Tiger Take-Off




Caldwell tells educators, ‘You are shaping lives’ at Campbellsville University’s 38th Excellence in Teaching Award Program

Dr. Rhonda Caldwell, executive director of the Kentucky Association of School Administrators, told the Excellence in Teaching award recipients that they are shaping lives and future generations.
Photo/Gerard Flanagan

By Gerard Flanagan, lead writer and communications specialist, Office of Marketing and Communications

CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. – Dr. Rhonda Caldwell remembers what she considers to be her most profound learning experience, which happened on the campus of Campbellsville University while she was a graduate student earning her Master of Business Administration degree.

In an entrepreneurship class, she and two fellow classmates were tasked with creating a business plan for a digital camera company.

As Caldwell spoke at Campbellsville University’s 38th annual Excellence in Teaching Award Program on Saturday, May 11, she said, “The realization for me was that the education my grandchildren would have was something I could not even imagine.

She added, “Education isn’t always about facts. It’s about the ideas and the new learning that we create that propels us to be those industry champions.”

Caldwell serves as executive director of the Kentucky Association of School Administrators.

The Excellence in Teaching Award program recognized 225 educators from 77 school districts across the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

Caldwell told the story of when her family traveled from Pineville, Ky., to Indianapolis, Ind. Shortly after beginning the journey, the family encountered heavy rain. Emergency personnel advised Caldwell’s father, who was driving, to turn around, but he decided to drive on, and the family’s car eventually became stalled in the water.

Taylor County School educators are recognized at the 38th Excellence in Teaching Award Program. Award recipients are Sarah Lockard, third from left (Taylor County Intermediate School); Holly Johnson, fourth from left (Taylor County Middle School); and Carlotta Johns, third from right (Taylor County High School). Joining them were Christina Bishop, far left, principal of Taylor County Middle School; Jennifer Fitzpatrick, second from left, principal of Taylor County Intermediate School; Sara Tucker, second from right, director of schools; and Neil Sanders, principal of Taylor County High School.
Photo/Gerard Flanagan

During the uncertain and frightening moments that followed, the six-year-old Caldwell, sitting in the back seat, tried to decide what to do.

“I’ve been told I cannot move,” Caldwell recalled, “and I’m asking myself, ‘What can I do?’ because silence had really taken over the car, and prayer was the first thing that came to mind.

“I prayed earnestly, not that God would send somebody to come and rescue us, but that He would start that car and drive us out of there.”

Caldwell’s father returned to the driver’s seat, and to her amazement, the car sputtered to life.

Caldwell explained the lesson she wanted to share from her story: “It is my first thoughts in terms of teaching excellence. The teacher was my father, and the lesson was the power of a childhood prayer.”

Caldwell recalls one night when her daughter and granddaughter, Adeline, visited her home, and her daughter created a large poster she placed in Caldwell’s home. That poster contained three bullet points:

  • I will be a good listener
  • I will not hide under the table
  • I will not lay down on the floor

Reflecting on the poster, Caldwell humorously remarked, “My first thought was, ‘It must have been a really tough day at kindergarten. I hope her teacher is okay.’”

Caldwell’s second thought, she said, was, “Everything I know, I learned in kindergarten. I learned it from an amazing teacher.”

Caldwell reflected on the poster as it relates to the role of a teacher, saying, “When I consider that good listener, I am reminded that Adeline’s teacher understands that her mind is inquisitive, and if she hides under the table, I know her teacher sees anxiety in a heartbeat, and if she’s laying on the floor, that teacher is automatically without question working to re-engage this six-year-old in productive and meaningful teaching and learning.”

Caldwell said, “These examples I’m sharing with you today highlight the impact of exceptional teachers.”

“Those teachers are you, those we have come to celebrate,” Caldwell told the award recipients. You singlehandedly shape our students’ futures and our world every single day.”

Campbellsville Independent Schools educators are recognized at the 38th Excellence in Teaching Award Program. Award recipients are Bradley Harris (Campbellsville Middle School), third from left, and Mallory Arnett (Campbellsville High School), middle. Joining them were Tyler Hardy, far left, principal of Campbellsville High School; David Petett, second from right, chief academic officer; and Kirby Smith, superintendent.
Photo/Gerard Flanagan

She reminded the educators they are “the parents standing in the gap…You are shaping lives, and you are inspiring our future generations. We are so proud of you.”

Dr. Robin Magruder, interim dean for CU’s School of Education, welcomed everyone to the ceremony.

