 3-D models of crabs, or reading about the albatross in The Rime of the Ancient Mariner or dissecting squid," said Nelson, who keeps students seeing the fun, yet practical, side of learning.

Nelson's contributions to her school, however, do not stop at the classroom door. According to Robert Lavett, principal of Pelham High School, Nelson has emerged as a significant leader in the school. She has sponsored, or is sponsoring the senior class, DARE, FCA, Key Club, Student Ambassadors and coaches girls basketball and soccer.

During 2009, Alfa Insurance and the Alabama Farmers Federation will honor one outstanding teacher from each of Alabama's eight state school board districts, as well as two principals and two private school teachers.

Applications for State School Board Districts 8, 7 and 6 are being accepted by the Alabama Department of Education until Oct. 17. Details of the application process and deadlines for other school board districts and private school teachers are available online at www.AlfaFarmers.org under Ag Links or by contacting Ann Starks at (334) 242-9700 or AStarks@alsde.edu.

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