The Kentucky Department of Education and Ashland Inc. have selected 24 outstanding Kentucky educators as recipients of the 2015 Ashland Inc. Teacher Achievement Awards (TAA). These teachers qualify to compete for the 2015 Kentucky Teacher of the Year Award, which will be announced next month.

The 24 winning teachers, listed by school and school district, are:

  • Abby Flake, Audubon Elementary, Daviess County
  • Lisa M. Moore, Vine Grove Elementary, Hardin County
  • Sarah M. Reed, Field Elementary, Jefferson County
  • Stacie L. Kegley, Longbranch Elementary, Boone County
  • Michael DiEnno, Lebanon Junction Elementary, Bullitt County
  • Cathy Justus Cook, Julius Marks Elementary, Fayette County
  • Elizabeth M. Lovett, Jesse D. Lay Elementary, Knox County
  • Renee Biddle, Charles Straub Elementary, Mason County
  • Scott L. Pile, Calloway County Middle, Calloway County
  • Joshua E. Sullivan, Owensboro Middle, Owensboro Independent
  • Sara Appleby, Daviess County Middle, Daviess County
  • Peggy A. Helm, Crosby Middle, Jefferson County
  • Faye Smith, Campbell County Middle, Campbell County
  • Patrick M. Goff, Beaumont Middle, Fayette County
  • Jennie S. Watkins, Corbin Intermediate School, Corbin Independent
  • Ella F. Bowling, Mason County Middle, Mason County
  • Emily A. Johnston, Henderson County High, Henderson County
  • Michelle L. Ruckdeschel, Beacon Central High, Daviess County
  • Teresa D. Pendleton, Central High Magnet Career Academy, Jefferson County
  • Victoria Yeomanson, Randall K. Cooper High, Boone County
  • Linda K. Dewees, Henry Clay High, Fayette County
  • Pamela J. Wilson, Russell County High, Russell County
  • Joshua Underwood, Mason County High, Mason County
  • Karen R. Donour, Letcher County Central High, Letcher County

All 24 teachers will be honored at a ceremony in Frankfort on Oct. 23 in the State Capitol Building. Gov. Steve Beshear, Education and Workforce Secretary Thomas Zawacki, Education Commissioner Terry Holliday and Ashland Chairman and CEO Jim O’Brien will honor the teachers and recognize the Kentucky Elementary, Middle and High School Teachers of the Year. From this group of three finalists, the Kentucky Teacher of the Year will be named and will represent the state in the National Teacher of the Year competition.

Ashland will present the 24 TAA recipients with cash awards and certificates at the awards ceremony. In addition to cash awards, the three Kentucky Teachers of the Year also will receive custom-designed glassware commemorating their accomplishments, and the educators will be honored at a special luncheon after the ceremony.

The Kentucky Teacher Awards program combines the best elements of the Ashland Inc. Teacher Achievement Awards and the Kentucky Teacher of the Year programs. This marks the 14th year the Department of Education and Ashland have partnered to honor Kentucky educators.

Judging was conducted in August by a blue-ribbon panel of veteran educators, many of whom have more than 25 years of teaching experience. Applications included information on the nominees’ teaching philosophies, teaching experiences and involvement in their respective communities, as well as letters of recommendation from peers, students, parents, administrators and others.

Ashland has recognized outstanding Kentucky teachers with its Teacher Achievement Awards since 1988. Approximately $710,000 has been awarded to 475 teachers of grades K to 12.