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A 19-year veteran of the education profession, Jeremy Byrn has taught science at Allen County-Scottsville High School for 15 years. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Western Kentucky University, along with certification in Education Leadership, Education Administration, Leadership & Research. Byrn also has achieved National Board Certification.
He is head of the school’s Science Department and has mentored student teachers. Byrn recently led a district-wide professional-development forum on strategies supporting English language learners, and he is a reader for the Advanced Placement Program and Educational Testing Service. Byrn recently received the inaugural WKU Distinguished Educator Award and was voted “Most Inspirational Teacher” by graduating seniors in 2019 and 2020. His professional affiliations include Kentucky Science Olympiad and Kentucky Green and Healthy Schools.
Jared N. Criswell has taught English at Wayne County High School throughout his 10-year teaching career. He earned a bachelor’s degree at Lindsey Wilson College, a master’s degree at the University of the Cumberlands and a second master’s degree at Morehead State University. Criswell has chaired the school’s English Department for three years. He recently mentored two new teachers, assisting them throughout all stages of classroom planning, execution and reflection, and providing feedback and support. He is a recipient of a Campbellsville University Excellence in Teaching Award, and his professional affiliations include the Kentucky Council of Teachers of English and the Kentucky and National Education associations.
A 14-year teaching veteran, Timothy L. Franklin has taught science for seventh-grade students at Paducah Middle School for the past two years. Franklin earned a bachelor’s and two master’s degrees at Murray State University. He serves as a: leader/facilitator for the district’s Science Curriculum Team, grade-level representative for the Paducah Middle School Instructional Leadership Team and as a speaker for various professional-development initiatives. Franklin is a recipient of West Kentucky Technical and Community College Regional Distinguished Faculty Member, Murray State Going the Extra Yard Regional Educator, and 3E Leadership Paducah Middle School Educator of the Month awards and is a former Lyon County Teacher of the Year. He also serves as Paducah’s Innovation Hub Maker Space Director.
Stephanie Anne Gebka Groathouse has taught first-grade and kindergarten students at New Haven Elementary throughout her six-year teaching career. She earned two bachelor’s degrees at Morehead State and a master’s degree at the University of the Cumberlands. Groathouse serves as First Grade Team secretary and is a member of the Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports Team. She has served on the interview panel for new teacher selection and as a leader for various school organizations. Groathouse also has tutored students throughout her career. She was named Faculty Member of the Week at New Haven and nominated for the Florence Rotary Club’s Teacher of the Year. Groathouse received a New Haven Elementary Higher Education Award and an ELF loan through the Philanthropic Educational Organization to advance her education. She’s been a member of the Boone County and Kentucky Education associations.
Six-year teaching veteran Amy Harlan has taught English Language Arts at Garrard Middle School for three years. She earned a bachelor’s degree at Florida Southern College and went on to earn her master’s degree at the University of the Cumberlands. As English Department Lead, and through serving on the Garrard Middle School Leadership Team, Harlan supports and encourages her fellow educators. Additionally, she is a member of the school district's Striving Readers Cohort and an adviser for publication of the school’s newspaper. Harlan also has served as a School to Watch Visit Team member, and she was nominated for the 2020 Campbellsville Teacher of the Year.
With nine years in teaching, Lori Knapp-Lindsay has taught English at the Ignite Institute for a year. She earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Northern Kentucky University. In addition to her role as college coordinator, she is a member of Ignite’s Problem Solving Team and Dual Credit Task Force. Knapp-Lindsay is a: Broadcast Suite trainer; CERT peer creator/presenter; teacher-partner with students pursuing teaching careers; and a Cincinnati Art Academy Program participant/grant recipient. She is a Boone County District ambassador, an Extended School Services coordinator and has long supported Young Women LEAD conferences. Knapp-Lindsay also serves as a Gateway Dual Credit instructor, and her students consistently earn writing awards. She is a member of the Boone County/National Education associations and the National Council of Teachers of English.
