SUPER Teacher


SUPER Teachers aboard the USS Alabama


For over 25 years, AHF has partnered with archivists, scholars, higher education insitutions, and historic sites to deliver unique and engaging professional development experiences rooted in the humanities to teachers throughout Alabama through the SUPER (School and University Partners for Educational Renewal) Teacher Program.

This program provides graduate-level, content-rich, professional development of the highest quality to outstanding 4th-12th grade public and private school teachers, school librarians and administrators who wish to expand and deepen their knowledge of a particular subject or theme within the humanities.

SUPER is available to all Alabama educators teaching in grades 4-12 entirely free of charge. In its 25-year history, SUPER has served more than 4,000 teachers of the humanities, social sciences, and the arts reaching more than 500,000 students.


Spring 2018 SUPERs

2018 SUPER Teacher Workshops will each be one-day workshops to be held during the academic year. The Alabama Humanities Foundation pays for all associated workshop costs (park or site admission fees, food, meeting space, texts, etc.). AHF will also reimburse teachers and/or school systems up to $75 for the cost of a substitute.

From Mines and Mills to Autos and Aerospace: The Industrialization of the American South
Sloss Furnaces National Historic Landmark, Birmingham, AL
March 19, 8 a.m.-4 p.m.
Lead Scholar: Karen Utz (Curator/Historian, Sloss Furnaces National Historic Landmark)

James C. Cobb, noted southern labor historian stated, “one of the most persistent impulses in the life of the South since the Civil War has been the desire to develop an industrial economy. This urge inspired the trumpet call of such nineteenth-century New South advocates as Henry W. Grady, who, with a great deal of wishful thinking, wrote: “Surely, God has led the people of the South into this unexpected way of progress and prosperity….The industrial system of the South responds, grows, thrills with new life, and it is based on sure and certain foundations….[It] is built on a rock—and it cannot be shaken.”

The promotion of industrial growth has been a major concern of every southern state government since the end of Reconstruction in 1877. World War II gave a vigorous push toward industrialization—with the Office of War Production predicting that within a generation the South would come to represent “the vanguard of world industrial progress.”

This workshop will examine and analyze the social, economic, and political aspects of southern industry and labor from Reconstruction to the present (with emphasis on Alabama industry). It will acquaint teachers with the complexity of issues that surround the key areas of southern labor and industry including those of class, race, gender and ethnicity. The workshop will introduce teachers to unionization, life in mining and mill towns, immigrant labor, the impact of WWII, environment issues, the convict leasing system—and the impact of industrial expansion on southern life.

Teachers will be reimbursed for a substitute teacher.

Hail the Rail: Tracking Alabama’s Bicentennial History along Historic Rail Lines
The Tuscumbia Depot & Round House, Tuscumbia, Alabama
April 12, 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m.
Lead Scholar: Lorie Johnson (Assistant Professor of Elementary Education, University of North Alabama)

Celebrate Alabama’s bicentennial history through an inquiry model easy to replicate in your own classroom. During this one-day workshop, explore Alabama’s past along critical rail lines, examine the people, places and events that shaped our present, and engage in collaborative and independent writing activities to document, report, synthesize and process the sometimes torrid and yet always beautiful story of Alabama.

Teachers will be reimbursed for a substitute teacher.

New Views on the Spanish Conquest of Alabama and the Americas
University of Alabama
May 12
Lead Scholar: Larry Clayton (Professor Emeritus, History, University of Alabama)

While Hernando de Soto led the first major expedition into Alabama in 1540, he was opposed in this endeavor of conquest by the Spanish Dominican friar, Bartolomé de las Casas. Las Casas traveled over and lived in much of the early territories of the New World and in his work and writings was the most passionate and celebrated defender of American Indians. He was, in fact, what I have labeled an “anti-conquistador,” who reflected a powerful and deep commitment to Christian principles and teachings in the seminal sixteenth century. This workshop will open up some new, and important, views for teachers.

Teachers will be reimbursed for a substitute teacher.

