Final four announced for Alabama Teacher of the Year

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The Alabama State Department of Education(ALSDE) has narrowed down its list of 16 educator-finalists from across the Yellowhammer State down to four for the Alabama’s 2018-2019 Teacher of the Year award.

“Highly-skilled, dedicated, and caring teachers are essential to achieving excellence and in preparing our nation’s next generation of outstanding professionals,” is how the ALSDE describes these individuals.

The four will proceed forward in the competition and will undergo an extensive interview process with the state judging committee.

The winner will be announced during a ceremony at the RSA Plaza Terrace in Montgomery, Ala. on May 9.

Alabama’s Teacher of the Year spends the majority of the school year serving as a full-time ambassador for education and the teaching profession as well as presenting workshops to various groups. Additionally, the winner will become Alabama’s candidate for the National Teacher of the Year award.

The four finalists

Meghan Allen | Minor Community School from the Jefferson County School System:

My students with limited verbal skills can learn and develop ways to use their voice more effectively. For my students who are non-verbal, they need pictures, static devices, or dynamic displays to communicate. We must give our students a voice and teach them to use it. We value all students, and instruction must reflect their needs and value.

Dr. Blake Busbin | Auburn High School from Auburn City School System:

Teachers and community members stand to benefit from greater cooperation in discovering ways in which the community’s expertise can lend itself to enhancing learning. Guest speakers, such as individuals representing varied career fields, are one popular inclusion, but they can be so much greater. Experts in given fields can assist in student project development or evaluation during presentations heightening the relevancy and authenticity of project-based learning.

Carol McLaughlin | Greystone Elementary School of the Hoover City School System:

Our world is connected in ways we never imagined ten years ago. It is essential students use these connections to learn, solve problems, and be active global citizens. With technology, students can find answers to questions, by connecting them to experts around the world. Classrooms are no longer limited by the knowledge of the teachers or the books in the library.

Zestian Simmons | Booker T. Washington Magnet High School in Montgomery from the Montgomery County Public School System:

A learning environment should not be limited to the classroom but should include the local community, innovative projects, and digital learning that connects students to the world. To keep the curriculum relevant, the classroom curriculum should always contain a sufficient level of rigor for the primary purpose of skill development and mastery and current material.