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July 27, 2009   Email to Friend 

Darryal Ray
(334) 613-4187
July 27, 2009

Deborah Kranzusch
The measure of success isn't always easy to gauge, but Deborah Kranzusch's accomplishments as fifth-grade math teacher at Montgomery Academy are clear to those who matter most: her students.

"I used to hate and despise math, and it also used to be my lowest grade," writes Mary Elmore DeMott, an MA fifth-grader. "When I came into Mrs. Kranzusch's room on the first day of fifth grade, I thought she was just going to be another regular math teacher. However, she is nothing nearly like any other math teacher I've ever had. ... I have learned to love math, and hope to be a math teacher someday."

Of course, there are other measures of success -- one of those is Kranzusch's selection as the Alfa Teacher of the Month for the month of August. As the honoree for August and the first private school honoree this year, she will receive $1,000 from Alfa Insurance and her school will receive $1,000 from the Alabama Farmers Federation. Kranzusch, who holds bachelor's and master's degrees in education from Auburn University, believes school should be "an engaging, involved and happy place for all learners."

She tries to create that "happy place" by incorporating a sense of humor, which -- according to young Miss DeMott -- also includes Kranzusch talking in "funny voices." "I think she has over 100 different ones that she uses!" writes DeMott. "My classmates and I love it when she uses her voices!"

While humor helps keep the learning environment fun for her students, Kranzusch is quite the "serious student" herself. Last summer, she attended a two-day institute in Albuquerque, N.M., designed to offer knowledge about the brain, brain research and brain-based learning. The institute, Kranzusch said, was "an invaluable tool for incorporating foundations for long-term memory and utilizing varied assessments."

During 2009, Alfa Insurance and the Alabama Farmers Federation are honoring 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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