(FRANKFORT, KY) – Nine outstanding educators from across the state – three elementary, three middle and three high school teachers – are semifinalists for the 2020 Kentucky Teacher of the Year Award, the Kentucky Department of Education and Valvoline announced April 26.

Winners of the Elementary, Middle and High School Teacher of the Year Awards, in addition to the overall 2020 Kentucky Teacher of the Year, will be announced at a ceremony at 10 a.m. ET on May 20, at the Berry Mansion in Frankfort.

Competing for Elementary Teacher of the Year are:

  • Melanie Callahan, London Elementary (Laurel County)
  • Lindsey Dotterweich, Gilmore Lane Elementary (Jefferson County)
  • Meredith Larison, Longbranch Elementary (Boone County)

Middle school semifinalists are:

  • Erin Ball, Georgetown Middle (Scott County)
  • Sue Ellen Ballard, Bourbon County Middle
  • Garris Stroud, South Hopkins Middle (Hopkins County)

In the high school category, the semifinalists are:

  • Jessica Holman, Boone County High
  • Matt Kaufmann, Marion C. Moore School (Jefferson County)
  • Taylor Sullivan, Larry A. Ryle High (Boone County)

The nine semifinalists are among 24 educators who were named 2020 Valvoline Teacher Achievement Award (TAA) 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 2020 Elementary School, Middle School and High School Teachers of the Year. A culmination of these scores results in the selection of the 2020 Kentucky Teacher of the Year. This individual will represent Kentucky in the 2020 National Teacher of the Year competition.

All 24 TAA winners 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.

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.