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Leah Faris, recipient of the 2020 Yale Educator Award, is shown with her children, Jack and Lily Cate. CONTRIBUTED

Faris receives 2020 Yale Educator Award

MADISON – The recommendation of a former student led to a prestigious honor for Leah Faris at Bob Jones High School.

During her junior year at Bob Jones, Nayeli Gonzalez-Vazquez was a student in Faris’ advanced-placement U.S. history class. “Nayeli was an amazing student and such a hard worker,” Faris said.

Nayeli enrolled at Yale University and eventually took advantage of a university policy to nominate Faris for the 2020 Yale Educator Award. The Yale Educator Recognition Program congratulates outstanding educators from around the world who have supported and inspired their students to achieve at high levels.

“My reaction? I was surprised to say the least! It’s not every day that teachers receive this type of recognition, especially from Yale,” Faris said. “I knew it was the result of a former student and that is very humbling to know that Nayeli thought of me for such an honor.”

“Even during Nayeli’s senior year, she would be in my room before school to chat or eat breakfast. I already miss our morning conversations,” Faris said. “I truly appreciate her thoughtfulness and nomination. I wish her much success at Yale and beyond. “

The Yale Office of Undergraduate Admissions recognizes educators with the Yale Educator Award. This office invites students to nominate high school educators, and a committee of Yale admissions officers reviews the nominations individually and designates recipients.

Faris also teaches advanced-placement human geography at Bob Jones.

She attended Oxford High School and received a bachelor’s degree from Jacksonville State University with a major in history and minor in English and general science. Faris earned a master’s degree in history from the University of Alabama in Huntsville.

In 2008, Faris achieved the status of National Board Certified Teacher. Currently, she is a member of American Historical Society, Southern Historical Society and the National Council for Geographic Education.

She and her husband live in Madison with their children, Jack and Lily Cate, who attend Discovery Middle School and Madison Elementary School, respectively. “We have three cats and a crazy golden retriever. I love reading, traveling, physical fitness and genealogy research,” Leah Faris said.

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