Graphic with picture of Katie Hale reading: Elementary School Teacher Achievement Award winner, Ponderosa Elementary School (Boyd County)

Katie Hale has three goals when it comes to teaching: promote grit and compassion for others, provide an engaging, rigorous learning experience and prepare students for the modern world.

“My goal as an elementary teacher is to foster a love of learning and develop grit in the classroom so that when tasks do get larger and harder, they have the backbone of a growth mindset to tackle anything,” she said.

Hale is a 3rd-grade teacher at Ponderosa Elementary School (Boyd County). She has served in the school district for 12 years.

Her teaching approach focuses on independent thinking. She does this by working with each student individually to create a plan that best helps them learn.

“The moment that a student enters my classroom, we all become equal learning partners,” Hale said. “We celebrate the successes of others, while personally pushing ourselves to be our best.”

Along with teaching, Hale is highly active in her school. She also serves as a digital learning coach and has coached Boyd County’s girls’ elementary basketball team.

As a digital learning coach, Hale mentors first-year educators by building relationships and helping them build an effective and engaging curriculum.

“Serving as a district digital learning coach has helped me grow as a lifelong learner and affected my students in exponential ways,” she said.

Hale has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Morehead State University and a master’s degree in teacher leadership from the University of the Cumberlands.

She has been honored with awards such as the William Stilwell Award in 2022 and the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching in 2020. She also was named a 2024 Kentucky Teacher Achievement Award winner. 

“To continue to build Kentucky and keep our children wanting to come back to our areas, we need to show them their options and continue to foster growth in the community,” she said.

When not teaching, Hale can be found spending time on her farm with her husband, their two daughters and their horses.