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February 09, 2011   Email to Friend 

By Melissa Martin
(334) 612-5448
February 09, 2011

Coach Leslie Thorn
MONTGOMERY, Ala.-- Recess -- the ultimate provider of an hour of fun for many children, and a much-desired break for many teachers. For Coach Leslie Thorn, however, recess is the time of day she looks forward to most.

While most educators will agree that engaging students in any class can be a challenge, Thorn sets out each day to promote healthy habits and enrich the lives of her Forest Hills Elementary students.

To ensure her students remain as eager about fun and learning as she is, she often reaches into her 'bag of tricks' -- techniques gained from experience as a coach, parent and wife. What really sets Thorn apart in her field, though, is that in addition to the required curriculum, she also teaches her students sign language. Her flexibility helps her relate to her students, but it is also a personal characteristic the Forest Hills faculty has come to admire.

It's for her enthusiasm, innovation and drive that Thorn earned her place as Alfa's Teacher of the Month for February. As February's honoree, she will receive $1,000 from Alfa Insurance. Her school, a division of Florence City Schools, will receive a matching award from the Alabama Farmers Federation. Like many teachers, recognition of a job well done is humbling, but it's the children she guides daily who provide the greatest reward.

"Each day, I get to see them have more fun, learn more and become healthier, happier children -- better able to buckle down and focus in the classroom," said Thorn. "My reward is not test scores that last for a moment, but changes in lives that last forever."

Though her students keep her rather busy, Thorn's leadership goes beyond the final bell. She is a coordinator for the Jump Rope for Heart program and captain of her March of Dimes team.

Thorn, a two-time graduate of the University of North Alabama, received her bachelor's degree and master's degree in physical education. A National Board Certified teacher, she is also active in the Alabama State Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance.

During 2011, 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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