Ten-year teaching veteran Christopher McCurry has taught English at Lafayette High School for 10 years. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the University of Kentucky and a second master’s degree at Vermont’s Middlebury College. McCurry is working toward principalship certification at the University of Kentucky, for which he is exploring board games to see if they can increase retention of standards-based skills/engagement. McCurry co-leads Teachers for Equitable Kentucky Schools. He is a recipient of Fame and Teachers Who Make a Difference awards; nominated for both by students. His professional affiliations have included Next Generation Learners, the Kentucky/Fayette County Education associations, and the Bread Loaf Teaching Network.
With seven years in the teaching profession overall, Toni Mullins has taught kindergarten students at Carr Creek Elementary for five years. She earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Morehead State University. Mullins provides digital training for various early-education topics. She planned and executed an in-person session aimed at helping Knott County principals and teachers better understand the Balanced Literacy process. Mullins utilizes online collaboration opportunities with Dr. Jean Feldmen. She implemented the Word Works curriculum district-wide in Langley, Canada, and has achieved two milestones in the Teachers Pay Teachers initiative. Mullins is a member of the Kentucky Education Association.
Laura C. Murphy is a history teacher at the Daviess County Public Schools Virtual Academy, instructing students from three different schools and two different grade levels. Murphy earned her bachelor's degree from Kentucky Wesleyan College and a master's degree and Rank 1 certification at the University of the Cumberlands. She is currently working on a doctorate degree. Murphy recently took Quality Technology Integration and Wit and Wisdom training, afterward sharing what she'd learned through professional-development initiatives. She was named the 2019 Daviess County Public Schools Middle School Teacher of the year and has been awarded the Distinguished Teacher Award. Murphy helped lead the 61st Kentucky Governor's Inauguration and is a member of the Kentucky Education Association.
Sam Northern has served in library media at Simpson for five of his 11-years in education. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees at WKU, a master’s degree at Morehead and is working toward a doctorate. He has presented for the Ky. Association of Gifted Education, American Association of School Librarians, Ky. Council for the Social Studies and the National Science Teaching Association. Northern was named a Mover & Shaker (Library Journal); a Global Learning Fellow (NEA Foundation); and an Education All Star (KET). He traveled to Finland through the Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching Program and to Antarctica as a National Geographic Grosvenor Teacher Fellow. Northern also worked aboard a research vessel as a NOAA Teacher at Sea. He is president of the Ky. Association of School Librarians and a member of the: Ky. Council for the Social Studies; American and Southern Ky. associations of School Librarians; the Ky. Library and Ky. Education associations.
Scott Osborn has taught English at Lawrence County High School throughout his 24-year career. He earned a bachelor’s degree at Eastern Kentucky and a master’s degree at Morehead State. Osborn serves as the school’s English PLC leader and its writing leader. He recently presented at the district learning conference on “Teaching in the Inattentive World,” sharing recent research on attention-deficit conditions and strategies for dealing with them. Osborn also served as assistant coach for the LCHS Academic Team for 10 years. He recently was named High School Teacher of the Year by the Kentucky Council of Teachers of English/Language Arts and was a Grand Marshal for the 61st Kentucky Governor’s Inauguration Parade. He is a member of the Lawrence County Organization of Teachers and the Kentucky Education Association.
With 20 years of teaching experience overall, Johanna Parr has taught kindergarten students at Klondike Elementary for 17 years. Parr earned a bachelor’s degree at Western Kentucky University and a master’s degree at Indiana University. She is a Project Based Learning, Compassionate Club and Behavior Team lead and a member of the Instructional Leadership Team. Parr coordinates professional development and works with teachers to provide resources and aid in lesson planning. She has been nominated for an Excel Award and is a recipient of Klondike Elementary’s Star Quality Award. Parr co-authored the book, Six Principles for Teaching English Language Learners in All Classrooms, and her professional affiliations include KY READS.
