By Joan C. McKinney, director, Office of University Communications
CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. – As a young child, Dr. Aaron Thompson, president of the Kentucky Council for Postsecondary Education, was often reminded by his parents of the importance of an education and the opportunities it would open up for him.
“They pushed education, and they pushed it hard,” Thompson said at Campbellsville University’s 36th annual Excellence in Teaching Award Program May 14 in Ransdell Chapel.
The Excellence in Teaching Award Program honored 218 teachers throughout the Commonwealth of Kentucky from 76 districts and/or private schools.
Growing up in Crawfish, Ky., in Clay County, the son of a coal-mining father who was illiterate, Thompson saw his father work long hours in the mines.
“My father always said, ‘Boy, you better get an education, because if you don’t, you will break your back in the coalmine,’” Thompson said.
Thompson said his mother, who held an eighth-grade education, told him, ‘If you get an education, you’ll learn to read and write and how to count your money.’ If you do that, they can’t take it away from you.
“She saw Jim Crow in full effect, where people would take stuff away from you if you didn’t have an education. I took that as education would give me economic prosperity. She was literally saying you would have the knowledge to problem-serve and understand how to protect those things around you.”
Thompson, a first-generation high school student, congratulated the honored teachers and said they “fully understand the essence of learning.”
“I am a teacher,” Thompson said. He told the teachers it’s all about learning. “You are a role model, and you are a force of love at times,” Thompson said.
He told the teachers they need to figure out the good in students and tell students they can be something special.
“Teachers’ engagement in and out of the classroom have the biggest effect on students’ lives,” Thompson said. “That’s the power you have.
“If you won an award today, you did something.”
He said maybe you didn’t follow the rules, but “sometimes you have to break out of the same old stuff that didn’t work. The status quo holds people back.”
He said the teachers have learned how to collaborate and how to reach levels of the students that haven’t been reached before.
“It’s the idea that you understand what learning is,” he said.
Teachers have to find ways to share with students so they have an opportunity to learn and excel.
“You have to teach self-actualization. You have to look at values and connect those values with what to do as a teacher.”
He said CPE focuses heavily on the disenfranchised. He said students see a teacher reaching out to a student who is disfranchised, and they feel good when a teacher helps that student who could have been written off.
“I appreciate you. I appreciate you because you have learned the essence of learning,” Thompson said. He urged them to celebrate with those you care about and to think how they got to this point.
Thompson congratulated Campbellsville University on her enrollment and said students are receiving a good education at the university.
Dr. Donna Hedgepath, provost and vice president for academic affairs, welcomed the teachers and their families and said, “Campbellsville University’s School of Education is committed to education. Today is about you and your sacrifices and commitment. This is one of my favorite events right up there with commencement.” She gave the invocation.
Dr. Lisa Allen, dean of the School of Education, welcomed the teachers to the program. She said teachers take risks and are innovative, problem solvers, mentors and leaders.
Dr. John Chowning, executive assistant to the president for government, community and constituent relations, read the names of the teachers in each district.
CU Sound, comprised of Campbellsville University students Jacob Hayes and Collin White as well as Kaylee Lawrence, a senior at Taylor County High School, sang two songs. Jamie Lawrence, executive director of ministry and church outreach, was accompanist.
Dr. Shane Garrison, vice president for enrollment services, said Campbellsville University is the most affordable master’s program in the School of Education, and the university is the largest private provider of dual-credit courses in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, serving 4,000 students in 58 high schools and Christian academies. He said, “We believe in teachers.”
Garrison gave the benediction.
A total of 4,586 Kentucky teachers have been honored since the program began in 1987
with assistance from 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.
The Excellence in Teaching Awards program is in partnership with Lexington’s CBS-affiliate, WKYT-TV.
The teachers are selected by their school districts in each grade level (preschool/elementary, middle and high school).
