At its meeting in Frankfort today, the Kentucky Board of Education (KBE) presented the 2014 Kevin M. Noland Award to Rhonda Sims, director of Assessment Support and Research within the Office of Assessment and Accountability at the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE).
The award recognizes a KDE employee for significant service to Kentucky’s public schools and for providing inspiration for education. Nominations are made by KDE staff.
Sims is a frequent presenter in front of state school board members, legislative committees, advisory committees and stakeholder groups, said Board Chair Roger Marcum.
“Rhonda has a way of explaining complicated issues in an understandable way,” Marcum said. “Her expertise is sought by other offices within KDE and by outside agencies. Rhonda’s professionalism, enthusiasm, dedication and loyalty to the Department of Education, Office of Assessment and Accountability and stakeholders are immeasurable assets that define the reason she should be the recipient of the Kevin M. Noland Award.”
Sims manages 12 staff members whose work is focused on the statewide academic assessments of more than 500,000 Kentucky students. They provide support to and communicate closely with the state’s 173 local District Assessment Coordinators (DACs). She also provides support and guidance to state and local education administrators, vendors and the public.
Sims grew up in Casey County, graduated from Eastern Kentucky University and taught social studies at the Model Laboratory School at EKU before coming to KDE in 1998. She is married to Jay Roberts, a retired KDE educator.
The Kentucky Board of Education established the award to honor former Interim Commissioner, Deputy Commissioner, Associate Commissioner and General Counsel Kevin M. Noland, who served the department for approximately 18 years.
A selection committee, made up of a cross-section of KDE employees, met, reviewed and rated this year’s nominations based on the following criteria:
- an individual who focuses on the mission for student proficiency
- an individual who is an excellent ambassador for the Commonwealth of Kentucky, Department of Education and Kentucky’s schools
- an individual who is knowledgeable and productive
- an individual who has made an impact in one of the following areas: school districts, community partners, parents and/or co-workers through leadership, customer service, teamwork and community service
Previous Kevin M. Noland Award winners are:
- 2013 Mary Ann Miller, policy advisor for the commissioner and the Kentucky Board of Education
- 2012 Lisa Gross, director of the Division of Communications
- 2011 No award presented
- 2010 Sally Sugg, director of the Division of District 180
- 2009 Linda Holbrook, state Reading First coordinator
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