The Kentucky Department of Education and Valvoline Inc. have named 24 outstanding Kentucky educators as recipients of the 2023 Valvoline™ Teacher Achievement Awards, including three Northern Kentucky teachers.

These teachers qualify to compete for the 2023 Kentucky Teacher of the Year award, which will be announced in September.

“The Kentucky Teacher of the Year awards are a highlight each year for us at Valvoline,” said Sam Mitchell, Valvoline’s CEO. “Kentucky teachers are some of the best teachers in the country. Their tireless efforts to educate future Kentucky leaders are exemplary. Valvoline is proud to celebrate and recognize these exceptional teachers.

The 24 winning teachers are:

Primary school

• Rebecca Brewer, Norton Commons Elementary (Jefferson County)
• Ashley Buchanon, Rockfield Elementary (Warren County)
• Kelly Gates, Pride Elementary (Hopkins County)
• Amber Hays, Thelma B. Johnson Early Learning Center (Henderson County)
• Shannon Kay, New Haven Elementary School (Boone County)
• Julie Moore, School of Creative and Performing Arts at Bluegrass (Fayette County)
• Melinda Richardson, Clay City Elementary (Powell County)
• Cassandra Walden, East Bernstadt Primary (East Bernstadt Independent)

middle school

• Caitlin Buckley, Kentucky School for the Deaf
• Angela Dilts-Pollock, Farnsley Middle (Jefferson County)
• Nathaniel Green, Newport High (Newport Independent Schools)
• Danielle Hicks, Clinton County Center
• Justin Mitchell, Franklin-Simpson Middle (Simpson County)
• Mandy Perez, Crittenden County Center
• Rhoda Whitaker, Whitesburg Middle (Letcher County)
• Charlena Williams, Hancock County Center

High school

• Cathy Conley, Knott County Central High School (Knott County)
• Eddie Groves, Ohio County High School
• Tina Henry, Boyle County High School
• Robin Kemp, Highlands High (Fort Thomas Independent)
• Victoria Mohon, Christian County High School
• Lauren Niemann, Fern Creek High (Jefferson County)
• Amber L. Sergeant, Woodford County High School
• Steven Thomas, Green County Area Technology Center (Green County)

“Teachers work hard every day to help students develop the skills necessary to pursue their dreams,” said Kentucky Education Commissioner Jason E. Glass. “On behalf of the Kentucky Department of Education, I congratulate these dedicated and award-winning teachers. I thank all the teachers for inspiring, motivating and supporting the students of Kentucky. »

The 24 teachers will be honored at a ceremony in Frankfurt on September 20. At that time, Kentucky Elementary, Middle, and High School Teachers of the Year will be announced. From this group of three finalists, Kentucky’s 2023 Teacher of the Year will be nominated and will represent the state in the national Teacher of the Year competition.

Valvoline will present the 24 winners with cash prizes. Additionally, Kentucky’s three Teachers of the Year will receive personalized glassware commemorating their accomplishments.

This year, KDE received 1,987 teacher nominations from 171 school districts. Of this number, 312 teachers completed their application.

“It was the first time that we received at least one nomination from every school district in the Commonwealth,” said Toni Konz Tatman, communications manager for KDE. “Just being nominated for this award means a lot to our teachers, so we appreciate everyone who took the time to nominate their favorite teacher.”

Judging was conducted in June by a panel of veteran educators from across the state. Applications included information about the applicants’ teaching philosophies, teaching experiences, and involvement in their respective communities, as well as letters of recommendation from peers, students, parents, administrators, and others. people.

Valvoline, an independent, publicly traded company with global headquarters in Lexington, is the sponsor of the Teacher Achievement Awards and the Kentucky Teacher of the Year program.