Local Teachers Honored for Excellence in Teaching

Campbellsville University honors 166 teachers throughout 58 Kentucky school districts for excellence in teaching

By Joan C. McKinney, news and publications coordinator and Mikayla Smith, student news writer

CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. – Campbellsville University honored 166 teachers from 58 school districts throughout Kentucky by receiving the Campbellsville University Excellence in Teaching Award Saturday, May 10 at the Ransdell Chapel on the CU campus.

Bill Goodman, host of “Kentucky Tonight” and “One to One” on Kentucky Educational Television, spoke to the approximate 400 teachers and their guests by discussing “What is a teacher for?”

Goodman told several stories of successful people including Jesse Stuart, Pearl Arredondo, Ramsey Musallam, Adam Braun and Marina Keegan, all of whom brought their talents to make the world a better place.

Goodman said these people had inspiring teachers in their lives who taught them to write, to “get it right” instead of “getting it wrong,” were driven and had passion, had curiosity, life changing experiences and intense reflection.

One story was of Adam Braun, who made the world his classroom by going throughout the world asking one child per country he visited, “If you could have anything in the world, what would you want most?”  The children from Hawaii, to Beijing and Vietnam, wanted to dance, to have a book and to have their mother be healthy.

But one little boy, a street beggar in India, wanted a pencil. Braun gave him a No. 2 yellow pencil, and Braun thought, “Could something as small as a pencil, the foundation of an education, unlock a child’s potential?”

Today, his non-profit organization has built schools in Africa, Asia and Latin America and delivered over 5 million educational hours to children in poverty. In 2012, he was named to the Forbes “30 Under 30 List.”

Goodman quoted Jesse Stuart who said, “We are fortunate to be born in America. Teaching is a calling in the old fashion pulpit sense…teaching is spiritual and has to do with values, with how we choose to live our lives.

“As a teacher, I have tried to go beyond the textbooks into the character – stressing honesty, goodness and make each life count for something.”

Goodman told the teachers that our children and grandchildren depend on them every day, and “You are to be honored and congratulated much more than you are.”

In conclusion, he asked all the teachers to stand and recite together: “I am a teacher! I am to be honored and lifted up every day! I am to be celebrated! I am a teacher.”

Dr. Michael V. Carter, president of Campbellsville University, told the teachers he was proud of them and that education is the “most powerful force on the planet.”

“Teaching is the first of all disciplines,” he said. “Thank you for the outstanding job you do for us.”

He quoted Titus 2:7 that says: “Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech…”He said the teachers being honored embody those traits.

Dr. Donna Hedgepath, dean of the School of Education, quoted: “Teaching is a profession that creates all others.” She said she taught 10 years in the public school system, and “I really do respect your work.”

Cyndi Crowder Chadwick, a 2006 graduate of CU, led her 3rd grade Campbellsville Elementary Choir in two songs.

Dr. John Chowning, vice president for church and external relations and executive assistant to the president, told the teachers he “commended” them before he introduced Goodman.

Dr. Frank Cheatham, senior vice president for academic affairs, Dr. Chuck Hamilton, associate professor of education and chair of the undergraduate program at CU, and Hedgepath presented the certificates to the teachers before a luncheon in Winters Dining Hall.

Campbellsville University began the Excellence in Teaching Awards Program in 1987 with assistance from Earl Aaron and the Ward, Cundiff and Aaron Memorial Fund. The purpose of the program is to recognize the quality teaching and learning taking place in the school systems throughout Kentucky.

Through the awards program, CU presents certificates to teachers in each grade level [preschool/elementary (P-five), middle grades (six to eight) and high school (nine to 12)] as selected by their school districts.

At this 28th annual program, CU recognized 166 teachers from 58 school districts. A total of 3,014 teachers have been recognized for their teaching excellence throughout the years.

The Excellence in Teaching Awards program is in partnership with Lexington’s CBS-affiliate, WKYT-TV.

The Excellence in Teaching Award recipients include the following with their superintendent listed first:

Rockcastle County School System- David A. Pensol, superintendent; Lois Renee Burdette, Roundstone Elementary School; Gina Leigh Nicely, Rockcastle County Middle School; Amy Leigh Lewis, Rockcastle County High School.

Burdette is a fifth grade teacher at Roundstone Elementary School where she has taught since 1989. She graduated from Mt. Vernon High School in 1966.

In 1989 she earned her bachelor’s degree from Eastern Kentucky University. Also from Eastern, she received her Rank I in 1999.

She is the wife of Ronnie Burdett and the mother of Tracy, William and Timothy Burdett.

Her parents are Monroe and Wetona Reams.

Nicely is a 1979 graduate of Rockcastle County High School who teaches sixth grade specific learning disabilities at Rockcastle County Middle School.

She graduated from Eastern Kentucky University in 1996 with her bachelor’s degree in special education-learning behavior disorders. Continuing her education at Eastern, she earned her master’s of arts in leadership in 2006.

She is the wife of Jeffrey Nicely and the mother of Layne Nicely and Nicole Helton.

Her parents are Kenneth and Ruby Cornelius of Mt. Vernon, Ky.

Lewis is a math teacher at Rockcastle County High School having taught there since 2006. She is a 1995 graduate of Rockcastle County High School.

She is a 2000 graduate of the University of the Cumberlands with her bachelor’s degree in mathematics education (secondary certification). Her Rank I in school counseling was earned in 2011 from Eastern Kentucky University.

She is the wife of Harvey Lewis and the mother of Madilyn and Sophia Lewis.

Her parents are Sam and Judy Ford of Mt. Vernon, Ky.

Campbellsville University is a widely acclaimed Kentucky-based Christian university with more than 3,600 students offering 63 undergraduate options, 17 master’s degrees, five postgraduate areas and eight pre-professional programs. The website for complete information is campbellsville.edu.

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CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. – Rockcastle County School System teachers receive a Campbellsville University Excellence in Teaching Award from Dr. Donna Hedgepath, dean of the School of Education, at far left, and Dr. Frank Cheatham, senior vice president for academic affairs, at far right. Teachers, beginning from left, are: Lois Burdett, of Roundstone Elementary School; Gina Nicely, of Rockcastle County Middle School; and Amy Lewis, of Rockcastle County High School. (Campbellsville University Photo by Linda Waggener)



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