Nine outstanding teachers from across the state – three elementary, three middle and three high school teachers – are semifinalists for the 2015 Kentucky Teacher of the Year award, the Kentucky Department of Education and Ashland Inc. announced Monday.

Winners of the Elementary, Middle and High School Teacher of the Year awards, in addition to the overall 2015 Kentucky Teacher of the Year, will be announced at a ceremony in Frankfort at 10 a.m. ET on Oct. 23, in the Rotunda of the Capitol Building.

Competing for Elementary Teacher of the Year are:

• Stacie L. Kegley, Longbranch Elementary, Boone County
• Sarah M. Reed, Field Elementary, Jefferson County
• Elizabeth M. Lovett, Jesse D. Lay Elementary, Knox County

Middle school semifinalists are:

• Sara Appleby, Daviess County Middle, Daviess County
• Faye Smith, Campbell County Middle, Campbell County
• Ella F. Bowling, Mason County Middle, Mason County

In the high school category, the semifinalists are:

• Emily A. Johnston, Henderson County High, Henderson County
• Victoria Yeomanson, Randall K. Cooper High, Boone County
• Joshua Underwood, Mason County High, Mason County

The nine semifinalists are among 24 educators who were named 2015 Ashland Inc. Teacher Achievement Award (TAA) winners. They were chosen based on their scores from the first round of judging, which was conducted by a blue-ribbon panel of veteran educators. Applications included information on nominees’ teaching philosophies, teaching experiences, involvement in their respective communities and letters of recommendation.

Classroom visits and personal interviews with each of the nine semifinalists will result in the selection of the 2015 Elementary School, Middle School and High School Teachers of the Year. A culmination of these scores results in the selection of the 2015 Kentucky Teacher of the Year. This individual then will represent Kentucky in the 2015 National Teacher of the Year competition.

Ashland will present the 24 Teacher Achievement Award recipients with cash awards and certificates at the awards ceremony in Frankfort. In addition to cash awards, the three Kentucky Teachers of the Year also will receive custom-designed glassware commemorating their accomplishments, and all 24 educators will be honored at a special luncheon that day.
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.

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