WKCTC Honors Outstanding Area Educators

Mar 20, 2018

PADUCAH, KY (03/19/2018) Dr. Lucian Yates, III, recognized the pressure of being the featured speaker of the inaugural Regional Educators Awards and Scholarship Program at West Kentucky Community and Technical College, especially as it was being held on the "Ides of March" - March 15.

While the Ides of March may be known for a host of bad events such as the day in Roman times for settling debts and the day on which Julius Caesar was assassinated, Dr. Yates declared it a day of celebration, especially for the 28 nominees who were recognized with the special red carpet celebration."Because of this inaugural event here at West Kentucky Community and Technical College, we recognize the 'heros' and the 'sheros' who go about their tasks day in and day out without any fanfare, but with diligence and integrity," said Dr. Yates, dean of graduate and professional studies at Tennessee State University. "They make a mighty difference in the lives of boys and girls."

More than 200 educators, family, friends, and students were on hand to cheer and recognize the 28 nominees in the awards program. Deserving faculty and staff from throughout the Jackson Purchase were nominated for awards in four categories: distinguished faculty for grades pre-kindergarten through fifth, distinguished faculty for grades sixth through 12th, distinguished administrators, and the Cornelia Reece Unsung Hero Staff Award, named for the wife of WKCTC President Anton Reece.

"Tonight, we honor the educators who go above and beyond their daily responsibilities and play a tremendous role in the shaping of education in our region," said co-emcee Lee Emmons, WKCTC's vice president of institutional advancement. "We honor the vital role all our educators, administrators, staff, and supporters play in education."

The awards and scholarship program was established in August 2017 to recognize pre-kindergarten through high school educators, administrators and staff members who have gone beyond their daily responsibilities and have worked tirelessly on behalf of students, parents and the community in WKCTC's service region, which includes Ballard, Calloway, Carlisle, Fulton, Graves, Hickman, Marshall, McCracken, Livingston and Lyon counties in Kentucky and Alexander, Hardin, Massac, Pope, and Pulaski counties in Illinois.

More than 40 faculty, staff, and administrators were nominated by students, parents, community members, and colleagues. Each nominee was then asked to submit an application. Twenty-eight applications were then reviewed by a selection committee made up of educators, business and community leaders who selected two finalists and a winner in each of four categories.

In conjunction with the awards program, a scholarship for WKCTC students interested in K-12 teaching or educational support majors has been established to encourage and assist the region's future educators. Area businesses and organizations have donated to establish the scholarship.

Dr. Yates said he was glad he was a not a judge who had to select a winner from the nominees. "From this day forward, on this Ides of March, we will not allow anyone to denigrate or dog-out our schools and our teachers and our administrators," Dr. Yates said. "We will stand tall in the saddle for the best public school systems in the world. And regardless, I'm going to get political here, regardless of what your governor says, teachers are not selfish; they are not self-centered."

Dr. Yates' remarks referred to a recent radio interview where Kentucky's governor allegedly called teachers opposing proposed pension changes as "remarkably selfish and shortsighted."

"You are all winners," Dr. Yates told the audience. "I was brought to tears with the authenticity, warmth, and fervor with which these educators were described. How blessed your communities are to have such consummate educators in your presence."

Special recognition was also given by WKCTC President Reece to Patricia Greer, Marshall County High principal; Trent Lovett, Marshall County School District superintendent; Dianne Owen, Four Rivers Foundation director; and Donna L. Wear, Commonwealth Middle College principal.

Winners and finalists were:

Distinguished Faculty (Pre-K-5th) Award
WINNER
Susan K. Crawford, Murray Head Start lead teacher and center supervisor

FINALISTS
Debbie Steele Moss, Community Christian Academy kindergarten teacher
Bailey Frances Wolfe, Concord Elementary School first grade teacher

Distinguished Faculty (6th-12th grade) Award
WINNER
Gena Maley, Murray Middle School visual arts teacher

FINALISTS
Lynn E. Pesoat, McCracken County High School art teacher
Kathy Aileen Thweatt, Fulton High School science teacher

Distinguished Administrator Award
WINNER
Ellen Murphy, Fulton County High School principal

FINALISTS
Amy Scoggins Carrico, Community Christian Academy principal
Ginger Stewart, Concord Elementary School principal

Cornelia Reece Unsung Hero Staff Award
WINNER
Heather Vashti Anderson, Families in Transition coordinator for Paducah Public Schools

FINALISTS
Lakilia S. Bedeau, director of Tornado Alley Youth Services Center for Paducah Public Schools
LeToun Shuriva Bledsoe, a custodian at Ballard County Elementary School