Kimberly Shearer

Kimberly Shearer

So this is it — my last column as the 2012 Kentucky Teacher of the Year. I have to admit I delayed the writing of this last column as long as I possibly could, simply because I doubted my ability to squeeze all I’m feeling into words.

For starters, I’m overcome with gratitude. I’ve gotten to see and do things this past year that I never imagined possible.  Some highlights?

  • serving as Grand Marshal for Governor Beshear’s inaugural parade
  • being recognized with my family on the Kentucky House and Senate floors and by President Obama in the White House
  • writing my own column for Kentucky Teacher and writing guest columns for numerous other publications
  • meeting President Obama, Jill Biden, Secretary Arne Duncan, Bill Gates, Sandra Day O’Connor and countless other U.S. leaders and policy-makers
  • traveling to Dallas, Washington D.C., Atlanta and New York City (not to mention many places in our own great state of Kentucky)
  • attending International Space Camp
  • receiving a full ride to the University of Phoenix to gift to one of my deserving students
  • participating in JumpStart’s Read for the Record program
  • participating in a panel on KET’s Education Matters
  • meeting, sharing and learning with hundreds of educators from all over the world

I’m humbled and cannot put into words how grateful I am for this incredible opportunity. Like you, I care about my students, my colleagues and my state, and my role as 2012 Kentucky Teacher of the Year has allowed me to be a voice for all three. I’m no more remarkable than the passionate teacher across the hall, across the county or across the state, but I’ve certainly been proud to represent them all – to represent you. If there is one thing I’ve learned this year, it is how very fortunate we are not just to teach, but to teach in Kentucky.

So, thank you, dear reader (as an English teacher, I’ve always wanted to say that) for allowing me the honor to represent you. Thank you to my husband, Jason, for holding down the fort this year, and to my daughters, Mila and Stella, for their willingness to let Daddy fix their hair some mornings. Thank you to Ashland Inc. and to the Kentucky Department of Education for your trust and generous sponsorship. Thank you to Boone County and to Boone County High School for your support and inspiration. Thank you to my students, past, present and future – you make me want to be a better teacher, a better person, each and every day. And most of all, thank you to my teachers.

Kimberly Shearer, an English teacher at Boone County High School, was named the 2012 Teacher of the Year on Oct. 18, 2011. During her year-long reign, Shearer wrote a monthly column for Kentucky Teacher that chronicled her experiences as a classroom teacher and as Kentucky Teacher of the Year. The column ran the second Thursday of each month. This is her final column.