Education First Credit Union is excited to announce its donation of $1,500 to Mona Al-Hayani, the Ohio Department of Education’s 2019 Teacher of the Year.
The Ohio Teacher of the Year title is annually awarded to a noteworthy teacher in the state of Ohio, celebrating their exceptional work. This year’s winner, Mona Al-Hayani, teaches history at Toledo Early College High School. Known as “Ms. Al,” by her students, Mona also advises Young Women for Change, a student-led group of about 60 girls that strives to help prevent and promote awareness of human trafficking.
“We also teach the girls about nutrient, social media safety and how to manage stress,” says Al-Hayani.
Al-Hayani says she plans to use the donation from Education First to help fund transportation for the girls of Young Women for Change to take them to Columbus in February for Human Trafficking Awareness Day, where they will be presenting at the Ohio Statehouse.
“Mona is, by her actions, what really inspires our youth to seeking careers in areas that can change the world. She is a great teacher and is truly committed to her students and leading them to seek change to injustice and prepared them for an often-imperfect world, says Education First CEO Mike Wettrich. “Our support furthers her passion to stop human trafficking and show young minds that you can make a difference.”
Al-Hayani is also the Vice President of the Toledo Federation of Teachers and serves as the Federation’s Director of Human Trafficking and Social Justice Issues. She is responsible for training all district employees about anti-human trafficking and is currently working to develop a curriculum for teachers.
A native of Toledo, Al-Hayani attended Toledo Public Schools herself, before earning two degrees from the University of Toledo. She has spent her entire 24-year teaching career in Toledo Public Schools.
“I really believe in Toledo’s schools and our students here,” says Al-Hayani. “The kids at [Early College] are taking college classes and they work incredibly hard. Most of our students graduate with 60 or more college credits and go on to graduate from college.”
Established 14 years ago with a grant from Bill Gates, Toledo Early College is a highly rated, public, magnet school that serves under represented populations, such as minority students, English language learners and those living in poverty. Students regularly perform well above average on state tests and rankings, thanks in part to great teachers like Al-Hayani.
“It’s hard to be a teacher these days,” says Al-Hayani, “I say that after having taught for over 24 years. It can be especially difficult for urban teachers. There are unique challenges that we face daily, but the kids are hope and if they can persevere then we teachers certainly can as well.”