Trace Crossings Elementary teacher Minnette R. Wiggins has been named Alabama’s 2015-2016 Elementary Teacher of the Year. She will serve as the alternate for Alabama's Teacher of the Year for 2015-2016.
One of four finalists selected out of 16 semifinalists, Wiggins placed second behind Vestavia Hills High School teacher Jennifer Brown, who was selected as Alabama 2015-2016 State Teacher of the Year.
Both awards were announced Wednesday, May 13, during a two-hour ceremony hosted by the Alabama State Board of Education and the Alabama State Department of Education at the RSA Plaza Terrace in Montgomery.
Finalists emerged from more than 130 educators across the state who submitted applications for the Alabama Teacher of the Year Program. Applicants submitted packets outlining education history, professional biographies, community involvement and philosophies of teaching.
Minnette Wiggins acceptance speech
Trace Crossings teacher Minnette Wiggins was named the 2015-16 Alabama Elementary Teacher of the Year at an awards ceremony in Montgomery on May 13. Video by Dan Starnes.
Wiggins has been a teacher for 33 years, and joined the Hoover school system in 2001. She spent 12 years teaching at Rocky Ridge Elementary before transferring to Trace Crossings to teach first grade two years ago.
Wiggins said she was humbled to win Alternate Teacher of the Year, and was proud to represent Trace Crossings.
“For parents to trust me with the privilege of teaching their children is quite an honor,” Wiggins said. “I get to see the world through the eyes of a 7-year-old and it’s quite a happy world to see.”
Carol Barber, principal at Trace Crossings Elementary, said Wiggins has been an inspiration to other teachers at the school with her ability to inspire her students.
“Minnette is absolutely amazing,” Bonner said. “She does so much for her students. She is a great advocate for our school. We think the world of her.”
Wiggins said she has taught in many schools over the past three decades, and that Trace Crossings ranks among the best. Her greatest joy, she said, is being able to mold and shape the minds of future leaders.
“My successes are when a child is excited about something he has learned, when she has an ‘ah-ha’ moment, when he achieves a goal, and when academics makes a difference to the individual life of a child," Wiggins said. "My students inspire me daily to be the best teacher I can be, and they deserve nothing less. I am so very proud to be a small part of the teaching world.”
Derrick Murphy, who this week was voted by his peers as president of the Hoover Board of Education effective June 1, said Wiggins has been a great representative for the city school system.
"We are very proud to have such a dynamic educator as Mrs. Minnette Wiggins developing our children," Murphy said. "I believe I can speak for the entire district in saying that she is still our champion."
Wiggins made her decision to pursue teaching as a career after serving as a camp counselor at a church camp. She said being a finalist for state teacher of the year has been the highlight of her career because of the connections she has made, and relishes the opportunity to promote the teaching profession.
“Teachers who I worked with 20 years ago have reached out to me,” Wiggins said. “That has been a thrill.”
Here is a link to previous coverage of Wiggins in the Hoover Sun: