(FRANKFORT, Ky.) – Nine outstanding teachers from across the state – three elementary, three middle and three high school teachers – are semifinalists for the 2016 Kentucky Teacher of the Year Award, the Kentucky Department of Education and Ashland Inc. announced Oct. 5.

Winners of the Elementary, Middle and High School Teacher of the Year Awards, in addition to the overall 2016 Kentucky Teacher of the Year, will be announced at a ceremony at 10 a.m. ET Oct. 20 in the Rotunda of the Capitol Building in Frankfort.

Competing for Elementary Teacher of the Year are:

  • Joshua DeWar, Engelhard Elementary, Jefferson County
  • Sarah Lockard, A.C. Glasscock Elementary, Marion County
  • Michele McCloughan, T.C. Cherry Elementary, Bowling Green Independent

Middle school semifinalists are:

  • Karen Mallonee, College View Middle, Daviess County
  • Rick Rafferty, Highlands Middle, Ft. Thomas Independent
  • Carmen Thompson, Elkhorn Middle, Franklin County

In the high school category, the semifinalists are:

  • Lee E. Campbell, Knox Central High, Knox County
  • Ashley Lamb-Sinclair, North Oldham High, Oldham County
  • Tracy Lambert, Lafayette High, Fayette County

The nine semifinalists are among 24 educators who were named 2016 Ashland Inc. Teacher Achievement Award 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 2016 Elementary School, Middle School and High School Teachers of the Year. A culmination of these scores results in the selection of the 2016 Kentucky Teacher of the Year. This individual then will represent Kentucky in the 2016 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 15th year the Kentucky 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 $776,500 has been awarded to 524 teachers of grades pre-K through 12.