A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Outstanding teachers from across Kentucky in running for May 15 Teacher of the Year awards

KyForward staff

One of 24 outstanding Kentucky educators are in the running for Kentucky Teacher of the Year to be announced in May.

The Kentucky Department of Education and Valvoline Inc. sponsor the awards whose winners are selected by a blue-ribbon panel of veteran educators.

All 24 teachers will receive prestigious 2019 Teacher Achievement Awards.

“Valvoline is pleased to honor once again and recognize some of Kentucky’s outstanding teachers. These individuals play a critical role in preparing students for life after high school graduation, whether that be in college or the workforce,” said Daryl Love, Valvoline’s manager of community relations.

The 24 winning teachers are:

Elementary School

NyRee D. Clayton-Taylor, Phyllis Wheatley Elementary, Jefferson County
Lindsey Depenbrock, Wellington Elementary, Fayette County
Megen Gearhart, Olive Hill Elementary, Carter County
Ashley Whitehead-Judd, Tyner Elementary, Jackson County
Amanda Klare, Beechwood Elementary, Beechwood Independent
Candace A. Nickles, Beaver Creek Elementary, Knott County
Matthew Pollock, Brandenburg Primary, Meade County
Samantha Tabor, Concord Elementary, McCracken County

Middle School

Larry Bailey, Ashland Middle, Ashland Independent
Jessica Dueñas, Oldham County Middle, Oldham County
Scott Dunn, Meece Middle, Somerset Independent
Hope K. Foster, Murray Middle, Murray Independent
Christina O’Bryan Howard, College View Middle, Daviess County
Brooke Powers, Beaumont Middle, Fayette County
Kerri Stanfield, Mason County Middle, Mason County
Emmanuel A. Stone, Shelby County West Middle, Shelby County

High School

Kelli Akers, Betsy Layne High, Floyd County
Christy Bickett, North Bullitt High, Bullitt County
Cayeann Cowan, Robertson County High, Robertson County
Steve Easley, Daviess County High, Daviess County
Tiffany Marsh, Paul Laurence Dunbar High, Fayette County
Susan E. McLaughlin, Lafayette High, Fayette County
Jeremy Phillips, Madison Central High, Madison County
Abigail A. Wheaton, Union County High, Union County


All 24 teachers will be honored at a ceremony on May 15 in Frankfort. Government officials, state dignitaries, and Sam Mitchell, the chief executive officer of Valvoline, will honor the teachers and recognize the Kentucky Elementary, Middle and High School Teachers of the Year. From this group of three finalists, the Kentucky Teacher of the Year will be named and will represent the state in the National Teacher of the Year competition.

Valvoline will present the 24 Valvoline Teacher Achievement Award recipients with cash awards and certificates at the ceremony. In addition to cash awards, the three Kentucky Teachers of the Year also will receive custom-designed glassware commemorating their accomplishments, and all 24 educators will be honored at a special luncheon after the ceremony.

Judging was conducted in March by a blue-ribbon panel of veteran educators, many of whom have more than 25 years of teaching experience. Applications included information on the nominees’ teaching philosophies, teaching experiences and involvement in their respective communities, as well as letters of recommendation from peers, students, parents, administrators and others.

“On behalf of the Kentucky Department of Education, I congratulate these award-winning teachers. They are nothing short of heroes. These are men and women who work tirelessly every day to ensure that our kids have high-quality learning experiences,” said Interim Commissioner of Education Wayne Lewis. “As Valvoline Teacher Achievement Award winners, these teachers are innovators and leaders who are moving the needle on student achievement. They are mentors and role models in our profession, and I look forward to partnering with them as we chart a course forward to ensure every Kentucky public school student is equipped with the skills and knowledge they will need to thrive in the 21st-century economy.”

The Kentucky Teacher Awards program combines the best elements of what was formerly known as the Ashland Teacher Achievement Awards. Now, as an independent, publicly traded company with its world headquarters in Lexington, Valvoline is a sponsor of the Teacher Achievement Awards and the Kentucky Teacher of the Year programs.

Related Posts

Leave a Comment