High School Teacher Achievement Award Winner Samuel Whitehead Rowan County Senior High School

Ever since his senior year in high school, Samuel Whitehead wanted to be a math teacher and an officer in the U.S. Army. 

Twenty years later, he is an advanced mathematics teacher at Rowan County Senior High School and a chemical intelligence officer for the 149th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade in the Kentucky Army National Guard. 

To pursue his dream of being a teacher, the Hazard native earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics at Morehead State University and a master’s in applied mathematics at Eastern Kentucky University. 

“I was inspired by many great teachers during my upbringing in Hazard Independent Schools,” he said. “As a teacher now, I understand how none of us enter this profession to get rich; we’re here simply because we care.” 

In his school, Whitehead uses his background in mathematics to assist his co-workers and students in learning about loan debt forgiveness. 

“I’m a huge advocate for the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program and the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program,” he said. “I’ve helped teachers receive over $50,000 in student loan debt forgiveness and develop a plan for getting their loans forgiven.” 

Whitehead continues his advocacy by serving as a member on the Kentucky Teacher Retirement System Nomination Committee. 

For his work as an officer in the Kentucky Army National Guard, Whitehead has been recognized by Gov. Andy Beshear and the Kentucky House of Representatives. 

Whitehead also has used his position as an officer to promote involvement between students and the National Guard to spark potential career interest. 

“I’ve aided setting up field trips for our students to participate in training with the National Guard soldiers,” he said. “My intent is to hopefully inspire some of the students that haven’t found their purpose yet.” 

Because of his exemplary work, Whitehead was selected as one of the 2024 Kentucky Teacher Achievement Award winners. 

“I’m very honored to be a recipient of the award, but I know there’s many other hard-working teachers out there,” he said. “My family is very proud of me, the men and women in the Kentucky National Guard are proud of me, and most importantly, my students are all proud of me.”