(FRANKFORT, Ky.) – How would you like to recognize one of the unsung heroes of Kentucky’s classrooms? Well, you have your chance, with nominations now being accepted for the 2018 Kentucky Teacher Awards.

Valvoline and the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) co-sponsor the Kentucky Teacher Achievement Awards. Applications for the program are distributed across the state, from which 24 teachers are selected as Valvoline Inc. Teacher Achievement Award winners. Any full-time public school teacher in the state with at least three years of experience is eligible for one of these awards.

Nine top scorers – each from the elementary, middle and high school levels – are selected, and teams of educators visit their classrooms to view them at work and to conduct personal interviews. From those nine, three are selected as Kentucky Teachers of the Year. The selection of the overall Kentucky Teacher of the Year is based on the compilation of scores from all phases of the judging.

“Anyone can nominate a teacher,” said Donna Melton, state coordinator of the Teacher of the Year program. “This gives principals, teachers, parents, students and community leaders the opportunity to recognize just how important our classroom teachers are. We know we have a lot of excellent educators out there across the Commonwealth. Now is the time to let us know who you think is doing a great job every day in one of the most important jobs I can imagine – educating the children who are the future of this state.”

Nominations – which include the teacher’s name, where they teach and a brief description of why they should be recognized – may be submitted electronically by visiting the 2018 Kentucky Teacher of the Year website. The deadline for nominations is Feb. 1.

All nominated teachers are required to complete a formal application that will be sent to them by KDE. Those applications must be submitted by Feb. 20. Judging will take place in March by a blue ribbon panel of education professionals from around the state.

Following site visits and personal interviews with nine semifinalists in April, the Kentucky Teacher of the Year will be announced in Frankfort in May. At that time, all 24 teachers will be honored with cash awards and other mementos. Teacher Achievement Award winners will receive a cash gift of $500; two of the three finalists will receive a cash gift of $3,000; and the Teacher of the Year will receive a cash prize of $10,000, along with an exciting sabbatical opportunity. The Kentucky Teacher of the Year then will represent the state in the National Teacher of the Year competition.

“These awards are one small way Valvoline and KDE can recognize great teachers,” Melton said. “But we can’t do our job if we don’t hear from you first. So come on Kentucky, show your favorite teacher some love and submit their names for consideration today.”

Now in its 17th year, the Kentucky Teacher Awards program is an innovative collaboration between private industry and public education.