2021 Kentucky Teacher of the Year Teacher Nine Semifinalists: Donnie Piercey, Samuel J. Northern, Donnie Wilkerson, Scott Wade, Christopher McCurry, Lori Knapp-Lindsay, Tia Wood, Laura Peavley, Jeannette M. Teater

Nine outstanding teachers from across the state – three elementary, three middle and four high school– are semifinalists for the 2021 Kentucky Teacher of the Year award, the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) and Valvoline Inc. announced on Sept. 1.

Winners of the elementary, middle and high school Teacher of the Year awards, in addition to the overall 2021 Kentucky Teacher of the Year, will be announced in a virtual ceremony.

Elementary School Teacher of the Year semifinalists Samuel Northern, Donnie Piercey and Donnie WilkersonCompeting for elementary Teacher of the Year are:

  • Samuel Northern, Simpson Elementary (Simpson County)
  • Donnie Piercey, Stonewall Elementary (Fayette County)
  • Donnie Wilkerson, Jamestown Elementary (Russell County)

Elementary School Teacher of the Year semifinalists Laura Peavley, Jeannette Teater and Tia WoodThe middle school semifinalists are:

  • Laura Peavley, Westport Middle (Jefferson County)
  • Jeannette Teater, The Providence School (Jessamine County)
  • Tia Wood, Ballyshannon Middle (Boone County)

High School Teacher of the Year semifinalists Lori Knapp-Lindsay, Christopher McCurry and Scott WadeIn the high school category, the semifinalists are:

  • Lori Knapp-Lindsay, Ignite Institute
  • Christopher McCurry, Lafayette High (Fayette County)
  • Scott Wade, Newcomer Academy (Jefferson County)

“Teachers are essential to not only the educational, but the social and emotional well-being of our children. We have witnessed that firsthand this year,” said KDE Interim Commissioner of Education Kevin C. Brown. “These award-winning educators represent more than 42,000 of their colleagues who are doing anything and everything to serve their students and ensure learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. I congratulate them and thank all Kentucky teachers for their outstanding efforts during these challenging times.”

The nine semifinalists are among 24 educators in Kentucky who were named 2021 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 nominees’ teaching philosophies, teaching experiences, involvement in their respective communities and letters of recommendation.

A classroom lesson review and interview with each of the nine semifinalists will result in the selection of the 2021 Elementary School, Middle School and High School Teachers of the Year.

The semifinalist with the highest cumulative score will be named the 2021 Kentucky Teacher of the Year. That individual will go on to represent Kentucky in the 2021 National Teacher of the Year competition.

Valvoline will present the 24 recipients of the Teacher Achievement Award with a cash award and certificate during a virtual awards ceremony in October. The three Kentucky Teachers of the Year also will receive custom-designed glassware commemorating their accomplishments.

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.