June 30, 2017
By Mary Johnson
From left are Alabama Superintendent of Education Michael Sentance, Alabama Farmers Federation President Jimmy Parnell, Alabama’s 2017-2018 Teacher of the Year Chasity Collier, Federation Executive Director Paul Pinyan, Alfa Insurance Executive Vice President of Operations Steve Rutledge and Alfa Executive Vice President of Marketing Al Dees.
Mobile County School System educator Chasity Collier has a passion for making science come alive for her fifth-grade students at Dawes Intermediate School. But she never anticipated her love of teaching would earn her a new car.
“It’s hard to believe that you can win a prize for doing something you love so much,” Collier said.
She was named Alabama’s Teacher of the Year May 10. The next week, she got behind the wheel of the 2017 Chevrolet Traverse she’ll use during the next school year to travel as a spokesperson for the Alabama State Department of Education.
“Teaching does as much for me as I hope it does for the young kids that are in front of me each day,” she said. “Students come to us with a blank slate. But as teachers, we can encourage them, and when we give them our love and support, students are inspired to color their future. They begin to see themselves in a different light and believe they can accomplish anything they set their minds to.”
Alfa Insurance and Alabama Farmers Federation employees applauded Collier as she received the keys to her vehicle outside the Little Alfa Day Care. This is the 21st year Alfa has presented the Teacher of the Year with a year’s use of a new car, while the Federation covers the cost of automobile insurance through Alfa.
“It takes dedicated, passionate teachers like Ms. Collier to make a difference in the lives of young people in Alabama,” said Jimmy Parnell, president of Alfa and the Federation. “We wish her safe travels over the next year and good luck as she works to inspire other educators.”
Alfa and the Federation are committed to supporting education in Alabama. Foundations established by both groups distribute over $200,000 annually in college scholarships to students studying at Alabama technical schools, colleges and universities. They also support numerous FFA and 4-H events, as well as Alabama’s Ag in the Classroom program.
Alabama State Superintendent of Education Michael Sentance thanked Alfa for providing a vehicle to the Teacher of the Year and commended all the state’s teachers who work hard to make a difference.
“Teachers of the Year are, in fact, world changers, and we celebrate their commitment to students and to the colleagues who work alongside them each day,” Sentance said. “This partnership (with Alfa) is important to the Teacher of the Year program, and we’re grateful to Alfa for their work and their assistance to schools and classrooms.”
Collier started teaching in 1998 and was an Alabama Math, Science and Technology Initiative coach from 2008 to 2015. She automatically became the state’s nominee for National Teacher of the Year.