WKCTC seeks Educators Awards nominations

Heath Elementary School teacher Rachel Dodson (center) was stunned as she was named one of the winners of the Regional Educators Awards and Scholarship Program at West Kentucky Community and Technical College on March 7, as fellow educators Community Christian Academy teacher Rachel Diefenbach (left) and Fulton City Schools special education teacher Allison "Alley" Evans look on. WKCTC is accepting nominations for its awards program through Dec. 2, and the winners will be announced on March 5.

Contributed photo

West Kentucky Community and Technical College is accepting nominations to recognize pre-kindergarten through high school educators, administrators and staff members in the third annual Regional Educators Awards and Scholarship Program. Nominations may be made by faculty, staff, students, supporters or parents throughout the region. Nominations will not be accepted from nominees' family members.

Nominations must be received no later than 11:59 p.m. Dec. 2.

WKCTC President Anton Reece established the program to recognize the important role pre-K through 12th-grade teachers, administrators and staff play in their communities and in society.

"This recognition program is just one way to show WKCTC's appreciation of our partnerships and support," he said.

Last year, more than 140 nominations for 102 people were submitted. Of the 102 nominated, 28 submitted applications and were honored at the reception and program March 7.

A Paducah native and mother of two, Heath Elementary School second-grade teacher Rachel Dodson -- who won last year's award Distinguished Faculty Award for pre-K through fifth-grade teachers -- said it felt a bit odd talking about herself and her accomplishments as a 25-year teacher, but saw the opportunity as an honor.

"I was absolutely shocked," Dodson said. "I felt like I had heard the name incorrectly. I thought, 'Couldn't be me out of all of these wonderful educators.' My heart was so full of gratitude for the recognition, but mostly for the opportunities I have been able to be a part of in my career.

"­The entire night was amazing. I enjoyed the time just speaking to other educators. It was a much bigger deal than I had imagined, with the food and red carpet and program. It was truly a joy seeing the other educators be recognized. Hearing their stories was uplifting."

Other 2019 winners included Amy Carrico (Distinguished Administrator Award), Sid Hancock (Cornelia Reece Unsung Hero Staff Award) and Stephanie E. Hinz (Distinguished Faculty Award for sixth through 12th grade).

One administrator (district or local guidance counselor or building administrator) award, two faculty awards (one for faculty teaching pre-K through fifth grade and one for faculty teaching sixth through 12th grade), and one Cornelia Reece Unsung Hero staff award (district or local other than administrator or faculty) will be announced at a reception March 5 in the Clemens Fine Arts Center on the WKCTC campus.

In conjunction with the awards program, a scholarship for WKCTC students studying to become educators has been established to encourage and assist the region's future education professionals. Funded by program sponsors and private donors, four Future Educators scholarships of $500 each have been awarded to date.

A special committee of individuals from inside and outside the education profession who are familiar with criteria for evaluation of services in secondary education will make the recommended selections. All nominated individuals who complete a nominee application are honored during the reception. Everyone who is nominated for the award will receive a copy of the nomination.

"Making a difference daily is what being an educator is all about," Dodson said. "I have been extremely blessed with a wonderful career. This recognition made me take a moment to look at my accomplishments. I am proud of my career with the many opportunities it has laid in front of me. Thank you, WKCTC, for recognizing our educators with these awards."

To submit a nomination, visit westkentucky.kctcs.edu/community/regional-educators/index.aspx. To contribute to the scholarship fund or serve as a sponsor for the 2020 Regional Educators Awards and Scholarship Program, contact Lee Emmons at lee.emmons@kctcs.edu or 270-534-3084. Event sponsors will be featured in the program's publications.

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