A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Kentucky shines with 45 schools on list of winner for 2020 Healthy School Program

By Jim Gaines Kentucky Teacher Judged by population, Kentucky ought to have eight schools on the list of award winners in the 2020 Healthy Schools Program. Instead, it has 45. This disproportionate success is due primarily to the Baptist Health School Wellness Initiative, offered by the Delta Rural Network Center at Baptist Health Madisonville. Forty-one of Kentucky’s 45 Healthy Schools winners are...

LaRue County’s Savannah Boone named Kentucky’s 2020 Special Education Teacher of the Year

By Jim Gaines Kentucky Teacher Savannah Boone, an instructor at LaRue County High School, is Kentucky’s 2020 Special Education Teacher of the Year. As the winner, Boone will receive a scholarship to attend the Special Education Legislative Summit in Washington, D.C. in summer 2021, a plaque and $500. Jessica Tipton of Madison Central High School (Madison County) and Amber Ervin of Old Kentucky Home...

KDE releases school reopening guidance for January; in-person classes may resume January 11

By Jim Gaines Kentucky Teacher The Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) released guidance Friday on reopening schools for in-person instruction in January 2021, accompanied by a new executive order signed by Gov. Andy Beshear. Beshear’s previous executive order, issued Nov. 18, allowed students to return to classrooms as of Jan. 4. The Dec. 18 order sets standards for reopening and recommends...

Ky. parents say mental health is key in decision on return to in-person instruction, prefer local decision

By Jacob Perkins Kentucky Teacher Jason E. Glass, Kentucky’s commissioner of education, continued soliciting feedback from the education community on a potential January return to in-person instruction during the virtual meeting last week of the Kentucky Department of Education’s (KDE’s) Parents Advisory Council (PAC). Glass told the council that Gov. Andy Beshear has asked the department to...

Schools in 30 counties named Bright Spots after students perform better than expected

Forty-seven schools have been named Bright Spots in Kentucky Education, recognition for schools in which students performed better than expected on measures of educational achievement. Schools must meet two conditions to qualify as a Bright Spot. All students are evaluated on an outcome measure for better-than-expected performance at least once from 2011 to 2019. With a focus on low-income students...

Crews working around the clock to complete repair work to Brent Spence Bridge by December 23

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Kentucky Transportation Secretary Jim Gray said this week repair crews are working around the clock to reopen the Brent Spence Bridge by the Dec. 23 deadline. The bridge, which carries I-71 and I-75 traffic over the Ohio River between northern Kentucky and Cincinnati, was closed after two semi-tractor trailer rigs crashed around 2:45 a.m. on Nov. 11 while driving along the...

Union County’s Patricia Sheffer named 2021 Kentucky Superintendent of the Year

By Jim Gaines Kentucky Teacher Union County Public Schools Superintendent Patricia Sheffer was named the Kentucky 2021 Superintendent of the Year by the Kentucky Association of School Administrators (KASA). “I really accept this award on behalf of the wonderful team I have here,” Sheffer said. “I’m blessed to work with a respectful board that trusts the decisions I make. I think everything...

A reunion 40 years in the making: How a Louisville teacher helped shape the life of a D.C. attorney

Ana Reyes, left, hugs her 1st-grade teacher Pat Harkleroad. After testing negative on a COVID-19 test, Reyes, now an award-winning attorney reunited with Harkleroad, now retired and taking care of her husband and son. The two flipped through old photos and reminisced on moments from their lives during a reunion on Nov. 13. Reyes reunited with Harkleroad, after testing negative on a COVID-19 test. (Photo...

Jason Glass: We need our communities to take this virus as seriously as our schools have

Public education is a decidedly social endeavor. The things most graduates treasure from their school years are the memories of interactions with great teachers who changed the trajectory of their life, their experiences in school activities and athletics that taught them the value of collaboration and teamwork, and the lifelong bonds of friendship that often are forged in school-age years. This same...

Jason Glass: Parents and teachers, the Kentucky Department of Education wants to hear from you

My first few weeks as Kentucky’s education commissioner have been a whirlwind of phone calls and virtual meetings with students, teachers, Kentucky Department of Education staff and other education stakeholders to get an idea of the education landscape in the Commonwealth. While the long days are exhilarating, I find the meeting people early on and hearing their concerns and wishes for education...

