(FRANKFORT, KY) – The Kentucky Department of Education and Valvoline Inc. have selected 24 outstanding Kentucky educators as recipients of the 2020 Valvoline™ Teacher Achievement Awards (TAA). These teachers qualify to compete for the 2020 Kentucky Teacher of the Year Award, which will be announced in May.

“Valvoline is pleased to once again honor and recognize 24 of Kentucky’s most outstanding teachers. These individuals play a critical role in preparing students for life after high school graduation, whether that be in college or the workforce,” said Daryl Love, Valvoline’s manager of community relations.

The 24 winning teachers are:

Elementary School
  • Melanie Callahan, London Elementary (Laurel County)
  • Lindsay Dotterweich, Gilmore Lane Elementary (Jefferson County)
  • Kayla Garrett, Mercer County Elementary (Mercer County)
  • Belinda Michelle Landis, Cawood Elementary (Harlan County)
  • Meredith Larison, Longbranch Elementary (Boone County)
  • Melissa Lewis, Tygart Creek Elementary (Carter County)
  • Alicia Lyles, Elkhorn Elementary (Franklin County)
  • Katy Piercefield, Erpenbeck Elementary (Boone County)
Middle School
  • Erin Ball, Georgetown Middle (Scott County)
  • Sue Ellen Ballard, Bourbon County Middle (Bourbon County)
  • Melinda Earsing, Ballyshannon Middle (Boone County)
  • Brittany Embry, Rector A. Jones Middle (Boone County)
  • Melanie Grant, Foley Middle (Madison County)
  • Zachary Hypes, East Middle (Shelby County)
  • Jennifer McFadden, Daviess County Middle (Daviess County)
  • Garris Stroud, South Hopkins Middle (Hopkins County)
High School
  • Ashley Adams, Pikeville High School (Pikeville Independent)
  • Amy Cathey, Marshall County High (Marshall County)
  • James Cornn, Corbin High (Corbin Independent)
  • Jessica Holman, Boone County High (Boone County)
  • Jill Hurt, Bourbon County High (Bourbon County)
  • Matthew Kaufmann, Marion C. Moore School (Jefferson County)
  • Erin McIver, Elkhorn Crossing (Scott County)
  • Taylor Sullivan, Larry A. Ryle High (Boone County)

All 24 teachers will be honored at a ceremony on May 20 in Frankfort. Government officials, state dignitaries and Sam Mitchell, chief executive officer of Valvoline, will honor the teachers and recognize the Kentucky Elementary, Middle 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 Valvoline Teacher Achievement Award recipients with cash awards and certificates at the 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, 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, as well as letters of recommendation from peers, students, parents, administrators and others.

“On behalf of the Kentucky Department of Education, I congratulate these award-winning teachers. They work day after day to provide high quality learning experiences for their students,” said Commissioner of Education Wayne Lewis. “As Valvoline Teacher Achievement Award winners, these teachers are innovators and exemplars for the teaching profession. They are models of excellence in teaching and learning, and I look forward to working with them in our mission to equip Kentucky students with the skills and knowledge they need to thrive in postsecondary education and training, and in the 21st century economy.”

Valvoline, an independent, publicly traded company with its world headquarters in Lexington, is a proud sponsor of the Teacher Achievement Awards and the Kentucky Teacher of the Year programs.