By Mary Wilson
The band echoed alongside spirited cheerleaders at Booker T. Washington School, but this wasn’t Friday night on the gridiron.
The music and cheers hailed achievements in the field of academics as students and administrators celebrated one of their own — fifth grade math teacher Reggie White, Alabama’s 2022-2023 Teacher of the Year.
As this year’s Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE) award recipient, White received a year’s use of a new 2022 Chevrolet Traverse, courtesy of Alfa Insurance. He accepted the keys to the car from Alfa Insurance and Alabama Farmers Federation President Jimmy Parnell during a lively press conference May 20 at the school in downtown Birmingham.
“Teachers are so important. They educate students, but they also work to make sure our young people develop the skills they need to be well-rounded and well-informed adults,” Parnell said. “We appreciate Mr. White’s work over his more than 25-year career, and I’m very happy Alfa and the Federation can honor him with this car to use during his time as Teacher of the Year.”
A native of Choctaw County, White earned three degrees from Alabama State University in Montgomery. He changed his major from communications to education after participating in a summer mission trip to San Jose, California, where he helped children learn English.
White came to Birmingham immediately after earning his bachelor’s degree in 1996 to teach at Avondale Elementary School. He has spent his career in the Birmingham City School System and earned his National Board Certification in 2007.
“It blows my mind that Alfa would do something like this. If we had everyone in America supporting education the way Alfa has, then education around the world would really change,” White said. “I want you to know, I’m changing my insurance. Any organization that supports education like Alfa has, you have my vote.”
This is the 26th year Alfa has provided the year’s use of a car for the Teacher of the Year, with the Federation covering the cost of auto insurance. Alfa also offers discounts for educators.
As Teacher of the Year, White will serve as a spokesperson for ALSDE and is Alabama’s official candidate for the National Teacher of the Year award.
“The selection of Mr. Reggie White as Alabama’s 2022-2023 Teacher of the Year understandably brings a lot of pride and honor, not only to the educators in the Birmingham area, but across the state. We wish it were possible to acknowledge every teacher individually for their hard work and dedication to their students, parents and communities,” said Alabama Superintendent of Education Dr. Eric Mackey. “Mr. White’s successful tenure is a remarkable testament to the education profession. For the next year, he will serve as the statewide representative for all educators, but the impact he has made in the classroom will carry on for many years to come.”