Donnie Piercey named 2021 Kentucky Teacher of the Year during first virtual ceremony in program history

Donnie Piercey, a fifth-grade teacher at Stonewall Elementary School in Fayette County, is the 2021 Kentucky Teacher of the Year and Elementary Teacher of the Year. “I’m never someone who cries. Now I’ve got tears here,” Piercey said from his home during the virtual presentation. “I don’t know what to say. My kids are cheering for me downstairs right now.” Piercey said he has had many...

Ben Wilcox shapes role of Kentucky’s first state school security marshal amid COVID-19 pandemic

By Jim Gaines Kentucky Teacher Ben Wilcox laughs a little when asked how COVID-19 has changed his job as Kentucky’s state school security marshal. He hadn’t been on the job long when the pandemic hit. The position of state school security marshal had only been created in March 2019. Wilcox formally started work July 1 of that year, but a month earlier he began traveling the state to share information...

West Hardin Middle School teacher Joy Knight named Kentucky’s Financial Literacy Teacher of the year

By Jim Gaines Kentucky Teacher West Hardin Middle School (Hardin County) teacher Joy Knight has been named 2020 Financial Literacy Teacher of the Year by the Kentucky Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy and ClassAct Federal Credit Union. Joy Knight (Photo from Hardin County Schools) Knight teaches financial literacy. She uses interactive projects, guest speakers, video clips and other...

GoTeachKY names 32 teacher ambassadors for 2021; Teacher of the Year to be announced Oct. 22

The mission of GoTeachKY, an initiative of the Kentucky Department of Education, is to ensure that all students across the Commonwealth have equitable access to effective educators. GoTeachKY seeks to recruit the next generation of teachers in Kentucky, helping remedy the critical teacher shortage that affects every state in the United States. Ambassadors were selected from a pool of applicants across...

GE Appliances head named winner of 2020 Kelly Award for Business and Education partnership

By Jim Gaines Kentucky Teacher Kevin Nolan, president and CEO of GE Appliances, is this year’s recipient of the Kelly Award for Business and Education Partnership from the Kentucky Board of Education (KBE). The award was announced at the KBE’s Oct. 7 regular meeting. “We love to present this award because it gives us a chance to recognize how important it is for businesses and education to work...

KDE seeking nominations for 2020 Recognizing Inspirational School Employees awards

By Jacob Perkins
 Kentucky Teacher The Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) is accepting nominations of outstanding educational support staff members for the national 2020 Recognizing Inspirational School Employees (RISE) Award. The new award, which recognizes classified school employees who have displayed excellence in serving students, was passed by Congress and is overseen by the U.S. Department...

Superintendent Kevin Stull brings experiences from Ky. Department of Education to Garrard County

By Jacob Perkins
 Kentucky Teacher Whenever Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) employees begin making their way back into KDE headquarters in Frankfort, one familiar face will have already hit the ground running in Garrard County. Kevin Stull played an integral role in the department during his tenure. He served as the lead for the Principals Professional Growth and Effectiveness System, was...

Forty-Four Kentucky schools among 517 nationwide recognized as America’s Healthiest Schools

Forty-four Kentucky schools are among those recognized nationwide as 2020 America’s Healthiest Schools. The Alliance for a Healthier Generation has given the award for 15 years, recognizing schools that use best practices to support learning and development, including meeting or exceeding federal standards for nutritious school meals and providing regular opportunities for students and staff to be...

Jason Glass: As we start new school year under unusual circumstances, department stands united

I wanted to start my first column as Kentucky’s new commissioner of education to let you know how happy I am to be back home and how honored I am to have been selected to help move the Commonwealth’s schools forward during these unprecedented times. I know this is the most unusual opening Kentucky – and the rest of the country – probably has ever had. The Kentucky Department of Education (KDE)...

New Butler County Schools superintendent Robert Tuck seeks to develop new generation of leaders

By Jim Gaines Kentucky Teacher Robert Tuck came well-prepared into the job of Butler County Schools superintendent. He knew he was hired in June, so he had time before his July 1 start date to confer with retiring Superintendent Scott Howard. And Tuck already had been assistant superintendent for three years, with experience in Butler County not only as a teacher and administrator but as a 1992 graduate...