Suzanne Culbreth

2012-13 Alabama Teacher of the Year
Spain Park High School
Hoover Schools

"It's been 29 years in the making, and I want to be an advocate for classroom teachers and what they do for the state of Alabama's education," she said. "There's so many great things going on right now in classrooms across this state and that's what people need to know about."

A graduate of Auburn University with a master's degree from the University of Montevallo, Culbreth has spent the last four years of her career teaching eighth and ninth grade advanced placement geometry and math at Spain Park.

Her teaching philosophy, she said, consists of hands-on learning with a discovery approach and the use of a lot of technology.

According to Culbreth, she avoids handing her students formulas or problems to work, but rather creates activities from which they can learn, from going outside to calculate the length of a shadow to determine the height of a light pole, to figuring the Statue of Liberty's nose size from the students' own nose lengths.

"It's the process more than the result, encouraging an excitement and love of learning," Culbreth said. "They won't remember the formula for the volume of a platonic solid but will remember what steps took them to the discovery."


The state Teacher of the Year Program recognizes and honors the many contributions of our classroom teachers. Alabama's Teacher of the Year Program is one of the oldest and most prestigious award programs for teachers. The program is affiliated with the National Teacher of the Year Program. The National Teacher of the Year Program, presented by the ING Foundation, is a project of the Council of Chief State School Officers and sponsored by Scholastic Inc. Each year, Alabama's Teacher of the Year is a candidate for the National Teacher of the Year.

To nominate a teacher or to find out more please visit the State of Alabama Department of Education website.

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