She told the award recipients, “You join an elite group of over 4,300 educators who have won this award since its inception. You truly make a difference in the lives of the children you teach, and for that, we thank you.”

She added that Campbellsville University “has been preparing teachers for 118 years.”

“Throughout these 118 years, the university has prepared students as Christian servant leaders for lifelong learning, continued scholarship and active participation in a diverse, global society,” Magruder said.

Campbellsville University began the Excellence in Teaching Award Program in 1987 with assistance from Mr. Earl Aaron and the Ward, Cundiff, and Aaron Memorial Fund. The purpose of the program is to recognize the quality teaching and learning taking place in the school systems throughout Kentucky.

Awards recipients by school district are as follows:

Adair County – Sarah Dean (Adair County Primary Center), Seth Dunbar (Adair County Middle School), Will Rich (Adair County High School)

Allen County – Sarah Towe (Allen County Scottsville High School)

Anderson County – Maggie Smith (Emma B. Ward Elementary School), Heather Case (Anderson County Middle School), Lauren Koeller (Anderson County High School)

Augusta Independent – Brenda Poe (Elementary), Robert Lawson (Middle), Emily Evertz (High)

Bardstown Independent – Michael Hines (Bardstown Elementary School), Heather Lenberger (Bardstown Middle School), Heidi Ahern (Bardstown High School)

Barren County – Melinda Bush (North Jackson Elementary School), Amanda Moore (Barren County Middle School), Kelley Bauer (Barren County High School)

Berea Independent – Emma Fraley (Berea Community Elementary School), Jennifer Cornett-Hodson (Berea Community Middle and High Schools), Linda Williams (Berea Community High School)

Boone County – Whitney Scudder (Erpenbeck Elementary School), Corrie Harrison (Ockerman Middle School), Stephanie Richards (Boone County High School)

Bourbon County – Amy Brown (North Middletown Elementary School), Brittany Rogers (Bourbon County Middle School), Kayla Burke (Bourbon County High School)

Boyd County – Katie Hale (Ponderosa Elementary School), Caitlyn Barnette (Boyd County Middle School), Julia Jackson (Boyd County High School)

Breckinridge County – Kimberly Willis (Ben Johnson Elementary), Shannon Loughbran (Breckinridge County Middle School), Leah Lovell (Breckinridge County High School)

Bullitt County – Melissa Pratt (Maryville Elementary School), Jessica Talley (Mt. Washington Middle School), Adis Natacha Paumier-Delgado (North Bullitt High School)

Burgin Independent – Allison Gibson (Burgin Elementary School), William Rulon (Burgin Middle School), Theresa Brooks (Burgin High School)

Butler County – Jan Embry (Morgantown Elementary School), Kristen Hughson (Butler County Middle School), Madilyn Dowell (Butler County High School)

Campbellsville Independent – Maranda Wright (Campbellsville Elementary School), Bradley Harris (Campbellsville Middle School), Mallory Arnett (Campbellsville High School)

Carter County – Kitty Sloas (Carter City Elementary School), Christopher Shelton (West Carter Middle School), Donovan Roe (West Carter High School)

Casey County – Heather Murphy (Liberty Elementary School), Angela Keys (Casey County Middle School), Jenni Godbey (Casey County High School)

Caverna Independent – Ashley Gann (Caverna Elementary School), Terry Thorpe (Caverna Middle School), Dr. Joshua Howard (Caverna High School)

Clark County – Michele Brownlee (Shearer Elementary School), Stephanie Rice (Herny E. Baker Intermediate School), Stephanie Jefferson (George Rogers Clark High School)

Clinton County – Chasity Starns (Albany Elementary School), Cassandra Guffey (Clinton County Middle School), Lucas Dalton (Clinton County High School)

Cloverport Independent – Leslie Bishop (Elementary), Jill Powers (Middle), John Cliburn (High)

Crittenden County – Mandy Hunt (Crittenden County Elementary School), Stephanie Cates (Crittenden County Middle School), Casey Evans (Crittenden County High School)

Cumberland County – Sarah Kessinger (Cumberland County Elementary School), Audra Perdue (Cumberland County Middle School), Melissa Flowers (Cumberland County High School)

Danville Independent Schools – Gregory Foley (Sunrise Academy, Elementary), Daveida Smith (Sunrise Academy, Middle), Shanda Everage (Sunrise Academy, High)