Civil War in the American South
University of Mobile
June 18-22
Lead Scholar: Sean Patrick Adams (Associate Professor and Department Chair, History, University of Florida) and Lonnie Burnett (Dean, College of Arts and Sciences, and Professor, History, University of Mobile)

The American Civil War and Reconstruction radically reshaped the political, economic, and cultural fabric of southern states. Alabama, and the city of Montgomery, served as an early seat of Confederate government. The state remained a source of manpower and commanders. Florida, meanwhile, was the third state to secede from the Union. Florida became a central supply for beef and salt. The state’s expansive coastlines resulted in blockade runners that fought to shift material and men around the union’s blockade.

The Florida Humanities Council and the Alabama Humanities Foundation, with generous support from the HTR Foundation, are partnering to create a five-day workshop exploring the Civil War’s impact on Florida and Alabama. Educators from both states will experience an active combination of lectures and discussions with experts, and field excursions to relevant historical sites. Participants will tour Mobile’s Civil War architecture and examine manuscripts from the era; visit Pensacola’s antebellum sites, like Arcadia Mill; and explore Blakely State Park, site of the last major battle of the Civil War.

Goals of SUPER

The aim of SUPER is to increase participants’ subject knowledge and, in turn, their confidence, enthusiasm, and effectiveness as educators. The content in these programs directly addresses the Courses of Study as mandated by the Alabama State Department of Education. Upon completion of a SUPER program, participants receive a certificate documenting hours earned toward professional development for submission within their own districts. SUPER programs are registered with ALSDE STIPD.

Through SUPER, AHF seeks to foster long-lasting relationships between Alabama’s institutions of higher education, public and private elementary and secondary schools, and the state’s many important historical and cultural organizations.

Participant Benefits

Participants in SUPER are afforded a rare and invaluable opportunity to join their peers and distinguished university professors in an intensive exploration of curriculum-relevant topics through directed pre-program readings, lectures, extensive analytical and critical discussions, film viewings, writing exercises, field trips and cultural experiences.

SUPER also provides a forum in which educators can interact, exchange ideas, gain fresh perspectives and learn new approaches to teaching. Participants develop a multidisciplinary approach to the humanities and enjoy many significant benefits all at no cost to them or their schools.

Who is eligible?

All 4th-12th grade teachers currently teaching in Alabama public and accredited private schools are eligible. School librarians and pre-service teachers will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

The successful applicant will demonstrate a professional commitment to learning and teaching, a genuine interest in the program content, and the ability to communicate effectively. Applications will be judged on a competitive basis for both merit and potential benefit to students.


“I constantly receive letters of thanks to the Commission on Higher Education for the financial support given to the program. Recently, a new teacher wrote me saying that the resources she gained from SUPER are invaluable and that she has learned such a program for teachers is rare.

Indeed it is a rare jewel in Alabama’s educational system that brings together elementary, secondary and postsecondary teachers and university faculty all wanting to learn more to expand their knowledge and, therefore, their effectiveness in the classroom.” – Gregory G. Fitch, executive director of the Alabama Commission on Higher Education,

“As a 5th year special education teacher, I have attended numerous summer workshops. However, I sincerely believe that the Prisms of Place was, by far, the most influential and phenomenal workshop that I had the pleasure of attending. It was well organized, planned, executed and applicable to the secondary interdisciplinary curriculum.

In addition, all of the scholars who were selected to participate in the institute shared very valuable information that could be passed on to other educators, community leaders, parents and students in the Black Belt region.”Robbi Flowers, Special Education, Dadeville High School

“I’ve shared my books and information with so many people. You just can’t imagine the places that an opportunity presents itself to talk about these things.” – Ginger Dunn, Department of Youth Services

“I am so grateful to the Alabama Humanities Foundation for choosing the most effective people to lead these wonderful workshops as well as facilitating the multitude of details necessary to provide such worthwhile educational opportunities for Alabama teachers. Many elements of this seminar will be used in our various classrooms. Our lively discussions, presenting scholars included, revitalized and renewed us.”Karen Wilksman, Huntsville High School and Calhoun Community College

How is the SUPER program funded?

SUPER is a program of the AHF and as such receives financial support from diverse sources, including the National Endowment for the Humanities, individuals, and private and public corporations and foundations. Major financial support for SUPER comes from:

2017 Funders 

The Daniel Foundation of Alabama

Susan Mott Webb Charitable Trust

Poarch Band of Creek Indians

Vulcan Materials Foundation

State of Alabama (ACHE Fund)