For going above and beyond to support education in their home communities and across the region, Forward in the Fifth has awarded the 2013 Appalachian Leaders in Education (AppLe) Awards to eight individuals and one student organization on a leading college campus in south central Kentucky.

The winners of this year’s AppLE Awards and their respective award categories are:

• Educator (early childhood) – Rhonda Crigger, assistant principal, Southside Elementary School, Pike County school district

• Educator (K-12 teacher) – Lana Swartz, head of the science department and teacher, Menifee County High School

• Educator (K-12 support staff) – Debbie Joseph Smith, coordinator of Family Resource Youth Services Center, Carr Creek Elementary School, Knott County school district

• Educator (K-12 administrator) – Jon Day, guidance counselor, Hazard High School, Perry County school district

• Educator (higher education) – Regina French, instructor, adult education, Bath County school district

• Community Leader – Bob Hutchison, business leader, Johnson County

• Student/Student Group – Bonner Scholars, a service and leadership program for college students at Lindsey Wilson College

• Lee and Eleanor Rose Ambassador Award – Chuck Coldiron, business and community leader, Pulaski County

The winners of the AppLE Awards were announced and recognized at Forward in the Fifth’s Education Leadership Day at The Center for Rural Development in Somerset.

The AppLE Awards were started in 2012 by Forward in the Fifth to celebrate excellence in education by recognizing individuals who work to accomplish the nonprofit organization’s mission: to increase the educational attainment levels for all in the region.

“We are pleased to honor our community leaders and educators with Forward in the Fifth AppLE Awards,” said board chairman Dessie Bowling. “These exceptional leaders work diligently every day to motivate, inspire and encourage people to have confidence in themselves and the amazing things they accomplish.”

“This year’s award winners are to be commended for continuing to enhance educational progress in Southern and Eastern Kentucky,” added Congressman Hal Rogers, who helped launch Forward in the Fifth in 1986. “We’re tapping into great ideas from energized educators across the region for new opportunities in preparing our students for post-secondary education and a bright future.”

New Voices in Education regional video contest winners:

Ethan Morton, a middle school student at Harlan (Independent) Middle School, and the high school video production class at Letcher County Central were the winners of the New Voices in Education video contest. Their winning video submissions and top picks from other student-generated videos from the 20 contest entries were shown at the Education Leadership Day event.

Forward in the Fifth partnered with the University of Pikeville and Kentucky Valley Educational Cooperative to launch the student video contest to draw attention to the progress of education in the Appalachian region of Kentucky.

For more information about Forward in the Fifth, contact Jim Tackett at (606) 677-6000 or e-mail