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Western Kentucky University announces finalists of second annual Distinguished Educator Awards

Teacher leaders in the WKU service region recognized and celebrated
Western Kentucky University
Western Kentucky University(WKU)
Published: Apr. 14, 2021 at 10:00 AM CDT
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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - Western Kentucky University today announced the 2021 finalists of the WKU College of Education and Behavioral Sciences’ Distinguished Educator Awards.

“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:

Innovation

Rachel Smith – LaRue County, Hodgenville Elementary

Justin Browning – Barren County, Barren County High

Taylor Stewart – Warren County, Drakes Creek Middle

Diversity

Samantha Pedigo – Warren County, GEO International High

Sharon Mattingly – Barren County, Barren County High

Kristi Costellow – Bowling Green Independent, Parker Bennett Curry Elementary

Literacy

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.

Follow WKU CEBS on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram to remain updated on further award celebrations and announcements as we continue to maintain alternative learning practices and celebrations.

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