With 13 years in the teaching field overall, Laura Peavley has taught math at Westport Middle School for nine years. She earned a bachelor’s degree at Miami University (Ohio); a master’s degree at Ashford University, San Diego; and a second master’s degree at Georgetown College. Peavley also has achieved National Board Certification. As the ATTAIN/Extended School Services coordinator, she organizes an after-school tutoring program. Peavley also chairs the school’s Math Department, is part of the Instructional Leadership Team and is a partnership teacher with three universities. She is a member of the Jefferson County Teachers Association, National Council of Teachers of Mathematics and the Golden Key National Honor Society.
Donnie Piercey is a fifth-grade teacher at Stonewall Elementary. After graduating from Asbury College and earning his master’s from Auburn University, he has taught in Kentucky since 2007. Piercey specializes in using technology to promote student inquiry, learning and engagement, interests that have given him the opportunity to represent Kentucky around the world. He received a National Geographic Grosvenor Teacher Fellowship to Antarctica and represents Kentucky on the inaugural National Geographic Teacher Advisory Council. Piercey is the North American lead for the Google Earth Education Experts Network. He co-authored The Google Cardboard Book: Explore, Engage, and Educate with Virtual Reality, based on virtual experiences he created for his students. Piercey has given keynotes and presentations in 33 states and on four continents. He regularly leads professional development around the state.
A 15-year veteran of the education profession, Noraa Ransey has taught first- through third-grade students at North Calloway Elementary throughout her career. She earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Murray State and has achieved National Board Certification. Ransey provided technology training for Non-Traditional Instruction days due to Covid 19. She mentors Aspiring Educators of Color and is a Kentucky Department of Education GoTeachKY ambassador. Ransey was named Kentucky Education Association Teacher of the Year and Calloway County Teacher of the Year. Her professional affiliations include the Kentucky Education Association, Kentucky Education Commissioner’s Teacher Advisory Council, ECET2KY (local, regional, state) and the advisory board for the MA in Education Reading/Writing Program at Murray State.
Steffanie Skiles has taught music at McKell Middle School throughout her three-year teaching career. She earned a bachelor’s degree at Morehead State University. As a music educator for Orquesta SinfónicaCristiana del Ecuador in Guayaquil, she taught music to elementary through college-level students and USA-music/education techniques to music teachers (P-12) and college professors. Skiles is a recipient of Campbellsville University Excellence in Teaching, Kentucky Music Educators Association Middle School Teacher of the Year and Greenup County Public School’s Above and Beyond awards. Her professional affiliations are Women Band Directors International, Kentucky Music Educators Association, Southeastern Theatre Conference, National Association for Music Educators and the National Society of Collegiate Scholars.
Twenty-four year veteran educator Mary Margaret Slone has taught language arts at South Floyd High School and Floyd Central High School throughout her career.* She earned a bachelor’s degree at Berea College, a master’s degree at Morehead State and has achieved National Board Certification. Slone partnered with peers in conducting story exchanges between students and teachers to expedite the building of school culture. She also provides professional development in reading strategies for the district. As a Narrative 4 master practitioner, Slone trained and presented at multi-state venues. Combining her work with Narrative 4 and the Kentucky Valley Educational Cooperative, she is creating/facilitating a model that will increase instructional strategies and elevate student engagement. She is a member of the Kentucky and National Education associations.
* South Floyd High School consolidated with Floyd Central four years ago.
Jeannette M. Teater has taught courses in special education/learning behavior disorders and equine studies at The Providence School throughout her 12-year teaching career. She earned a bachelor’s degree at Missouri’s Stephens College and a master’s degree at Asbury University. Teater serves on the school’s Discovery Culture and Attendance committees and as the Extended Services coordinator. She mentors new special-education teachers and undergraduate students pursuing careers in teaching and/or the mental health profession through equine programs. Teater has been named The Providence School Special Educator of the Year. Her professional affiliations also include the Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association and the Jessamine County Education Association.
