Several educators have received recognition recently as the Kentucky Outstanding Civic Education Leadership Award finalists.
In all, there were nine finalists selected, and seven serve as educators in Kentucky public schools.
Those educators selected as finalists include:
- Lindsay Duke, Grant County High School
- Timothy Holman, DuPont Manual High School (Jefferson County)
- Brian McDowell, Mason County Middle School
- Marshall Ward, Calloway County High School
- Lisa White, Russellville Independent school district
- Helen Williams, Hazard (Independent) High School
- Kelly Wilson, Bath County school district
Michael Baker with the Hancock County Industrial Foundation was the other finalist. Louisville councilman and Mercy Academy service learning and leadership coordinator Rick Blackwell was chosen as the overall winner of the Outstanding Civic Education Leadership Award.
The finalists have used a variety of approaches to promote civic education to their students.
White is in her second year as assistant principal at Russellville Middle School and has been in education for 22 years. She helps run the CharacterWorks program that is a countywide character campaign implemented throughout the Logan County and Russellville school district.
In this program, students are nominated monthly for exhibiting strong character traits. Their pictures are published in the local newspaper, and they are invited to attend a Citizenship of Character celebration. Each one receives a citizenship medal.
“Our hope and belief is that a unified focus on basic values and character will positively impact students thus helping them become college and career ready,” White said. “Businesses look for employees who have individual strengths such as gratefulness, sincerity, generosity and orderliness that are all CharacterWorks traits.”
Ward has taught history and political science for 36 years, and is currently at Calloway County High School.
He has always placed a heavy emphasis on civic education, he said, through instruction, current event discussions, student government sponsorship, petition drives, mock elections, voter registration drives and more.
“I have been able to assist my students in the development of democratic values, skills and a willingness to want to participate in our political system,” Ward said.
Ward sponsors a Senior Student Government Day when seniors run for county constitutional offices like judge executive or county attorney.
The winners of these mock elections earn the right to shadow the person who is actually in his or her position for a day.
Ward also is heavily involved in Leadership Tomorrow, a countywide program that fosters leadership qualities in 30 selected juniors or seniors each year. It’s modeled after a program in place at nearby Murray State University.
Any P-16 teacher, school administrator, legislator or community organization leader who has promotes or implements student civic learning strategies with the intent of making them responsible citizens is eligible for the award.