The 2022 Excellence in Teaching Award recipients include the following with their superintendent listed first:
Adair County Schools – Dr. Pamela Stephens, superintendent; Amanda Webster, Adair County Elementary School; Diana Eastham, Adair County Middle School; and Julie Brockman, Adair County High School;
Anderson County Schools – Sheila Mitchell, superintendent; Ami Wilcox, Emma B. Ward Elementary School; Taylor Wilson, Anderson County Middle School; and Todd Moudy, Anderson County High School;
Bardstown City Schools — Dr. Ryan Clark, superintendent; Cheri Elzy, Bardstown Early Childhood Center; Anthony Rogers, Bardstown Middle School, a 2009 Master of Arts Campbellsville University graduate; and Teresa Schooling, Bardstown High School;
Barren County Schools — Bo Matthews, superintendent; Jeana Kinsman, North Jackson Elementary School; Lauren Ellis, Barren County Middle School; and Samantha Huffman, Barren County High School;
Bell County Schools – Tom Gambrel, superintendent; Denise Napier, Yellow Creek School Center; Tina Lambdin, Bell Central School Center; and Daniella Petra, Bell County High School;
Boone County Schools – Matthew Turner, superintendent; Samantha Richards, Erpenbeck Elementary School; Ed Cook, Camp Ernst Middle School; and Kristen Nunn, Copper High School;
Bourbon County Schools – Amy Baker, superintendent; Michelle Cleaver, Bourbon County Preschool; Hannah Filowiat, Bourbon County Middle School; and Justin Roe, Bourbon County High School;
Boyd County Schools – William Boblett Jr., superintendent; Jennifer Eerenberg, Catlettsburg Elementary School; Leah Dixon, Boyd County Middle School; and Darren Brammell, Boyd County High School;
Breckinridge County Schools – Dr. Nick Carter, superintendent; Katey Carman, Ben Johnson Elementary School; Jacob Gallagher, Breckinridge County Middle School; and Paul Rotramel, Breckinridge County High School;
Bullitt County Schools – Dr. Jesse Bacon, superintendent; Gina Weber, Freedom Elementary School; Ashley Schell, Bernheim Middle School; and Dana Murphy, Bullitt Alternative Center;
Burgin Independent Schools – Will Begley, superintendent; Brandy Beasley, Burgin Independent School; Taylor Cooley, Burgin Middle School; and Nicole Short, Burgin High School;
Butler County Schools – Robert Tuck, superintendent; Ali Sitz, Morgantown Elementary School; Kyllie Doughty, Butler County Middle School; and Madison Staton, Butler County High School;
Campbellsville Independent Schools — Kirby Smith, superintendent; Lindsey Muncie, Campbellsville Elementary School, a 2008 Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education graduate; Katie Wilkerson, Campbellsville Middle School, a 1984 Campbellsville College Bachelor of Science graduate; and Erin Arnett, Campbellsville High School;
Carter County Schools – Dr. Paul Green, superintendent; Sharon Ginter, Prichard Elementary School; Leslie Kee, East Carter Middle School; and Dovie Stevens, West Carter High School, a 2006 Campbellsville University Master of Arts in Special Education graduate;
Casey County Schools – Barry Lee, superintendent; Lisa Sears, Walnut Hill Elementary School; Rachel Bernard, Casey County Middle School; and Jenni Godbey, Casey County High School;
Caverna Independent Schools – Cornelius Faulkner, superintendent; Melissa Tobin, Caverna Elementary School; David Brooks, Caverna Middle School; and Cassidy Pope, Caverna High School;
Clark County Schools – Dr. Molly McComas, superintendent; Amy Bowling, Shearer Elementary School; Jordan Miller, Baker Intermediate School; and Amand Crowell, George Rogers Clark High School;
Clinton County Schools – Dr. Paula Little, superintendent – Crystal Marcum, Albany Elementary School; Cynthia Crady, Cumberland County Middle School; and Anthony Smith, Cumberland County High School;
Danville Christian Academy – James Ward II, headmaster; Gwen Ladd, Danville Christian Academy, elementary; Loralee Ridge, Danville Christian Academy, middle; and Ashley Evans, Danville Christian Academy, high;
