Samford University Orlean Beeson School of Education alumna Meghan Allen has been named Alabama Elementary Teacher of the Year and Alternate Alabama Teacher of the Year.
Allen is a 2009 graduate of Samford’s Early Childhood, Special Education, Elementary, Elementary Collaborative (ESEC) program. Through the program, Allen is certified to teach early childhood and elementary education students as well as early childhood and elementary special education students.
Allen is the exceptional education teacher at Minor Community School in suburban Birmingham. She has taught special education for nine years and became a National Board Certified Teacher in 2013.
“She is a committed teacher who believes in the importance of educating all students,” said Mandy Hilsmier, professor and M.S.E. in Collaborative Special Education program director. “Her commitment to providing the best education possible to students with disabilities is an inspiration.”
Allen also serves as a cooperating teacher for current Samford teacher education students. “She is not only a great teacher, but a great mentor,” said Hilsmier. “Her passion for teaching transfers to the Samford students in her classroom and she teaches them alongside the students in her room.”
Students in Allen’s classroom experience a strong functional curriculum. This affords them opportunities like going to restaurants, doctor’s offices or the local swimming pool to learn how to swim. “Often, we do not see how children who are differently abled are learning,” said Allen. “I consider it a great privilege to champion the great things that are happening in special education and the learning that is taking place.”
Allen says she owes a great deal of gratitude to Samford's education school. “From early on, my professors believed in me more than I believed in myself, and their confidence bolstered mine,” said Allen. “They continue to be some of my greatest mentors.”
Among Samford professors, Allen is known for her ability to exude servant leadership in the school setting. They describe her as incredibly committed to the work that she does. They believe she fulfills her calling daily through her relationships with her students, their families, and her school.
Allen says one of her greatest hopes is that she can encourage teachers and future teachers to have high expectations for all students, especially those who have disabilities. “I hope to inspire them to remove barriers and value inclusion.”