The Brown family: Dawson, from left, Kate, Caden, Kristen, Tom, Dawson Jr. and Allie. Kristen Brown is a finalist for Alabama Teacher of the Year. CONTRIBUTED

Kristen Brown named finalist for Alabama Teacher of the Year

MADISON – Kristen Brown, a science teacher at Liberty Middle School, is a finalist for “Alabama Teacher of The Year.”

Brown is among the 2024-2025 “Sweet 16” finalists for the honor, which the Alabama State Department of Education coordinates. A panel of accomplished educators selected the finalists.

The other nominee for the State Board of Education’s District 8 is Shannon Williamson at Blossomwood Elementary School in Huntsville.

The state board will reduce the 16 finalists to the ‘Final Four’ and announce the winner in May.

“I am humbled and honored to have been nominated for the State Teacher of the Year award and to represent Madison City Schools and District 8,” Brown said. “None of this would have been possible without the collaboration and support of everyone involved.”

“Together, we’ve made a meaningful impact on the lives of our students, and, for that, I’m truly grateful,” Brown said.

“I’m deeply grateful for the unwavering support and encouragement I’ve received throughout my journey. First and foremost, I want to thank my husband, Dawson Brown, whose belief in me has been pivotal throughout this process, and our children, who have shown such compassion and understanding, always willing to help out in any way they can,” Brown said.

Brown also acknowledged her mentor, Sharon Holcombe, “who has guided me since day one of my teaching career. I appreciate my administration and colleagues who helped bring my ideas to life through their support and volunteering, as well as the community and business sponsorships that support programs like ACES.”

Brown launched ACES for short-term academic support to struggling students. “Students regain momentum in their studies and develop effective strategies for assignment management,” she said. “ACES has evolved into a fully-funded initiative.”

Her most important acknowledgement is to students, parents and guardians who entrusted Brown with their stories and children’s education. “Each student has a unique story and purpose, and together, we’re making a difference,” Brown said.

At Bevill State Community College, Brown earned Licensed Practical Nursing Certification. At Jacksonville State University, she received a bachelor’s degree in science. Brown completed a master’s degree in secondary science from Alabama A&M University.

At Liberty, Brown teaches seventh-grade life science and two science electives — Environmental Explorations and a Career and Technical Education course, Energy and Environment. She is a National Board Certified Teacher.

For middle-school teachers, Brown currently is writing an instructional textbook for scientific literacy using Greek and Latin roots. She plans to make it free to everyone.

An avid indoor gardener, Brown noticed ‘green walls’ while traveling and then built one with repurposed materials for her classroom and added another section of succulents. “As the plants grow, my students propagate those plants and then take them home to grow,” she said.

Her school lab is full of vegetables, herbs, fruits and wildflowers that her students have grown from seeds and will carry home to enjoy during summer. “There’s no pressure or grades attached; it’s just something we do for fun,” Brown said.

Kristen’s husband, Dawson, works as an accountant. Their older daughter, Allie, is majoring in mechanical engineering with a minor in mathematics at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. Kate, Caden, Tom and Dawson Jr. attend Midtown Elementary School.

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