(FRANKFORT, Ky.) – The Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) and Valvoline have selected 24 outstanding Kentucky educators as recipients of the 2018 Valvoline Teacher Achievement Awards. These teachers qualify to compete for the 2018 Kentucky Teacher of the Year Award, which will be announced in May. The programs have recognized more than 500 teachers and awarded $750,000 since 1988.

The 24 winning teachers are:

Elementary School

  • Amber Adams, Wrigley Elementary School (Morgan County)
  • Lori Clements, West Louisville Elementary School (Daviess County)
  • Natasha Craft, Pulaski Elementary School (Pulaski County)
  • Belinda Furman, Sherman Elementary School (Grant County)
  • Wendy Gamblin, West Broadway Elementary School (Hopkins County)
  • Cheryl Nance, Collins Lane Elementary School (Franklin County)
  • Carla Oetinger, Ryland Heights Elementary School (Kenton County)
  • Mandy Ridenour, Audubon Traditional Elementary School (Jefferson County)

Middle School

  • Jennifer Beasley, Meece Middle School (Somerset Independent)
  • Ashley Haynes, Hazard Middle School (Hazard Independent)
  • Kim Joiner, Noe Middle School (Jefferson County)
  • Brianne McDowell, Mason County Middle School (Mason County)
  • Ashley McGaughey, Spencer County Middle School (Spencer County)
  • Jennifer Meo-Sexton, Bondurant Middle School (Franklin County)
  • Apryl Moore, The Academy at Shawnee (Jefferson County)
  • Olga Payne, Daviess County Middle School (Daviess County)

High School

  • Amy Argo, Lyon County High School (Lyon County)
  • Misty Bivens, LaRue County High School (LaRue County)
  • Kellie Clark, Randall K. Cooper High School (Boone County)
  • Taylor Clements, Atherton High School (Jefferson County)
  • Benjamin Davis, Campbellsville High School (Campbellsville Independent)
  • Cortney Flannery, Betsy Layne High School (Floyd County)
  • Douglas Logan, Randall K. Cooper High School (Boone County)
  • Ryan New, Boyle County High School (Boyle County)

All 24 teachers will be honored at a ceremony on May 16 at the State Capitol Building in Frankfort. Governor Matt Bevin, Commissioner of Education Stephen Pruitt, and Sam Mitchell, chief executive officer of Valvoline, will honor the teachers and recognize the Kentucky Elementary School, Middle School 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.

Valvoline will present the 24 Teacher Achievement Award 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.

Judging was conducted in March by a blue-ribbon panel of veteran educators commissioned by Valvoline and KDE, 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 and as letters of recommendation from peers, students, parents, administrators and others.

The Kentucky Teacher Awards program combines the best elements of what was formerly known as the Ashland Teacher Achievement Awards that was sponsored by Ashland Global Holding Inc. Valvoline, a publicly traded company headquartered in Lexington, which is pending final separation from Ashland Global Holding Inc., now sponsors the Teacher Achievement Awards and the Kentucky Teacher of the Year programs.