Daviess County Schools – J. Matthew Robbins, superintendent; Sally Tingle, Highland Elementary School; Jill Pate, Burns Middle School; and Jonathan Leohr, Apollo High School;
East Bernstadt Independent Schools – Vicki Jones, superintendent; Jaime VanHook, East Bernstadt Independent School, elementary; and Sandra Roberts, East Bernstadt Independent School, middle;
Edmonson County Schools – Brian Alexander, superintendent; Karen Jackson, South Edmonson Elementary School; Heather Rickman, Edmonson County Middle School; and Hilda Spradlin, Edmonson County High School;
Elizabethtown Independent Schools – Kelli Bush, superintendent; Laura Rogers, Panther Academy, preschool, a Campbellsville University 2017 Teacher Leader Master of Arts in Education degree;
Estill County Schools — Jeffery Saylor, superintendent; Kayla Wilson, Estill Springs Elementary School; Shayla Carroll, Estill County Middle School; and Sarah Bryan, Estill County High School;
Fairview Independent Schools — Jackie Risden-Smith, superintendent; Shelby Runyon, Fairview Elementary School; and Carrie Tomlin, Fairview High School;
Fleming County Schools — Dr. Brian Creasman, superintendent; Amanda Purcell, Flemingsburg Elementary School; Lori Kissell, Simon Middle School; and Brandie Trent, Fleming County High School;
Floyd County Schools — Anna Shepherd, superintendent; Ashley Fite, May Valley Elementary School;
Gallatin County Schools — Larry Hammond, superintendent; Morgan Berkshire, Gallatin County Upper Elementary School; Marty Glenn, Gallatin County Middle School; and James Rauckhorst, Gallatin County High School;
Garrard County Schools — Kevin Stull, superintendent; Beth Trimble, Lancaster Elementary School; Jon Smith, Garrard Middle School; and Bret Baierlein, Garrard County High School, a Campbellsville University 2021 Master of Arts in Education, Principal P-12 gradaute;
Glasgow Independent Schools — Keith Hale, superintendent; Tajuana Lisenby, Highland Elementary School; Amy Hill, Glasgow Middle School; and Elizabeth Wilson, Glasgow High School;
Green County Schools — William Hodges, superintendent; Melissa Karnes, Green County Intermediate School; Rebecca Cassell, Green County Middle School, a 2013 Campbellsville University Bachelor of Arts degree in English and a 2015 Bachelor of Science degree; and Melissa Bright, Green County High School, a 1993 Campbellsville College Bachelor of Science degree and a 1996 Campbellsville University Master of Arts degree graduate;
Greenup County Schools — Traysea Moresea, superintendent; Connie Hunt, McKell Elementary School; Scott Bowling, Wurtland Middle School; and Kameron Greenslate, Greenup County High School;
Hardin County Schools — Teresa Morgan, superintendent; Lindsie Estes, Meadow View Elementary School; Joshua White, Bluegrass Middle School; and Hilary Cooper, Central Hardin High School;
Harlan County Schools — Brent Roark, superintendent; Jennifer Clem, Rosspoint Elementary School; Melodie Hatfield, Cawood Elementary School; and Andrea Mitchell, Harlan County High School;
Harrison County Schools — Dr. Harry Burchett, superintendent; Brooke Moore, Southside Elementary School; Emma Mullins, Harrison County Middle School; and Julie Duff, Harrison County High School;
Hart County Schools – Nathan Smith, superintendent, Melinda Burgess, Memorial Elementary School; Lillian Warnock, Munfordville Elementary School; and Kurtis Wright, Hart County High School;
Johnson County Schools — Thom Cochran, superintendent; Amanda O’Bryan, Highland Elementary School; Kimberly Conley, Johnson County Middle School; and Angelica Meade, Johnson Central High School;
Kentucky Christian Academy — Alicia Riggs, administrator; Erica Young, Kentucky Christian Academy, preschool;
Knox County Schools — Jeremy Ledford, superintendent; Danielle Matlock, Central Elementary School; Miranda Giles, Knox County Middle School; and Heidi Suttle, Lynn Camp High School;
LaRue County Schools — David Raleigh, superintendent; Jennifer Williams, Hodgenville Elementary School, a Campbellsville University 2010 Master of Arts in Education graduate;
