Two Kentucky career and technical education teachers have qualified as finalists in the Association for Career and Technical Education’s (ACTE) Excellence Awards.

The teachers – Sarah Raikes, a family and consumer sciences teacher in Washington County and Jacob Ball, an agriculture teacher in Fayette County – were named regional winners in their respective categories at the ACTE Region 2 Leadership Conference in Tampa, Sept. 29-Oct. 1.

Raikes was named a Region 2 Teacher of the Year finalist, while Ball was named a Region 2 New Teacher of the Year finalist. As regional winners, Raikes and Ball are each one of five finalists in their categories for the national awards, which will be announced at the 2016 ACTE Career Tech Vision conference in Las Vegas in December.

Raikes, who is the Career and Technical Education department chair at Washington County High School, has led multiple professional learning opportunities, is a mentor to other teachers, coordinates the Practical Living and Career Studies Program Review and is involved with the State Skills Standard development as a writer and scorer. She also teaches as many as nine different courses to more than 300 students at the 530-student school.

“To me, Mrs. Raikes is more than well deserving of any honor. She is ‘Superwoman’ in my eyes, combating negativity while saving the world one step at time through family and consumer sciences education and the Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America,” a former student wrote in her nomination. “I love her with all of my heart, and without her I would not be the young woman I am today.”

Ball, who was an agriculture teacher and Future Farmers of America adviser at Nelson County High School, now teaches at Fayette County’s Locust Trace Agriscience School.

In four years, Ball has become dual certified in agriculture and biology, offering students the option to take an agribiology course to receive a biology credit within the agriculture program. He gained certification to teach Curriculum for Agricultural Science Education and has applied for and received more than $10,000 in grants for Google Chromebooks for Nelson County’s agriculture program.

“Mr. Ball stands out among his peers for a variety of reasons,” Nelson County High School Principal Shelly Hendricks wrote in her nomination. “He is a very innovative teacher, is eager to learn more about his craft, and has made a strong commitment to his program.”

Three other teachers were finalist in the ACTE Region 2 competition:

  • Connie Harless, a family and consumer sciences teacher at Sheldon Clark High School (Martin County), for the Carl Perkins Outstanding Service Award.
  • Dexter Knight, principal at the Jessamine County Career Technology Center, for the Administrator of the Year Award.
  • Jacquelyn W. Jensen, family and consumer sciences teacher educator at Eastern Kentucky University, for the Postsecondary Teacher of the Year Award.

All five teachers qualified for the ACTE awards as winners of the 2015 Kentucky Farm Bureau Career and Technical Education Awards, which is administered by the Kentucky Association for Career and Technical Education. The awards were presented in 2015 to give the teachers time to prepare for the regional competition.

The 2016 Kentucky Farm Bureau Awards were presented in July in Louisville. Those winners will be eligible for the 2017 ACTE Region 2 competition.

The winners were:

  • Rebecca French, agriculture teacher, Southwestern High School (Pulaski County), New Career and Technical Education Teacher of Year.
  • Veronica Carmical, family and consumer sciences teacher, Whitley County High School, Carl Perkins Outstanding Service Award.
  • Marilyn L. Edwards-Barrick, family and consumer sciences teacher, Barren County High School, Lifetime Achievement Award.
  • Kathy Croxall, family and consumer sciences teacher educator, Western Kentucky University, Postsecondary Teacher of the Year.
  • Wes York, agriculture teacher, Caldwell County High School, CTE Teacher of the Year.

The Regional 2 competition will be held at Jekyll Island, Ga., Sept. 29-Oct. 1, 2017.