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Ohio Department of Education Press Releases

Toledo Public Schools’ Mona Al-Hayani Named 2019 Ohio Teacher of the Year

Release date: 9/26/2018

Her passion to nurture and expand the minds and hearts of students helped Mona Al-Hayani become a standout teacher at Toledo Early College High School — and now, she’s earned the title of Ohio’s 2019 Teacher of the Year. In an assembly today, State Superintendent Paolo DeMaria announced the award and surprised Toledo Early College High School students and staff.

“Mona challenges, prepares and empowers her students to become engaged and active members of society — and our cities, our state and our nation are better for it,” said Superintendent DeMaria. “I love the Ohio Teacher of the Year program because it recognizes exceptional teachers like Mona and emphasizes that Ohio is lucky to have so many talented individuals who work hard each day to support our students in their acquisition of knowledge and skills.”

Known by her students as “Ms. Al,” Al-Hayani not only teaches history, but she also advises the National Honor Society and Young Women for Change, a student-led group at her school. A two-time U.S. Department of Education Fulbright-Hays awardee, Al-Hayani traveled around the globe as a teacher leader and researcher.

As the daughter of parents from Iraq and Lebanon, Al-Hayani believes that being an active participant in the democratic process is a responsibility; one that ensures equal rights and an informed citizenry.

Dr. Romules Durant, Superintendent for Toledo Public  Schools respects the work that Ms. Al-Hayani has done to educate teachers about human trafficking. “Her training focuses on teaching school practitioners about human trafficking, while the curriculum focuses on the risk factors and teaches youth about human trafficking awareness, social media safety and positive body and mental image,” Durant explained. “Ms. Al-Hayani has trained more than 10,000 individuals on this important topic - a topic that is very relevant in today’s world. She is to be commended for her dedication,” Durant said.

In August, Al-Hayani received the State Board District 2 Teacher of the Year award. She will represent Ohio in the 2019 National Teacher of the Year selection sponsored by the Council of Chief State School Officers.

A native of Toledo, she earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology and a master’s degree in secondary education from the University of Toledo. She also earned her National Board for Professional Teaching Standards certification.

Editor’s Note: A photo of Al-Hayani can be downloaded here. More information about the Ohio Teacher of the Year program can be found by clicking here.