Hart County art teacher semi-finalist for Kentucky Teacher of the Year

Jennifer Sims teaches art at Hart County High School.
Jennifer Sims teaches art at Hart County High School.(Jennifer Sims)
Published: Aug. 2, 2021 at 7:01 PM CDT
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(FRANKFORT, Ky. WBKO) – Hart County art teacher Jennifer Sims is among ten outstanding teachers from across the state – four elementary, three middle and three high school – as semifinalists for the 2022 Kentucky Teacher of the Year award. The Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) and Valvoline Inc. announced contenders on Aug. 2, 2021.

According to the Hart County Schools website, Mrs. Sims has been teaching art in Hart county for the past 18 years. In education she was honored as Elementary Art Teacher of the Year for 2003-2004, Middle School Art Teacher of the Year for 2010-2011 and Special Needs Teacher of the Year for 2015-2016 by the Kentucky Art Educators Association. Along with being a teacher, she is a working artist with her artwork in galleries in Bowling Green and Louisville. Mrs. Sims also is an Associate Professor of Art for Western Kentucky University.

Winners of the elementary, middle and high school Teacher of the Year awards, in addition to the overall 2022 Kentucky Teacher of the Year, will be announced in a virtual ceremony in September.

Competing for elementary Teacher of the Year are:

  • Kandi Dawson, Murray Elementary (Murray Independent)
  • Cindy Hundley, Gutermuth Elementary (Jefferson County)
  • Miranda Newland, Campbell Elementary (Raceland-Worthington Independent)
  • Ashley Ritchie, Beechwood Elementary (Beechwood Independent)

The middle school semifinalists are:

  • Hallie Booth, Ballyshannon Middle (Boone County)
  • Jason Hand, Stuart Academy (Jefferson County)
  • Morgan Preston, Corbin Middle (Corbin Independent)

In the high school category, the semifinalists are:

  • Jodie Carnes, Lynn Camp School (Knox County)
  • Willie Edward Taylor Carver Jr., Montgomery County High
  • Jennifer Sims, Hart County High

“Now more than ever, we are seeing how essential teachers are to not only the educational needs of our children, but also their social and emotional well-being,” said KDE Commissioner of Education Jason E. Glass. “These award-winning educators represent more than 42,000 of their colleagues who have done anything and everything to serve their students and ensure learning during these unpredictable times. I congratulate them and thank all Kentucky teachers for their outstanding efforts.”

The 10 semifinalists are among 24 educators in Kentucky who were named 2022 Valvoline™ Teacher Achievement Award winners. They were chosen based on their scores from the first round of judging, which was conducted by a blue-ribbon panel of veteran educators. Applications included nominees’ teaching philosophies, teaching experiences, involvement in their respective communities and letters of recommendation.

A virtual presentation and interview with each of the 10 semifinalists will result in the selection of the 2022 Elementary School, Middle School and High School Teachers of the Year.

The finalist with the highest cumulative score will be named the 2022 Kentucky Teacher of the Year. That individual will go on to represent Kentucky in the 2022 National Teacher of the Year competition.

Valvoline will present the 24 recipients of the Teacher Achievement Award with a cash award and certificate during a virtual awards ceremony on Sept. 9. The three Kentucky Teachers of the Year also will receive custom-designed glassware commemorating their accomplishments.

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