Alabama’s 2019-2020 teacher of the Year Ana Carolina Behel was all smiles as she climbed into the driver’s seat of a new 2019 Chevrolet Traverse. Behel will use the car through May 2020 to travel the state as a spokesperson for the Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE).
Alfa Insurance® and Alabama Farmers Federation President Jimmy Parnell presented Behel with the keys during a news conference May 9 at the Alfa Insurance Child Care Center. Alfa Insurance sponsors the year’s use of the vehicle, while the Federation covers the cost of auto insurance provided through Alfa.
“Teachers are some of the most important and influential people in students’ lives, and at Alfa, we feel it’s a privilege to honor the hard work of Alabama’s best educators,” Parnell said. “By providing a car and auto insurance, we hope Ms. Behel can travel all over Alabama inspiring other teachers to excel without worrying about wear and tear on a personal vehicle.”
Behel is a National Board Certified English Language Development teacher who teaches English as a Second Language at Weeden Elementary School in Florence. A native Spanish-speaker from Guatemala, Behel learned English and German before graduating high school.
She completed her bachelor’s degree at the University of North Alabama in 1993 and earned her master’s degree from the University of Alabama (UA) in 1999. Behel anticipates finishing her doctorate in education in 2021 at UA.
“I love teaching, and I hope this honor helps my students see that if you set high goals for yourself and you work hard, you can accomplish anything,” Behel said. “Thank you to Alfa for letting me use this beautiful car, and thanks to my school district for being so supportive, investing in me and believing in me.”
ALSDE named Behel the 2019-2020 teacher of the Year during a May 8 ceremony in downtown Montgomery. She is Alabama’s official candidate for the National teacher of the Year award.
Alabama State Superintendent of Education Dr. Eric Mackey said he appreciates how Alfa and the Federation have staunchly supported the teacher of the Year program for 23 years.
“It is because of the generosity of sponsors like Alfa Insurance that our teacher of the Year can travel safely across the state and promote the education profession,” Mackey said. “Traveling in a new, comfortable, stylish vehicle with the honorable distinction of ‘Alabama teacher of the Year’ on the side gives Alabama’s teacher of the Year an additional incentive to visit schools throughout Alabama as education’s top representative.”