Kentucky Education News
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IN THIS ISSUE:
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Karen Gill, a science teacher at Henry Clay High School in Fayette County, has been named 2009 Kentucky Teacher of the Year.
Lisa Wathen, a teacher at Freedom Elementary School in the Bullitt County school district, was named 2009 Elementary School Teacher of the Year, and Willow Hambrick, a language arts teacher at Royal Spring Middle School in Scott County, was named 2009 Middle School Teacher of the Year.
The three joined 21 other teachers from across the state honored with 2009 Ashland Inc. Teacher Achievement Awards. Wathen and Hambrick received $3,000 each and a customized, art-glass vase from Ashland Inc., while Gill received $10,000 and a commemorative crystal-glass bowl. In addition, the Department of Education will provide a sabbatical or suitable alternative for Gill, who also will represent the state in the 2009 National Teacher of the Year competition. The remaining 21 winners each received $500 cash awards. All 24 teachers received framed certificates and all were further recognized at a luncheon following the ceremony.
KAREN V. GILL
Karen Gill has taught for 18 years, 16 of those at Henry Clay High School, where she currently teaches physics and other science courses. Gill earned two bachelorÕs degrees at Transylvania University, Lexington; a masterÕs degree at the University of Kentucky and Rank 1 certification at Georgetown College. Gill is a Physics Teacher Research Agent, National Board Certification candidate mentor, chairperson of the Henry Clay Pathways Committee and a presenter at Modeling Instruction Program workshops. She is the recipient of various honors, including an Engaging Kids to Learn grant, a Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching, an Ashland Teacher Achievement Award and two Fayette County Merit of Excellence awards. Her professional affiliations are the Modeling Instruction Group, North Central Kentucky Physics Alliance and the American Association of Physics Teachers.
Willow Hambrick has taught for 11 years, teaching language arts and writing courses at Royal Spring Middle School for the last two years. Hambrick earned a bachelorÕs degree at Hanover College in Indiana; a masterÕs degree at Spalding University, Louisville; and more than 15 graduate hours at the University of Louisville. She has led writing seminars and cluster leader portfolio training for her school and mentored new language arts teachers. Hambrick sponsors the schoolÕs literary magazine and writerÕs club, and she serves as a presenter, guest speaker and lecturer for a range of education forums. She ranked among ŅTeachers Who Make a DifferenceÓ by LexingtonÕs First Baptist Church Bracktown and among ŅTeachers Who Go the Extra MileÓ by her school. HambrickÕs professional affiliations include the American Academy of Poets and the National Council of Teachers of English.
LISA MICHELLE WATHEN
Lisa Wathen is beginning her fifth year of teaching at Freedom Elementary, where she teaches 3rd- and 4th-grade students. Wathen earned a bachelorÕs degree at the University of Kentucky; a masterÕs degree at the University of Louisville; and Rank 1 certification at Indiana Wesleyan. She serves on the School-Based Decision Making Council and has represented her school on the Faculty Senate, County Wide Math Network, Curriculum & Instructional Practices, Comprehensive School Improvement Plan and District Curriculum Map Development committees. Wathen received University of Louisville Outstanding Teacher, two Freedom Elementary Teacher of the Year, Campbellsville University Excellence in Teaching and Bullitt County Elementary Teacher of the Year awards. Her professional affiliations include the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, National Science Teachers Association, Kentucky Association of School Councils and the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.
Nine outstanding teachers from around the state Š three elementary school teachers, three middle school teachers and three high school teachers Š had been named semifinalists for the Kentucky Teacher of the Year award.
Competing for Elementary Teacher of the Year were:
į Lisa Wathen, Freedom Elementary, Bullitt County
į Jan Vaughn Horn, Shearer Elementary, Clark County
į Barbra Ledford, Harlan Elementary, Harlan Independent
Middle school semifinalists were:
į Melissa Singleton, Rockcastle County Middle, Rockcastle County
į Willow Hambrick, Royal Spring Middle, Scott County
į Thom Coffee, Shelby West Middle, Shelby County
In the high school category, the semifinalists were:
į Angela Gunter, Daviess County High, Daviess County
į Karen Gill, Henry Clay High, Fayette County
į Millie Blandford, Washington County High, Washington County
Laura McGrail, lead school psychologist for the Henderson County school district, is the recipient of the fifth annual Dr. Samuel Robinson Award.
To honor retiring board member Samuel Robinson and to celebrate the Brown vs. Board of Education decision of 1954, the Kentucky Board of Education established the Dr. Samuel Robinson Award in 2004. The annual award is conferred on an individual or organization in Kentucky for demonstrating outstanding commitment, service and leadership in promoting opportunities to learn at high levels for all Kentucky students.McGrail has served as school psychologist for more than 20 years. She created the districtÕs Autism Consultation Team, helped develop a high school Work Transition Program and served as a liaison between the school district and local physicians.
McGrail also is a founding member of the West Kentucky Chapter of the Autism Society of America and of the Henderson County ChildrenÕs Advocacy Center.
Bonnie Kitchens, Henderson County director of special education, nominated McGrail, saying, ŅLaura has proven herself to be an outstanding leader with a desire and passion for equity and opportunity in education.
Rob Carroll, principal of South Heights Elementary in Henderson County, said, "I have worked with Laura for 16 years, and I have found her to put students first in every decision that she has been a part of over that time period."