Three Alabama teachers awarded national honors - WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL

Three Alabama teachers awarded national honors

From: The State Department of Education;

This is a special time for the Alabama State Department of Education – three Alabama Career and Technical Education (CTE) teachers were awarded prestigious national awards this month. Each of these top educators earned these awards for their continued dedication to educational excellence.

Steve Ballard – Alabama's Nationally Recognized Engineering Teacher

Last week, Montgomery County Engineering Teacher Steve Ballard was named the 2014 recipient of the International Technology and Engineering Education Association (ITEEA) Program of Excellence Award. One of the top national honors awarded to technology teachers each year, it recognizes outstanding contributions to the engineering profession.

Ballard teaches at Montgomery County's Brewbaker Technology Magnet High School. His engineering program is a four-year sequence of courses, which, when combined with traditional mathematics and science courses, introduces students to the scope, rigor, and discipline of engineering.

This program allows students to make informed choices about engineering careers prior to entering college-level engineering study. It provides them with a real advantage over other students who will be taking engineering courses for the first time in college.

Ballard's students utilize computer skills and software to design products and also solve technology-related problems as they explore different areas of engineering. 

Brianna Morton – Alabama's Nationally Recognized Family and Consumer Sciences Teacher

Earlier this month, the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) announced that Jefferson County Family and Consumer Sciences (FACS) Teacher Brianna Morton was selected as a finalist for the National Outstanding New Career and Technical Teacher Award. She is now one of only five finalists selected to compete for the 2014 national title.

Morton is currently the Region II ACTE Outstanding New Career and Technical Teacher. States and U.S. territories that are a part of ACTE's region II area are the Bahamas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and Alabama.

The national winner will be announced during ACTE's VISION 2013 conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, on December 4.

Inspired to help students growing up in rural areas – like the community she came from – Morton left a successful career in apparel merchandising to become a teacher. To ensure her students are both college- and career-ready, she has made it her mission to incorporate more technology into local classrooms. She has worked hard, and has acquired over $15,000 in classroom grants to make this possible.

Morton's students are proficient in Moodle, Edmond, and E-pals, and have created their own wikis, websites, blogs, and educational podcasts. Her students' favorite school project has been creating a business, which uses recycled materials to provide contributions to help local community charities.

Felicia Williams – Alabama's Nationally Recognized FACS Teacher – Community Service

Alexander City Family and Consumer Sciences (FACS) Teacher Felicia Williams was named the ACTE Region II Outstanding Teacher in Community Service. 

Williams, who teaches at Horseshoe Bend High School, is one of five selected finalists vying for the national title of 2014 Outstanding Teacher in Community Service. This award recognizes educators who provide significant contributions to helping students prepare for a lifetime of success. This year's national winner will be announced in Nevada during ACTE VISION 2013.

As a classroom teacher and Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) advisor, Williams has brought positive attention to her school system through award-winning service projects.

One of her students' most successful projects started as an anti-bullying presentation for second graders, featuring puppets, activities, and games. This project's primary focus was to provide younger students with the skills needed to cope with bullying situations.

Inspired by the project's overall success, Williams and her students expanded it to help fifth- and sixth-grade students too. They created a video that discusses the different types of bullying. The project went on to receive state recognition and a national award.

In addition to the anti-bullying project, Williams' students have organized a Pink Fashion Show to raise money for charities, and also have helped to collect emergency supplies for tornado-hit schools.

To learn more about the other educational opportunities offered by Alabama's CTE programs, contact Alabama State Department of Education Information Specialist Ed Crenshaw, at (334) 353-5220.

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