By Mary Wilson
Oak Mountain Middle School students and staff added one more activity to their busy May schedules — celebrating teacher Jeffrey Norris as he received the year’s use of a car from Alfa Insurance and the Alabama Farmers Federation.
A sixth grade math teacher, Norris received a 2023 Chevrolet Traverse May 19 after a school assembly honoring his selection as Alabama’s 2023-2024 Teacher of the Year.
“As a math teacher, you would think I’d spend most of my day teaching math, but really, I spend the majority of my time helping students believe they can really do math,” Norris said. “Knowing they can tackle tough math problems helps them become more resilient in other parts of their lives. At the start of a new day, I know that’s the only time I get to live that day, so I try to make the most of it.”
Norris’ new ride received spirited approval from more than 100 students as they took turns testing the seats’ comfort level, exploring the spacious interior and investigating touchscreen navigation tools in the vehicle.
This marks the 27th year Alfa has provided a car for Alabama’s Teacher of the Year.
“We always enjoy recognizing our state’s top educator, and we appreciate everyone at Oak Mountain Middle School for helping make this happen during a busy time of year,” said Jimmy Parnell, president of Alfa and the Federation. “It’s great to see how excited these young people are about their teacher receiving this car, and we like getting to visit with people in the communities we serve through Alfa and the Federation.”
Alfa covers one year’s use of the vehicle, while the Federation pays for auto insurance coverage from the Alabama-based insurance company.
The Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE) administers the Teacher of the Year program. As this year’s winner, Norris will travel the state as a spokesperson for ALSDE. He’ll also serve as the state’s candidate for the National Teacher of the Year contest.
“We are incredibly grateful for the partnership we have with Alfa and the generous contributions made to the Teacher of the Year program,” said State Superintendent of Education Dr. Eric Mackey. “Through their continued support over the years, not only has Alfa made the role of the Alabama Teacher of the Year more convenient, but they have shown diligent commitment to excellence in teaching. Providing the Alabama Teacher of the Year with a comfortable and safe automobile to travel around the state is just one of the many ways in which Alfa exhibits its dedication to quality education.”