Zestlan Simmons can usually be found in her classroom at Booker T. Washington Magnet High School in Montgomery, teaching Advanced Placement English classes. But for the next year, Simmons will be traveling and speaking across the state in her role as 2018-2019 Alabama Teacher of the Year.
To make her travels easier and more comfortable, Alfa Insurance presented Simmons with a 2018 Chevrolet Traverse during a press conference today at the Alfa Insurance Child Care Center. The Alabama Farmers Federation covered the cost of auto insurance provided through Alfa.
“Alfa is a Montgomery-based company, and we’re excited for the Teacher of the Year to be from our own backyard,” said Alfa and Federation President Jimmy Parnell. “It’s a blessing to have dedicated teachers like Zestlan preparing our young people for what’s next in their lives. I hope the use of this car helps Zestlan achieve her goal of inspiring her peers to achieve even greater success in education.”
A Montgomery-native, Simmons said her desire to teach started early — in her kindergarten class at Resurrection Catholic School. She is a National Board Certified Teacher and a mentor to new teachers in Montgomery County Public Schools.
“This is truly a great honor, and I am thankful for this wonderful opportunity to represent our great state as the 2018-2019 Alabama Teacher of the Year,” Simmons said. “Students must have supportive learning environments and they must be encouraged to achieve at all levels – utilizing their local communities and digital learning opportunities to connect to the world.”
Simmons was named Teacher of the Year during a May 9 ceremony in downtown Montgomery hosted by the Alabama State Board of Education and the Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE). She is Alabama’s official candidate for the National Teacher of the Year award.
State Superintendent Eric Mackey said Simmons is inspirational, and he knows she will be an excellent representative for Alabama.
“We are proud of Alabama Teacher of the Year Zestlan Simmons and thankful for this long-standing partnership with Alfa Insurance and the Alabama Farmers Federation,” said Mackey. “We have incredible teachers in Alabama, and our students are truly fortunate to have dedicated, caring and inspiring educators like Ms. Simmons in their lives. The success of our students starts with highly skilled and supported teachers.”
This is the 22nd year Alfa and the Federation have partnered with ALSDE to present the Teacher of the Year with a year’s use of a car and insurance.