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July 08, 2010   Email to Friend 

Melissa Martin
(334) 612-5448
July 08, 2010

Lydia Davenport
In an age where social networking through websites such as Facebook, MySpace and Twitter has become the norm, sometimes it takes good, old-fashioned collaborating to ensure a student's success beyond the classroom. How does Heritage Elementary Principal Lydia Davenport reach her students? By insisting they "make a splash" -- with water safety, that is.

After partnering with community leaders and the Heart of the Valley YMCA in Madison, Davenport gained funding through the Make a Splash grant program, which teaches children water safety and swim lessons during physical education class. While this program helps children gain confidence in the water, it also helps them gain confidence within themselves.

Described as an exemplary problem-solver with an extraordinary "willingness to listen," Davenport has a strong support team behind her. How did she establish such a strong rapport with Heritage Elementary teachers, students and parents?

"I start by building trust, showing enthusiasm about my work and my role as a leader, involving others in decision-making and fostering collaboration," explains Davenport.

It's because of her involvement with her school and the Madison community that Davenport earned her place as one of two principals honored this year in the Alfa Teacher of the Month program. As July's honoree, she will receive $1,000 from Alfa Insurance. Her school, part of the Madison City School system, will receive a matching contribution from the Alabama Farmers Federation.

"Through her networking with the community, Dr. Davenport has secured money to provide after-school tutoring for at-risk children," said Heritage Elementary teacher Sheila Holt. "The funds provide a stipend for the teachers, snacks for the children, materials and bus transportation. Students have made tremendous academic gains through the program."

Davenport, a member of the Alabama Education Association, received her bachelor and master's degrees in elementary education from Alabama A&M University.

During 2010, Alfa Insurance and the Alabama Farmers Federation are honoring one outstanding teacher from each of Alabama's eight state board districts, two principals and two private school teachers. Application information is available under Alfa Teacher of the Month in the Ag Links section of AlfaFarmers.org.

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