Clark, Fayette teachers receive Earle C. Clements Award

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Three Kentucky high school teachers are the winners of the 2017 Earle C. Clements Innovation in Education Awards from the National Archives and the University of Kentucky Libraries Wendell H. Ford Public Policy Research Center.

Amy Madsen of George Rogers Clark High School (Clark County), Steven Riley of Henry Clay High School (Fayette County) and Whitney Walker of Lafayette High School (Fayette County) received the awards, which recognize the state’s best educators in history and/or civics. They were recognized at a ceremony Wednesday at UK, where the awards were presented by U.S. Archivist David S. Ferriero.

Madsen has taught social studies in Kentucky for 26 years. Currently, she teaches U.S. history and African-American history at George Rogers Clark High School, where she serves as chair of the Social Studies Department.

Madsen is a member of the HEART (History Education through Advanced Research and Technology), the only active grant for teaching history in the U.S., and was a 2016-17 PBS Digital Innovator. In March, she studied the history of space flight at NASA in Cape Canaveral, Fla. This September, Madsen will present at the Ohio Council for the Social Studies’ annual conference.

She also sponsors her school’s National Honor Society and Fellowship of Christian Athletes chapters. Off campus, Madsen is a member of Winchester’s Martin Luther King Jr. Unity Committee, which sponsors the annual MLK Jr. Unity Day celebration.

Riley has taught social studies since 2007 at Henry Clay High School in Lexington, where he currently serves as chair of the department. His courses include Advanced Placement U.S. government, citizenship and criminal justice.

Riley also has served as Henry Clay’s head cross country coach, as treasurer of the Fayette County Education Association and as a member of Fayette County’s redistricting committee. 

Walker has spent her entire 12-year teaching career at Lafayette High School, where she teaches courses in government and geography. She is a sponsor of the Lafayette Geographical Society and Young Democrats, which are platforms created to promote civic engagement and community service.

During the summers, Walker serves as adjunct faculty member in UK’s Department of Geography, where she leads a course for graduate students who will soon be high school social studies teachers.

The Clements Award honors the life and career of Earle C. Clements and his lifelong commitment to education and public service. Clements’ political career included service as a county sheriff, clerk and judge; terms in the state senate and as governor; and terms in both the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate, where he was a close colleague to future President Lyndon Baines Johnson.

Clements Award recipients are selected from elementary school, middle school and high school history and/or civics (social studies) teachers throughout Kentucky. Applicants are judged on their ability to demonstrate knowledge of and enthusiasm for the subject and commitment to increasing student awareness of the importance of public service, expertise in civics and history content and the ability to share it with students, impact on student success; and evidence of creativity and innovation.

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