(FRANKFORT, Ky.) – Nine outstanding teachers from across the state – three elementary, three middle and three high school teachers – are semifinalists for the 2018 Kentucky Teacher of the Year Award, the Kentucky Department of Education and ValvolineTM announced.

Winners of the Elementary, Middle and High School Teacher of the Year Awards, in addition to the overall 2018 Kentucky Teacher of the Year, will be announced at a ceremony at 10 a.m. ET on May 16, in the Rotunda of the Capitol Building in Frankfort.

Competing for Elementary Teacher of the Year are:

  • Natasha Craft, Pulaski Elementary (Pulaski County)
  • Belinda Raye Furman, Sherman Elementary (Grant County)
  • Carla Oetinger, Ryland Heights Elementary (Kenton County)

Middle school semifinalists are:

  • Jennifer Meo-Sexton, Bondurant Middle (Franklin County)
  • Apryl L. Moore, The Academy at Shawnee (Jefferson County)
  • Olga Payne, Daviess County Middle (Daviess County)

In the high school category, the semifinalists are:

  • Kellie Clark, Randall K. Cooper High (Boone County)
  • Doug Logan, Randall K. Cooper High (Boone County)
  • Ryan New, Boyle County High (Boyle County)

The nine semifinalists are among 24 educators who were named 2018 Valvoline 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 2018 Elementary School, Middle School and High School Teachers of the Year. A culmination of these scores results in the selection of the 2018 Kentucky Teacher of the Year. This individual then will represent Kentucky in the 2018 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 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 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, Ky., which is pending final separation from Ashland Global Holding Inc., now the sponsor of the Teacher Achievement Awards and the Kentucky Teacher of the Year programs.