Abby Lee, LaRue County High School, LaRue County High School, a Campbellsville University 2011 Bachelor of Science in Mathematics;
Laurel County Schools — Dr. Doug Bennett, superintendent; Melinda Parker, London Elementary School; Misty Poindexter, North Laurel Middle School; and Angie Feltner, South Laurel High School;
Lexington Christian Academy — Dr. Scott Wells, headmaster; Sanda Inouye, Lexington Christian Academy, preschool; Lisa Meadows, Lexington Christian Academy, middle; and Daniel Wesley, Lexington Christian Academy, high, a 2220 Campbellsville University Master of Music with Music Education concentration graduate;
Lincoln County Schools — Michael Rowe, superintendent; Valerie Sanders, Hustonville Elementary School; Brittany Dale, Lincoln County Middle School; and Dr. Sonya Anglin, Lincoln County High School, a Campbellsville University 2004 Master of Arts in Special Education graduate;
Logan County Schools — Paul Mullins, superintendent; Andrea Coleman, Auburn School; Kelly Jenkins, Chandler’s School; and Csm. Joseph Brockman, Logan County High School;
Madison County Schools — Dr. David Gilliam, superintendent; Ashley Sawyer, White Hall Elementary School; Robyn Wilson, Foley Middle School; and Matthew Sherrow, Madison Central High School;
Marion County Schools — Boyd Randolph, superintendent; Dana Thomas, Glasscock Elementary School, a Campbellsville College 1994 Bachelor of Science and a 1999 Campbellsville University Master of Arts graduate; and Tara Wade, Marion County High School;
Marshall County Schools — Steve Miracle, superintendent; Chastity West, Jonathan Elementary School; Madeline Parham, South Marshall Middle School; and Chad Darnall, Marshall County High School;
McCreary County Schools — Corey Keith, superintendent; Rena Stephens, Whitley City Elementary School; Jessica West, McCreary County Middle School; and Megan Griffith, McCreary Central High School;
Menifee County Schools — Timothy Spencer, superintendent; Cicely Amburgey, Botts Early Learning Center; Jennifer Brown, Menifee Central School; and James Kash, Menifee County High School;
Mercer County Schools — Jason Booher, superintendent; Amy Haynes, Mercer County Elementary School; Joshua Culver, King Middle School; and Michael Jones, Mercer County Senior High School;
Metcalfe County Schools – Josh Hurt, superintendent; Donna Donna Froedge, Metcalfe County Elementary School; Matt Reed, Metcalfe County Middle School; and Alexandria Pennington, Metcalfe County High School;
Monroe County Schools – Amy Thompson, superintendent; Megan Roper, Gamaliel Elementary School; Nancy Holder, Monroe County Middle School; and Mitchell Cunningham, Monroe County High School;
Montgomery County Schools – Dr. Matthew Thompson, superintendent; Laura Miller, Camargo Elementary School; Kirby Haskins, McNabb Middle School; and Austin Maples, Montgomery County High School;
Ohio County Schools — Seth Southard, superintendent; Linda Chapman, Fordsville Elementary School; Tonya Decker, Ohio County Middle School; and Kyle Hall, Ohio County High School;
Owen County Schools – Dr. Robert Stafford, superintendent; Gail Forsee, Owen County Elementary School; Michelle Petreshock, Maurie Bowling Middle School; and Andy Clarke, Owen County High School;
Owensboro Independent Schools – Dr. Matthew Constant, superintendent; Madison Wells, Sutton Elementary School; Kara Smith, Owensboro Middle School; and Kristen Mikulcik, Emerson Academy;
Paintsville Independent Schools – David Gibson, superintendent; Brittany Pelphrey, Paintsville Elementary School; Amanda Cox, Paintsville High School; and Charlene Martin, Paintsville High School;
Paris Independent Schools — Stephen McCauley, superintendent; Shawn VanDine, Paris Elementary School; Aaron Meadows, Paris Middle School; and Keagan Mathes, Paris High School;
Pulaski County Schools – Kaitlin Kirby, Southern Elementary School; Mary Anderson, Northern Middle School; and Sarah Hopper, Southwestern High School, a 2011 Campbellsville University Bachelor of Arts in English graduate;
