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December 01, 2008   Email to Friend 

Lindsey Rickard
(334) 613-4187
December 01, 2008

Kerra Middleton
MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- Most teachers look forward to relaxing during their two-month summer break. But some, like Kerra Middleton, choose to continue working with students.

Last summer Middleton, library media specialist at Tanner Williams Elementary School in Wilmer, organized and prepared a summer reading program for her students.

"When a fifth grader enters the library and hangs her head because she has not developed a love for books, I know that I must make a difference," Middleton said. "It is my duty to teach children how to recognize obstacles and ways to be triumphant."

The summer reading program helped earn Middleton recognition as Alfa Teacher of the Month for December. As this month's winner, she will receive $1,000 from Alfa Insurance, and her school will receive a matching award from the Alabama Farmers Federation.

Middleton, who holds a master's from the University of South Alabama, says she wants the information she gives her students to "come alive" so they can become an involved part of the learning process.

"I provide lessons that teach the required curriculum by applying skills and objectives in various subject areas through integration," Middleton said. "Through these types of lessons, students are engaged to the point that they are not even aware of the learning that is taking place."

Last year, Middleton changed the way her school participated in the accelerated reading program by training the faculty and staff to challenge and encourage every child at the school.

She also started the Tanner Williams Millionaire's Club to recognize students who read over one million words in the school year.

Students were sent formal invitations for this "red carpet" event, and boys wore donated tuxedos while girls were treated to a hair and make-up session. The students then attended a candlelight reception with their families in the media center.

Deborah Hess, principal of Tanner Williams, says "Mrs. Middleton not only teaches, but knows the name and personality of every child in the school."

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.

Application information is available under Alfa Teacher of the Month in the Ag Links section of www.AlfaFarmers.org.

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