COLUMBUS - Mona Al-Hayani, a history teacher at Toledo Early College, is the 2019 Teacher of the Year for State Board of Education District 2 - and is one of four finalists in the running for Ohio Teacher of the Year.

Known as 'Ms. Al' by her students, the educator encourages her students to practice civic responsibility that brings about social change and understanding.

“Teachers are at the forefront of Ohio’s charge to create bright, exciting futures for our students,” said Paolo DeMaria, Ohio’s superintendent of public instruction, in a release announcing the district winners. “The Ohio Teacher of the Year program recognizes inspiring educators who elevate our public education system and ensure real world success for our students.”

The Ohio Department of Education invited school districts in State Board District 2 to nominate teachers for the regional award. Chuck Froehlich, State Board District 2 representative, worked with a committee of educators, parents and business leaders to select Ms. Al-Hayani.

“History teacher Mona Al-Hayani creates instructional space where historical learning is used to generate curiosity, interest and enthusiasm,” Froehlich said. “She links her teaching and her outstanding work to prevent human trafficking to create an environment where all students can achieve success.”

Dr. Romules Durant, CEO/Superintendent of Toledo Public Schools, said, “Mona is a two-time U.S. Department of Education Fulbright-Hays Award recipient and curriculum writer for the Korean War Legacy Foundation. She is a dedicated history teacher who also is a passionate advocate on behalf of human trafficking victims, contributing to statewide attention to the issue.”

A former student also weighed in on the teacher’s strengths.

“Ms. Al-Hayani helps her students progress academically but also helps them become better people,” said Valentin Ornelas, Jr., a 2018 graduate of Toledo Early College. “The love she has for her students and her students have for
her are what all good teachers should strive for. She has personally helped me find my own talents, become a free thinker and get on the right track for my future.”

Later this month, Ms. Al-Hayani will travel to Columbus to be interviewed by a panel of education and community stakeholders who will select the 2019 Ohio Teacher of the Year. The results will be announced in September and the educator who is chosen will represent Ohio in the National Teacher of the Year selection sponsored by the Council of Chief State School Officers.