Alabama’s Teacher of the Year: Suzanne Culbreth

The Alabama Department of Education (ALSDE) named Suzanne Culbreth as the 2012 Teacher of the Year. Culbreth is a math teacher at Spain Park High School in the Hoover City school district.

State Superintendent Dr. Tommy Bice announced the winner and the alternate, Meghan Everette, during the 2012 Alabama Stars in Education Awards live broadcast last Wednesday night. Ms. Everette teaches at George Hall Elementary School in the Mobile County system.

“It is an honor to present the Alabama Teacher of the Year award to Suzanne Culbreth,” said Dr. Bice. “Her passion for mathematics and ability to bring its relevance to her students is a model of 21st-century STEM education.”

The Teacher of the Year is selected annually from nominations submitted by each school system. Two teachers from each of the eight State Board of Education districts are nominated — one elementary and one secondary teacher — and a state selection committee chooses four finalists to interview. The committee selects the winner and alternate from the finalists after an interview process.

As Alabama’s Teacher of the Year, Ms. Culbreth becomes the “official spokesperson and representative” for all Alabama teachers for the next year. In the ALSDE news release, Ms. Culbreth said, “I am so proud to be an advocate for the classroom teacher.”

Ms. Culbreth has been a teacher for 28 years. She has taught at Spain Park High School since 2008, and at Oak Mountain High School from 2002-08. In her nomination she is described as “an exemplary educator and a model teacher who demonstrates the benefits of hands-on discovery learning and gains the attention of her students through well-designed enriched curriculum.”

A consummate learner herself, as noted in the SBOE resolution commending her award, Ms. Culbreth has served as a presenter for several training conferences, including the Alabama Educational Technology Conference for K-12 Teachers, and the Alabama Council of Teachers of Mathematics Conference. She also played a leading role in the Governor’s Commission on Quality Teaching.

Ms. Everette has taught 4th grade in the Mobile County system since 2006, and has been involved in numerous elementary projects, such as Girls Engaged in Math and Science (GEMS). Her class was certified as a Model and Master Class in Math Facts in a Flash, as well as a Model Class in Accelerated Reader, according to her nomination. She is described as “a very creative teacher who provides multiple opportunities for her students to use their own creativity… and enhances student learning by extending required objectives beyond mundane paper and pencil activities.”

Click here for the complete ALSDE news release.