With 15 years in the teaching profession, April Marette Turpin has taught social studies at W.B. Muncy Elementary throughout her career. She earned an associate degree at Hazard Community College; a bachelor’s degree at Alice Lloyd College; and a master’s degree at the University of the Cumberlands. Turpin has served as a district-based mentor for a new teacher in conjunction with the University of the Cumberlands. Her social studies scores for two consecutive school years were in the “95-percent proficient & distinguished” range, contributing to the school’s five-star rating on the Kentucky Performance Rating for Educational Progress. Turpin also began a classroom entrepreneurship project that led to W.B. Muncy being named “America’s Entrepreneurial School.”
An 18-year teaching veteran, Scott Wade has chaired the English Department at the ESL Newcomer Academy for five years. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Indiana University and Chinese Language certification at Hangzhou University. Wade achieved National Board Certification and mentors NBCT candidates. He coached the 2020 third-place Newcomer Aspen Challenge Team and leads the Explorer Club. Wade served as a Spalding University instructor, New Teacher Induction panelist, an Interdisciplinary Team lead and SBDM member. He led professional training for the Louisville Writing Project and Technoversity, and he co-authored an article published in INTESOL. Wade is a 2020 cohort of the Louisville Welcome Academy sponsored by the Metro Government Office for Globalization and a 2019-20 cohort of Classroom Teachers Enacting Positive Solutions. He received a JCPS Superintendent’s Distinguished Service Award and an Alumni of Excellence Award from the IUSE* School of Education, where he’s on the Graduate Reading Advisory Board.
*Indiana University Southeast
Amanda White has taught first-grade students at Charles Straub Elementary throughout her 17-year teaching career. She earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Morehead State. White is a member of the school’s Math and Foundational Standards Curriculum teams, which draft standards for the district to be used in its pacing guide. She also serves as a house data leader for her school, in charge of analyzing information to determine how to place children for best instruction. As a T3 level leader, White served as the lead for her grade level, working closely with other grade-level chairs and the principal to design and create the best school atmosphere for students and staff. She is a member of the Mason County, Kentucky and National Education Associations.
Sixteen-year teaching veteran Donnie Wilkerson has taught social studies and reading at Jamestown Elementary throughout his career. He earned a bachelor’s degree at Western Kentucky University and a master’s degree at Eastern Kentucky University. He presents at a range of education-related forums and has mentored six student teachers. Wilkerson is a certified co-teaching trainer and has led district social studies Professional Learning Community initiatives for 12 years. He recently received an Earle C. Clements Innovation in Education Award. His professional affiliations include the Kentucky/National councils for the Social Studies, Kentucky Historical Society, ArtWorks Community Arts Education, the Frazier History Museum, and the Mary Todd Lincoln House and Friends of Locust Grove historic sites.
Eight-year educator Tia Wood has been a library media specialist at Ballyshannon Middle School for two years. She earned a bachelor’s degree at Northern Kentucky University and a master’s degree at the University of Kentucky. Wood serves as a: GSA representative, building technology coordinator, Professional Learning Community leader, Boone County Learning Management System cohort and a Literacy Plan teacher/leader. She recently participated in the Aspiring Administrator Academy and received a Boone County Education Foundation Innovation Grant. Wood is a member of the Kentucky Society for Technology in Education, Kentucky Association of School Libraries, and the Boone County, Kentucky and National Education associations.
With 16 years of teaching experience, Ashley Woodruff has taught family and consumer sciences at McCracken County High School for five years. She earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the University of Kentucky and is working toward National Board Certification. Woodruff heads the school’s culinary program and mentors a new FCS teacher. She presented at five Kentucky Association for Career and Technical Education conferences and has received Kentucky Association of Teachers of Family and Consumer Sciences Outstanding Educator and Elite 50 Culinary and Hospitality Programs awards. She also is a member of the National Association of Teachers of Family and Consumer Sciences; the Association for Career and Technical Education; and the McCracken County/Kentucky Education associations. Woodruff also is an adviser for Family, Career and Community Leaders of America.