Mrs. Suzanne Culbreth of Spain Park School in Hoover was selected as 2012 Alabama Teacher of the Year at a ceremony held in Montgomery on May 9th. The Alabama Scottish Rite Foundation supports this program by awarding $1,000 to the winner of this state-wide competition. The Teacher of the Year spends the ensuing year traveling the state as an ambassador and adviser for effective educational practices and outcomes. Our contribution helps offset some of those travel costs.
The following is a report given by Ill. Ronald L. Thomas 33° (pictured above), Foundation Vice President:
This year's presentation was somewhat different from other years, in that sponsors present were given the opportunity to address the audience. In my brief remarks I said that probably every teacher in Alabama was by now aware of the Scottish Rite, and there were heads nodding all over the room. When I stressed that we support public education, there was a general murmur of approval and agreement from everyone, and an enthusiastic "Amen" from one of the state board of education members present. Dr. Bice, state superintendent of education, introduced the Scottish Rite last, saying he was saving it for that honored position because the Alabama Scottish Rite Foundation is the longest continuous supporter of the state's Teacher of the Year program. It was by far the most prominent and appreciative reception I have experienced in this sort of activity, and is, I believe, largely due to our providing for Dr. Gibbs to work with teachers all over the state to improve the teaching of reading to those who struggle with it. Among the state's education community, we (and by extension, all Masons) are now well-known, trusted, and appreciated. It is hard to ask for more than that.
Ill. Bro. Jerry Burfitt represented the Foundation at a similar activity last night at Jacksonville State University, where we support the Alabama Teacher Hall of Fame recognition program. Our contribution there is minimal, however, being limited to a certificate and a $50 savings bond to each of the 3 annual inductees. We could and ought to do better, I think.