UAB alumna named Alabama Teacher of the Year

Veteran educator Dana Jacobson will serve as the state’s ambassador for public education and teaching for the 2016-2017 school year. Eleven out of the last 16 Alabama Teacher of the Year awardees are graduates of the UAB School of Education.

Written by: Tiffany Westry

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dana jacobsonDana Jacobson, an English teacher at Clay-Chalkville High School, has been named the 2016-2017 Alabama Teacher of the Year. Jacobson earned a Master of Education degree in English language arts from the UAB School of Education in 1998.

Since the year 2000, eleven of Alabama’s Teacher of the Year winners have obtained a bachelor’s or master’s degree from the UAB School of Education.

A veteran educator of the Jefferson County School System, Jacobson has taught at Clay-Chalkville since 1999. She draws inspiration from teaching high school students and values working with teachers in training. As Alabama’s Teacher of the Year, she hopes to motivate more people to enter the field of education.

“Teachers are visionaries who see that light at the end of the tunnel and find ways to help students get to that light,” Jacobson said. “There’s nothing better than to see a student growing, and there’s no job to me more important than teaching because we pave the way for all sorts of possibilities for students.”

Each year, the Alabama State Department of Education calls for nominations at the local, district and state levels to honor and recognize excellence in the teaching profession. Jacobson was selected from a total nomination pool of more than 140 educators.

“Dana Jacobson exemplifies the ability of an educator to shape and change lives,” said Interim State Superintendent of Education Philip Cleveland. “She strives to connect with and engage each individual student who enters her classroom and, as such, has been able to provide meaningful, quality learning to tomorrow’s leaders.”

In addition to English, Jacobson teaches ACT prep, debate, speech, creative writing and history of film, among other subjects. She designs classroom activities so students can make connections, and she strives to model the characteristics she believes the world requires: an interest in learning and people; a validation of others, not just tolerance; a desire to solve problems; and a strong work ethic.

As Alabama’s Teacher of the Year, Jacobson will spend the majority of the next year representing the state as an ambassador for education. She will speak to civic and professional organizations, K-12 schools, colleges, and universities and will conduct workshops for teachers. In addition, Jacobson will also serve as Alabama’s nominee for National Teacher of the Year.