Rowan County Schools – John Maxey, superintendent; Helen Burchett, Rowan County Preschool; Kimberly Hacker, Rowan County Middle School; and Susan Hart, Rowan County Senior High School;
Russell County Schools – Michael Ford, superintendent; Melinda Wright, Russell Springs Elementary School; Lindsay Gibson, Russell County Middle School; and Carol Ackerman, Russell County High School, a Campbellsville University 2005 Master of Arts Special Education graduate;
Scott County Schools – Billy Parker, superintendent; Carla Prather, Anne Mason Elementary School; Donovan Kerns, Royal Spring Middle School; and James Ramsey, Scott County High School;
Shelby County Schools – Dr. Sally Sugg, superintendent; Candice Iceman, Clear Creek Elementary School; Crystal Harris, Shelby County East Middle School; and Denise Rannells, Big Picture Learning Academy;
Simpson County Schools – Tim Schlosser, superintendent; Lisa Campbell, Simpson Elementary School; Carolyn Lovell, Franklin Simpson Middle School; and Tammy Strain, Franklin Simpson High School;
Somerset Independent Schools – Kyle Lively, superintendent; Cindy Sloan, Hopkins Elementary School; Courtney Thomas, Meece Middle School; and Jason Bridgeman, Somerset High School;
Spencer County Schools – Chuck Abell, acting superintendent; Kelly Hutt, Taylorsville Elementary School; Kabrel Woods, Spencer County Middle School; and LeAnn Wafford, Spencer County High School;
Taylor County Schools – Charles Higdon Jr., superintendent; Brooke Downey, Taylor County Primary School; Hanna Lobb, Taylor County Middle School, a 2012 Campbellsville University Bachelor of School in Math graduate with a 5-12 certification; and Ashley Neal, Taylor County High School, a Campellsville University 2016 graduate with a Bachelor of Arts degree;
Trigg County Schools – Bill Thorpe, superintendent; Lisa Rawlins, Trigg County Primary School; Kimberly Mroch, Trigg County High School; and Kimberly Adams, Trigg County High School;
Trimble County Schools – Jessica Wilcoxson, superintendent; Angelea Andrews, Bedford Elementary School; John Hurley, Trimble County Junior High School; and Maggie McLain, Trimble County Senior High School;
Union County Schools — Patricia Sheffer, superintendent; Julie Lovell, Morganfield Elementary School; Amy Waggener, Union County Middle School; and Nathan Tanner, Union County High School;
Warren County Schools – Rob Clayton, superintendent; Christina Keltner, Oakland Elementary School; Wendy Srivastava, Drakes Creek Middle School; and Casey Bates, South Warren High School;
Washington County Schools – Dr. J. Robin Cochran, superintendent; Stephanie Casey, North Washington Elementary School; Holli White, North Washington Elementary School, a 2006 Campbellsville University Bachelor of Science graduate; and Macy Rattliff, Washington County High School;
Wayne County Schools – Wayne Roberts, superintendent; Heather Lewis, Bell Elementary School; McKenzie Blevins, Wayne County Middle School; and Kelly Brown, Wayne County High School;
Williamsburg Independent Schools – Tim Melton, superintendent; Sherry Reed, Williamsburg City School, Elementary; Bryan Berta, Williamsburg City School, Middle; and Andrea Winchester, Williamsburg City School, High; and
Williamstown Independent Schools – Misty Middleton, superintendent; Tonya Fox, Williamstown Junior/Senior High School, a Campbellsville University 1996 Bachelor of Arts graduate.
The 2022 Excellence in Teaching Committee included: Dr. Lisa Allen, dean of the Campbellsville University School of Education; Joshua Boone, graduate programs administrative assistant; Elizabeth Franklin, secretary to the dean, School of Education; Lisa Kirtley, data specialist; Dominic Sanfilippo, graduate program secretary; and Alice Steele, clinical support specialist.
Campbellsville University is a widely acclaimed Kentucky-based Christian university with more than 12,000 students offering over 100 programs of studying including Ph.D., master, baccalaureate, associate, pre-professional and certification programs. The website for complete information is www.campbellsville.edu.