Leslie Hughes, first grade teacher at Walter M. Kennedy Elementary School and Valerie Curtis, Pell City High School teacher, are among 16 finalists for Alabama Teacher of the Year.

“Dedicated and highly skilled teachers are essential for our state to continue achieving academic excellence – preparing the nation’s next generation of top professionals,” said Eric Mackey, State Superintendent of Education. “These 16 outstanding educators selected as finalists for the Alabama 2019-2020 Teacher of the Year, exemplify these qualities.” 

“Each has excelled in the classroom and is preparing all students for success through mentorship, innovative classroom instruction, and a personal commitment to academic achievement,” continued Mackey. “These educators exemplify the teaching profession at its best!”

This year’s 16 state finalists have emerged from a group of over 140 highly skilled educators who submitted official applications. The Alabama Teacher of the Year Program is one of our state’s oldest and most esteemed awards programs. 

Alabama State Department of Education - 2019-2020 District Teachers of the Year

Leslie Hughes is the District VI Elementary Teacher of the Year and Valerie Curtis is the District VI Secondary Teacher of the Year.

The sixteen finalists from around the state will soon be narrowed down to the Top Four. 

The 2019-2020 Alabama Teacher of the Year will be announced at a special ceremony hosted by the Alabama State Board of Education and the Alabama State Department of Education on Wednesday, May 8 at 6 p.m., at the RSA Plaza Terrace in Montgomery.

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, Alabama’s representative is a candidate for National Teacher of the Year.

Reflecting on her experiences as the most recently announced finalist and Alabama’s current Teacher of the Year, Zestlan Simmons said, “Congratulations to these 16 innovative educators, who have been selected to represent our local districts and school regions. These wonderful teachers are elevating our profession to new levels. They are working hard every day to ensure all students are prepared for success.”

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