(FRANKFORT, Ky.) – The Kentucky Department of Education and Ashland Inc. have selected 24 outstanding Kentucky educators as recipients of the 2016 Ashland Inc. Teacher Achievement Awards (TAA). These teachers qualify to compete for the 2016 Kentucky Teacher of the Year Award, which will be announced next month.

The 24 winning teachers are:

  • Gina Beasley, Brooks Elementary, Bullitt County
  • Uealajean Crawford, Wyan-Pine Grove Elementary, Laurel County
  • Joshua DeWar, Engelhard Elementary, Jefferson County
  • Sarah Lockard, A.C. Glasscock Elementary, Marion County
  • Emily Lomax, Foster Traditional Academy, Jefferson County
  • Michele McCloughan, T. C. Cherry Elementary, Bowling Green Independent
  • Julie Moore, Wellington Elementary, Fayette County
  • Marcia Ward, A.B. Combs Elementary, Perry County
  • Tonya Artman, Crosby Middle, Jefferson County
  • Karen Mallonee, College View Middle, Daviess County
  • Natalie McCutchen, Franklin-Simpson Middle, Simpson County
  • Meredith Patton, Bullitt Lick Middle, Bullitt County
  • Rick Rafferty, Highlands Middle, Fort Thomas Independent
  • Corbin Snardon, Paducah Middle, Paducah Independent
  • Carmen Thompson, Elkhorn Middle, Franklin County
  • Lee Campbell, Knox Central High, Knox County
  • Cathy Conley, Knott County Central High, Knott County
  • Terrilyn Fleming, Central High Magnet Career Academy, Jefferson County
  • Ashley Lamb-Sinclair, North Oldham High, Oldham County
  • Tracy Lambert, Lafayette High, Fayette County
  • Carlos Pena-Rivera, Henry Clay High, Fayette County
  • Amanda Ratliff, Johnson Central High, Johnson County
  • Pennye Rogers, Todd County Central High, Todd County
  • Wes York, Caldwell County High, Caldwell County

All 24 teachers will be honored at a ceremony in Frankfort on Oct. 20 in the State Capitol Building. Gov. Steve Beshear, Education and Workforce Development Cabinet Secretary Thomas Zawacki, and Sam Mitchell, Ashland, Inc. senior vice president and president of Valvoline, will be present to honor the teachers and to 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 all 24 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 15th year the Kentucky Department of Education and Ashland have partnered to honored 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 $776,500 has been awarded to 524 teachers of grades K to 12.