Daviess County Public Schools – Magnolia Jagoe (Country Heights Elementary School), Melinda Rue (College View Middle School), Krystal Phelps (Daviess County High School)

East Bernstadt Independent Schools – DeAnna Eversole (East Bernstadt Independent School, Elementary), Ashton Costello (East Bernstadt Independent School, Middle)

Edmonson County Schools – Heather White (South Edmonson Elementary School), Brad Meredith (Edmonson County Middle School), Brandon Meredith (Edmonson County High School)

Elizabethtown Independent Schools – Heather Smith (Morningside Elementary School), Ryan Lutz (T.K. Stone Middle School), Tyler Cantrell (Elizabethtown High School)

Estill County Schools – Kristin Combs (South Irvine Early Learning Center)

Frankfort Christian Academy – Tammy Boyd (Frankfort Christian Academy, Elementary), Alexis Mackey (Frankfort Christian Academy, Middle), Dr. Larry Sowders (Frankfort Christian Academy, High)

Frankfort Independent Schools – Gretchen Vaught (Second Street School), Tara Cracraft (Second Street School), Joseph Peach (Frankfort High School)

Fulton Independent Schools – Brittany Moxley (Carr Elementary School)

Glasgow Independent Schools – Tambra Cambron (South Green Elementary School), Cassandra Bale (Glasgow Middle School), Becky Kingery (Glasgow High School)

Green County Schools – Amanda Pennington (Green County Intermediate School), Stephanie Eastes (Green County Middle School), James Penick (Green County High School)

Greenup County Schools – Clare Nemeth (Argillite Elementary School), Michael Doran (Wurtland Middle School), Carrie Davis (Greenup County High School)

Hancock County Schools – Shelly Gray (North Hancock Elementary School), Susan Mattingly (Hancock County Middle School), Trevor Garrison (Hancock County High School)

Hardin County Schools – Angela Stevenson (Lakewood Elementary School), John Calhoun (East Hardin Middle School), Amy Waits (North Hardin High School)

Harlan County Schools – Kelsey Helton (Rosspoint Elementary School), Kristin Lester (Black Mountain Elementary School), Garett Bolin (Harlan County High School)

Harrison County Schools – Shelley Slade (Harrison County School District, Elementary), Glenn Lonaker Jr. (Harrison County Middle School), Kim Jenkins (Harrison County High School)

Hart County Schools – Shannon Ellis (Munfordville Elementary School), Kelly Shepperd (Munfordville Elementary School, Middle), Ashley Walters (Hart County High School)

Hazard Independent Schools – Cindy Lindon (Roy G. Eversole Elementary School), Paul Spare (Hazard Middle School), Patrick Hall (Hazard High School)

Jessamine County – Meghan Erena (Red Oak Elementary School), Melissa Graham (East Jessamine Middle School), Shawnda Richardson (West Jessamine High School)

Knox County Schools – Lauren Petrey (Lynn Camp Elementary School), Tabitha Frederick (Knox County Middle School), Chelsea Philpot (Lynn Camp High School)

LaRue County Schools – Meredith Richardson (Abraham Lincoln Elementary School), Madison Johnson (LaRue County Middle School), Ben Schell (LaRue County High School)

Laurel County Schools – Stephanie Boshers (Bush Elementary School), Kayla Dixon (South Laurel Middle School), Monica Jones (North Laurel High School)

Lexington Christian Academy – Melissa Washing (Lexington Christian Academy, Elementary), Jennifer Sallee (Lexington Christian Academy, Middle), Steven Small (Lexington Christian Academy, High)

Lincoln County Schools – Ashley Washington (Crab Orchard Elementary School), Joshua Fletcher (Lincoln County Middle School), Kayde Gilbert (Lincoln County High School)

Logan County Schools – Sierra McGee (Chandler’s School), Kerri Hayes (Olmstead School), Robert Malcomson (Logan County High School)

Madison County Schools – Tonya Conley (Kingston Elementary School), Amy Poynter (Farristown Middle School), Buffy Turner (Madison Central High School)

Marion County Schools – Joanna Wright (Lebanon Elementary School), Raylyn Abell (Marion County Knight Academy), Makenzie Thomas (Marion County High School)

McCreary County – Rena Stephens (Whitley City Elementary School), Joy Waters (McCreary County Middle School), Tiffeny Stephens (McCreary Central High School)

Menifee County – Millicent White (Menifee Central School, Elementary), Denita Trimble (Menifee Central School, Middle), Adam Adkins (Menifee County High School)

