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WKU announces finalists for Distinguished Educator Awards

By Tommy Newton

Bowling Green, KY - Western Kentucky University today announced the 2021 finalists of the WKU College of Education and Behavioral Sciences' Distinguished Educator Awards. Finalists include Tammy Dennis, Dale Decker, Dana Soto, and Lorie Estes from Green County, Rodney Smith from Cumberland County Middle School, and Lindsay Gibson from Russell County Middle School.

"While it's hard to believe we're rounding out a year of non-traditional instruction, our teachers have felt every shift and change that came with our new 'normal'," said Corinne Murphy, Dean of WKU's College of Education and Behavioral Sciences. "Our teachers adapted and persevered through every roadblock and moment of uncertainty, showing that education, while considered very traditional in nature, is just as nimble and innovative as the other professional fields that made sharp pivots during the 2020 year. Our teachers incorporated these changes with grace, and we're thrilled to honor them with some well-deserved recognition."

Each award celebrates the individual and significant contributions educators make to the teaching profession. From elementary education to teacher mentorship, WKU recognizes the following P-12 educator finalists based on their inspiring and specialized solutions in the classroom:

  • Rachel Smith - LaRue County, Hodgenville Elementary
  • Justin Browning - Barren County, Barren County High
  • Taylor Stewart - Warren County, Drakes Creek Middle

  • Samantha Pedigo - Warren County, GEO International High
  • Sharon Mattingly - Barren County, Barren County High
  • Kristi Costellow - Bowling Green Independent, Parker Bennett Curry Elementary

  • Terri Cleaver - Bowling Green Independent, Parker Bennett Curry Elementary
  • Tammy Dennis - Green County, Green County Primary
  • Sherri Gilpin - Caverna Independent, Caverna Elementary

Teacher Mentor
  • Chelsie Walsh - LaRue County, LaRue County Middle
  • Ashley Holland - Warren County, Alvaton Elementary
  • Marschelle Sekora - Simpson County, Lincoln Elementary

Visual Performing Arts
  • Pam Thurman - Warren County, Jody Richards Elementary
  • Susie Lucas - Barren County, North Jackson Elementary
  • Landon Case - Bowling Green Independent, TC Cherry Elementary and BG Junior High

Physical Education
  • Lauren Lamb - Warren County, North Warren Elementary
  • Tim Gross - LaRue County, LaRue County Middle
  • Dale Decker - Green County, Green County Intermediate

Special Education
  • Emma Taylor - Barren County, North Jackson Elementary
  • Carol Ann Gilbert - Warren County, Warren Elementary
  • Dana Soto - Green County, Green County Primary

Elementary (P-5)
  • Lorie Estes - Green County, Green County Intermediate
  • Nikki Knott - Daviess County, Burns Elementary
  • Monica Spencer - Larue County, Abraham Lincoln Elementary

Middle Grades (6-8)
  • Rodney Smith - Cumberland County, Cumberland County Middle
  • Lindsay Gibson - Russell County, Russell County Middle
  • Amelia Watkins - Warren County, Cumberland Trace Elementary

Secondary (9-12)
  • Chris Thomas - LaRue County, LaRue County High
  • Colton Isaacs - Warren County, Warren Central High
  • Leigh Ellen Bristow - Todd County, Todd County Central High
WKU will announce category winners the week of April 19 -- each winner will receive a $200 cash prize and a commemorative plaque. Additionally, WKU will feature a perpetual plaque in Louie B. Nunn Kentucky Teacher Hall of Fame honoring winners for years to come.

This story was posted on 2021-04-14 10:41:18
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