2021 Kentucky Teacher of the Year Teacher Achievement Award Winners

The Kentucky Department of Education and Valvoline Inc. have selected 24 outstanding Kentucky educators as recipients of the 2021 Valvoline™ Teacher Achievement Awards (TAA). These teachers qualify to compete for the 2021 Kentucky Teacher of the Year Award which will be announced in October.

“Now more than ever before, we are honored to celebrate some of Kentucky’s most outstanding educators,” said Sam Mitchell, Valvoline chief executive officer. “Being a teacher is incredibly challenging during normal times. In today’s anything-but-normal environment, many of us have become all-to-familiar with the incredible role our teachers play. Valvoline is pleased to celebrate educators across the state and to recognize these outstanding award winners.”

The 24 winning teachers are:

Elementary School

  • Stephanie Groathouse, New Haven Elementary (Boone County)
  • Toni Mullins, Carr Creek Elementary (Knott County)
  • Samuel Northern, Simpson Elementary (Simpson County)
  • Johanna Parr, Klondike Lane Elementary (Jefferson County)
  • Donnie Piercey, Stonewall Elementary (Fayette County)
  • Noraa Ransey, North Calloway Elementary (Calloway County)
  • Amanda White, Charles Straub Elementary (Mason County)
  • Donnie Wilkerson, Jamestown Elementary (Russell County)

Middle School

  • Timothy Franklin, Paducah Middle (Paducah Independent)
  • Amy Harlan, Garrard Middle (Garrard County)
  • Laura Murphy, Daviess County Middle
  • Laura Peavley, Westport Middle (Jefferson County)
  • Steffanie Skiles, McKell Middle (Greenup County)
  • Jeannette Teater, The Providence School (Jessamine County)
  • April Turpin, W.B. Muncy Elementary (Leslie County)
  • Tia Wood, Ballyshannon Middle (Boone County)

High School

  • Jeremy Byrn, Allen County-Scottsville High (Allen County)
  • Jared Criswell, Wayne County High
  • Lori Knapp-Lindsay, Ignite Institute
  • Christopher McCurry, Lafayette High (Fayette County)
  • Scott Osborn, Lawrence County High
  • Mary Slone, Floyd Central High (Floyd County)
  • Scott Wade, Newcomer Academy (Jefferson County)
  • Ashley Woodruff, McCracken County High

All 24 teachers will be honored at a yet-to-be finalized event in the fall. At that time the Kentucky Elementary, Middle and High School Teachers of the Year will be announced. 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 provide the 24 recipients with cash awards. In addition, the three Kentucky Teachers of the Year will receive custom-designed glassware commemorating their accomplishments.

This year’s program set a record with more than 2,800 nominations and 208 applications submitted.

Judging was conducted in May 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.

“Now perhaps more than ever before have we seen how essential teachers are to the lives of our children. Teachers are heroes,” said Interim Education Commissioner Kevin C. Brown. “On behalf of the Kentucky Department of Education, I congratulate these award-winning educators. They have adapted not only their teaching styles and curriculum to serve their students during this pandemic, but they also have served on the front line, ensuring their students are safe, secure and well fed.”

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. 


About Valvoline™

Valvoline Inc. (NYSE: VVV) is a leading worldwide marketer and supplier of premium branded lubricants and automotive services, with sales in more than 140 countries. Established in 1866, the company’s heritage spans more than 150 years, during which time it has developed powerful brand recognition across multiple product and service channels. Valvoline ranks as the No. 3 passenger car motor oil brand in the DIY market by volume. It operates and franchises approximately 1,400 quick-lube locations, and it is the No. 2 chain by number of stores in the United States under the Valvoline Instant Oil ChangeSM brand and the No. 3 chain by number of stores in Canada under the Valvoline Great Canadian Oil Change brand. It also markets Valvoline lubricants and automotive chemicals, including the Valvoline High Mileage with MaxLife technology motor oil for engines over 75,000 miles; Valvoline Advanced Full Synthetic motor oil; Valvoline Premium Blue™ heavy-duty motor oil; Valvoline Multi-Vehicle Automatic Transmission Fluid; and Zerex™ antifreeze. To learn more, visit www.valvoline.com.