Mercer County – Nicky Keller (Mercer County Elementary School), Vickie Walls (King Middle School), Andrew Ashford (Mercer County Senior High School)

Metcalfe County Schools – Christie Anderson (Metcalfe County Elementary School), Buddie Brockman (Metcalfe County Middle School), Steven Howard (Metcalfe County High School)

Middlesboro Independent – Theresa Napier (Middlesboro Elementary School), Kristen Brock (Middlesboro High School)

Monroe County Schools – Amy Rouse (Gamaliel Elementary School), Rendi Carter (Monroe County Middle School), Leslie Baxter (Monroe County High School)

Montgomery County Schools – Donna Caskey (Mapleton Elementary School), Baesha Bridges (McNabb Middle School), Elizabeth Clevenger (Montgomery County High School)

Muhlenberg County – Lindsey Coldwell (Greenville Elementary School), Lauren Mercer (Muhlenberg North Middle School), Melissa Thompson (Muhlenberg County High School)

Oldham County Schools – Lindsay Kennedy (Camden Station Elementary School), Anthony Wise (Oldham County Middle School), Laura Jones (South Oldham High School)

Owen County Schools – Mandy Peters (Owen County Lower Elementary School), Logan Fields (Maurice Bowling Middle School), Kyle Smith (Owen County High School)

Paris Independent Schools – Kelley Crain (Paris Elementary School), Kayla Grace (Paris Middle School), Amy Mason (Paris High School)

Pendleton County Schools – Maxie Kordes (Southern Elementary School), Megan O’Hara (Sharp Middle School), Gena Lea (Pendleton County High School)

Portland Christian School – Ellen Syme (Portland Christian School, Elementary), Judith Willis (Portland Christian School, Middle), Mark Miller (Portland Christian School, High)

Pulaski County Schools – Courtney Jones (Pulaski Elementary School), Shawn Boyle (Northern Middle School), Brittany French (Southwestern High School)

Rockcastle County Schools – Kara Brown (Mt. Vernon Elementary School), Hannah Laswell (Rockcastle County Middle School), Tammy Camel (Rockcastle County High School)

Rowan County Schools – Tessa Gilliam (Rodbum Elementary School), Ashton Shoemaker (Rowan County Middle School), Craig Pearcy (Rowan County Senior High School)

Russell County Schools – Penny Lester (Salem Elementary School), Marquita Robinson (Russell County Middle School), Rebecca Walters (Russell County High School)

Russellville Independent Schools – Tonya Poole (Stevenson Elementary School), Griselda Vargas (Russellville Independent Schools), Jennifer Rogers (Russellville High School)

Shelby County Schools – Hannah Klassen (Clear Creek Elementary School), Faith Hamilton (Mamel Mooman School), Catherine Burgin (Shelby Academy)

Somerset Independent – Melissa Prichard (Hopkins Elementary School), Melinda Williams (Meece Middle School), Jason Bridgeman (Somerset High School)

Spencer County Schools – Kathryn Dill (Spencer County Elementary School), Chad Collins (Spencer County Middle School), MacKenzie Goodwin (Spencer County High School)

Taylor County Schools – Sarah Lockard (Taylor County Intermediate School), Holly Johnson (Taylor County Middle School), Carlotta Johns (Taylor County High School)

Trimble County Schools – Traci Duke (Bedford Elementary School), Jennie Sullivan (Trimble County Junior/High School), Rene Craig-Smith (Trimble County Junior/Senior High School)

Union County Schools – Cindy Evans (Sturgis Elementary School), April Dayberry (Union County Middle School), Beth Birkner (Union County High School)

Warren County Schools – Katherine Beals (Plano Elementary School), David Stobaugh (South Warren Middle School), Laura Leeper (Greenwood High School)

Washington County – Daily Goatley (Washington County Elementary School), Kandice Spalding (Washington County Middle School), Kiana Smith (Washington County High School)

Williamstown Independent – Haley Cox (Williamstown Elementary School), Vickie Moriarity (Williamstown Junior High School), Autumn Halberstadt (Williamstown Senior High School)

Campbellsville University is a widely acclaimed Kentucky-based Christian university that offers over 100 programs including doctoral, master, bachelor, associate and certificate programs. The website for complete information is www.campbellsville.edu.

From left, CU student Collin White, Kellis Lawrence and Jamie Lawrence, CU’s executive director of ministry and church outreach, provide special music during the Excellence in Teaching Award Program.
Photo/Gerard Flanagan