Middle School Teacher Achievement award winner Kevin Dailey, Ballyshannon Middle School Boone County

Kevin Dailey, a U.S. history teacher at Ballyshannon Middle School (Boone County), has been an educator for 10 years. 

The Covington native originally wanted to pursue a career in architectural design, but he realized his true passion was to become an educator. 

Dailey received his bachelor’s and master’s degree in social studies education from the University of Kentucky (UK). After college, he was eager to find a job in a public school system because of his faith in the institution. 

“There are no greater institutions for the perpetuation of democracy, nor for the advancement and growth of an individual, than public education,” he said. “That is why I love public schools.” 

Over the years, Dailey has showcased his love for education by bringing content to life through his teaching style, like when he made chocolate from scratch in class to demonstrate the process used in Costa Rica during the Columbian Exchange. 

“When I use inquiry lessons embedded in sensory experiences, I am not only providing structure for the upcoming unit, I am also leaving students more curious about the world around them,” he said. 

Dailey’s passionate work has grabbed the attention of many education professionals. He has been awarded multiple awards to commemorate the work he has done: the Milken Educator Award in 2021, the Dr. Tom and Betty Lawrence Educator Award and most recently the 2024 Kentucky Teacher of the Year. 

He was even personally requested by the director of the Confucius Institute at UK to lead a summer scholar program to China in 2015. 

“The most eye-opening effect of this experience was how it influenced my perspective as a classroom teacher,” Dailey said. “I have been able to transform my social studies classroom into a laboratory of imagination, where students get to see themselves across time and space.” 

History, however, is not Dailey’s sole focus, He also is a district teacher ambassador in Boone County, a Positive Behavioral Intervention Systems team member and a mentor social studies teacher at his school for Northern Kentucky University. 

All of Dailey’s work led him to be named a 2024 Kentucky Teacher Achievement Award winner. 

“When I was notified of this achievement, I just thought to myself, ‘Man, my dad is going to be so proud of me!’” he said. “I know that this is an incredible responsibility and honor to be in consideration to represent the incredible teachers across the state. That responsibility is not lost on me.”