Jane G. Stonbraker, BSEd, MS, is a retired educator and adviser celebrating her success in teaching at both the K-12 and community college levels. Ms. Stonbraker spent more than 30 years teaching biological sciences, including botany, microbiology, general anatomy and physiology, to students across Alabama. Innately curious and fascinated by nature, particularly the mushrooms and other fungi around her, she was inspired to pursue a career in science by her father, a school principal and teacher, and by her grandparents, who owned a farm. She studied at Northwest State Junior College and Jacksonville State University before earning her Bachelor of Science in education at the Mississippi State University for Women. At the age of 23, Ms. Stonbraker completed her Master of Science in biological sciences.
Shortly after completing graduate school, Ms. Stonbraker was offered a position with the Tennessee Valley Authority’s fisheries department, an active outdoor role involving managing and counting local fish and wildlife populations. While excited about the position’s potential to utilize her skills and allow her to work in nature, as the parent of a young child, she was unable to leave her family for the long periods of time required by fieldwork. During her time at Mississippi State University for Women, Ms. Stonbraker had worked as a graduate-level teaching assistant and had previously explored the possibility of teaching due to her father’s early influence on her. After being unable to pursue fieldwork, she returned to academia for its relative flexibility and the opportunities it afforded her to find childcare or bring her daughter to class with her.
Ms. Stonbraker began her teaching career as an instructor at Campbell University and taught throughout the state of Alabama for the next 18 years. In 1999, she accepted a professorship at Northwest-Shoals Community College, following in her father’s footsteps, where she would remain until her retirement. In 2019, she was named the school’s academic advising coordinator. Throughout her career, Ms. Stonbraker taught in rural and underserved areas, and she considers the highlight of her career to be the impact that she was able to have on her former students and their desire to pursue their dreams. Among her greatest successes were a former student who is currently nearing retirement after finding long-term success working for the Tennessee Valley Authority, and others whose careers in natural sciences allowed them the chance to travel, change industries, and explore other intersecting passions.
Continuing her family legacy of careers in science and education, Ms. Stonbraker is proud to have supported her daughter in becoming a teacher and her son in becoming a civil engineer specializing in wastewater management and treatment. As a part of her commitment to excellence and growth, she is a member of the National Educators Association and has served as president of her local college association. Ms. Stonbraker has worked on special projects for 10 Chromosomes and other organizations and has received accolades throughout her career for her dedication and professionalism.
Outside her work in academia, Ms. Stonbraker is highly active in her faith community. She has trained and taught educational programming for three churches and serves as treasurer and worship chairman at her church. In addition, she has been recognized for her work on behalf of a Christian publication and served as district lay leader. Ms. Stonbraker looks forward to continuing to serve her community in many capacities in the future.