Locals honored for excellence in teaching

Drew Tucker | CU Harlan County School System teachers receive a Campbellsville University Excellence in Teaching Award from Dr. Donna Hedgepath, dean of the School of Education, at far left, and Dr. Frank Cheatham, senior vice president for academic affairs, at far right. Pictured are, from left: Emily Renee Jones and Lealon Scott Pace. Not pictured: Nancy S. Cantrell

CAMPBELLSVILLE — Campbellsville University honored 177 teachers from 66 school districts throughout Kentucky by receiving the Campbellsville University Excellence in Teaching Award at the Ransdell Chapel on the CU campus.

The Excellence in Teaching Award recipients from Harlan County include: Nancy S. Cantrell, of Green Hills Elementary School; Emily Renee Jones, of James A. Cawood Elementary School; and Lealon Scott Pace, of Harlan County High School;

Cantrell is a fourth-grade teacher at Green Hills Elementary School. She previously taught kindergarten at Black Mountain Elementary School in 1995.

She graduated from Cumberland High School and went on to earn her Associate of Art degree in 1991 from Southeast Community College. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree from Lincoln Memorial University in 1995. She also earned her Master of Arts degree from Union College in 1999.

She is the wife of Bernard Cantrell and mother of Angelina Monhollen and Brandy and Shyenne Cantrell. She is the daughter of Phyllis Killen, of Garden City, Ga., and Boyd York, of Arjay.

Jones is a kindergarten teacher at James A. Cawood Elementary School where she has been employed since 2008.

She graduated from Clay County High School in 2004 and then attended Midway College where she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in 2007. She then attended Western Kentucky University where she earned her master’s degree of art/teaching leadership in 2014.

She is the wife of Michael Jones and the mother of Addisyn and Mason. Her parents are Shawna Baker, of Manchester, and Robert Baker, of Winchester.

Pace has been a career/technical education teacher at Harlan County High School since 2008. He previously taught the same subject at Evarts High School and taught at the Letcher County Area Technology Center in Whitesburg.

Pace graduated from Evarts High School in 1992. He attended Union College and earned his Bachelor of Science degree in 1996 as well as his Masters of Principalship and Rank I.

He is the son of Myra Pace, of Loyall, and Bud Pace, of Jonesboro, Tenn.

Dr. Thomas Floyd, chief of staff, office of the Commissioner of Education, gave greetings from Terry Holliday, commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Education, who sent a video message to the teachers and praised their “innovative spirit.”

“I’m here today to recognize the quality of teaching and learning taking place in school systems throughout Kentucky,” Floyd said.

He said being a teacher today isn’t easy, as teachers wear multiple hats perhaps including counselor, disciplinarian, parent, friend, bus monitor, instructional leader, club sponsor and confidant.”

However, he told the teachers that a lot of progress had been made in Kentucky in recent years and people in the rest of the country want to emulate what Kentucky does.

He pointed out the progress that has been made such as: implementation of new standards that are raising the bar on education in Kentucky, more children are ready to take the next step with Kentucky’s college and career-readiness rate having climbed from 34 percent to 62.5 percent, and Kentucky’s graduation rate is in the top ten in the country at 87.5 percent.

He told the teachers that achievement gaps, however, do exist and “We must find a way to eliminate them. That is one of our priorities moving forward.”

He said the teachers serve all kids, and “You are dedicated to making sure each and every child succeeds.”

Floyd thanked the teachers for their gift of commitment to helping children. “Teaching is a life well spent,” he said.

Dr. Frank Cheatham, senior vice president for academic affairs, and Dr. Donna Hedgepath, dean of the School of Education and incoming vice president for academic affairs, presented the certificates to the teachers before a luncheon in Winters Dining Hall.

Campbellsville University began the Excellence in Teaching Awards Program in 1987 with assistance from Earl Aaron and the Ward, Cundiff and Aaron Memorial Fund. The purpose of the program is to recognize the quality teaching and learning taking place in the school systems throughout Kentucky.

Through the awards program, CU presents certificates to teachers in each grade level: Preschool/elementary (preschool- through fifth-grade), middle grades (sixth- through eighth-grade) and high school (ninth- through 12th-grade) as selected by their school districts.

A total of 3,191 teachers have been recognized for their teaching excellence throughout the years.

The Excellence in Teaching Awards program is in partnership with Lexington’s CBS- affiliate, WKYT-TV.

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