Steven Thomas didn’t take the “traditional” route to become the educator he is today. After graduating high school, Thomas did not initially attend college with the goal of becoming a teacher. Instead, he chose to apply the skills he learned in his agriculture classes, under teachers William Wallace Evans and Matt Chaliff at Taylor County High School, to pursue a career in welding.
Victoria Mohon, an agriculture teacher at Christian County High School, helps her students work on both their strengths and weaknesses, as well as providing support for them beyond high school.
Nominations are now being accepted for the 2025 Kentucky Teacher of the Year awards. Presented by the Kentucky Department of Education, the awards celebrate some of the Commonwealth’s most outstanding educators.
In her 28 years as an educator, Rhoda Whitaker has taught at the elementary, middle and high school levels, but she found her calling as a teacher at Whitesburg Middle School (Letcher County) with students with disabilities.
If you ask 8th-grade social studies teacher Justin Mitchell what lesson defines his teaching, he’ll say Colonial America. “This is such a crucial and complex period of time, with us going from being well under the rule of Great Britain to being our own country in just 20 years.” said Mitchell. But in order to get his students to fully understand and resonate with the founding of America, he knew he couldn’t just stick to worksheets and note-taking.
Danielle Hicks began her college experience as a pre-med student, but she soon discovered that she could not stand the sight of blood. After exploring different career paths, Hicks found her passion for education.
As a 15-year veteran teacher, Shannon Kay knows how important education can be in a child’s life. She currently teaches 1st grade in Boone County, but she also has taught preschool and kindergarten.
As the science teacher at the School for the Creative and Performing Arts at Bluegrass (Fayette County), Julie Moore is a strong advocate for arts-integrated education as a part of a student’s success.
For the past decade, Ashley Buchanon has been an educator and a Kentucky mathematics teacher leader.