Marshall County Residents recognized in WKCTC's Regional Educators Award Program

Marshall County High School Principal Patricia Greer receives President's Award

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PADUCAH, KY (03/18/2018) Brigette Thompson of Benton was one of 28 nominees recognized with a special red carpet celebration for the first inaugural Regional Educators Awards and Scholarship Program West Kentucky Community and Technical College March 15.

More than 200 educators, family, friends, and students were on hand to cheer and recognize the 28 nominees in the awards program. Deserving faculty and sta from throughout the Jackson Purchase were nominated for awards in four categories: distinguished faculty for grades pre-kindergarten through five, distinguished faculty for grades six through 12, distinguished administrators, and the Cornelia Reece Unsung Hero Sta Award, named for the wife of WKCTC President Anton Reece.

"Tonight, we honor the educators who go above and beyond their daily responsibilities and play a tremendous role in the shaping of education in our region," said co-emcee Lee Emmons, WKCTC's vice president of institutional advancement. "We honor the vital role all our educators, administrators, sta and supporters play in education."

Thompson, a library media specialist at McCracken County High School, is in her first year as a librarian, said the person who nominated her. "She has taken on this role with complete enthusiasm. She has succeeded in making the library a fun, inviting, place for students and learning. She has brought not only knowledge and love for research but creativity and heart as well."

The awards and scholarship program was established in August 2017 to recognize pre-kindergarten through high school educators, administrators and staff members who have gone beyond their daily responsibilities and have worked tirelessly on behalf of students, parents and the community in WKCTC's service region, which includes Ballard, Calloway, Carlisle, Fulton, Graves, Hickman, Marshall, McCracken, Livingston and Lyon counties in Kentucky and Alexander, Hardin, Massac, Pope, and Pulaski in Illinois.

More than 40 faculty, staff, and administrators were nominated by students, parents, community members, and colleagues. Each nominee was then asked to submit an application. Twenty-eight applications were then reviewed by a selection committee made up of educators, business and community leaders who selected two finalists and a winner in each of four categories.

In conjunction with the awards program, a scholarship for WKCTC students interested in K-12 teaching or educational support majors has been established to encourage and assist the region's future educators. Area businesses and organizations have donated to establish the scholarship.

Featured speaker Dr. Lucian Yates, III, said he was glad he was a not a judge who had to select a winner from the nominees. Using the "Ides of March" as a theme throughout his speech, Dr. Yates praised the work of the educators, administrators, staff and their supporters. "From this day forward, on this Ides of March, we will not allow anyone to denigrate or dog-out our schools and our teachers and our administrators," Dr. Yates said. "We will stand tall in the saddle for the best public school systems in the world. And regardless, I'm going to get political here, regardless of what your governor says, teachers are not selfish; they are not self-centered."

Dr. Yates' remarks referred to a recent radio interview in which Kentucky's governor allegedly called teachers opposing proposed pension changes "remarkably selfish and shortsighted."

"You are all winners," Dr. Yates told the audience. "I was brought to tears with the authenticity, warmth, and fervor with which these educators were described. How blessed your communities are to have such consummate educators in your presence."

In addition to Thompson, special recognition was also given by WKCTC President Reece to Marshall County High School Principal Patricia Greer; Trent Lovett, Marshall County School District superintendent; Dianne Owen, Four Rivers Foundation director; and Donna L. Wear, Commonwealth Middle College principal.

Greer, who accepted for herself and Lovett who unable to attend, said she was humbled and proud to be a community member of western Kentucky and of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. "I am very proud to be an educator in Kentucky. As I had time to read through my (awards program), I read so many great things that everybody here who were honored do every day. I am able to do what I can do now because of the faculty I have in my school. My staff and faculty do those things that we see every day and educators truly do the unsung hero jobs that people forget about every day."

On presenting the President's Awards to Lovett and Greer, Dr. Reece noted their efforts to stay strong in the face of recent unexpected tragedy.

"On that day, I had teachers who did things they should never have to do," Greer said, "but never once hesitated to love our kids and take care of them. I do ask you to continue to keep our faculty, staff and students and our community in your prayers. We have been blessed by those and we continue to need those."

Winners and finalists were:

Distinguished Faculty (Pre-K-5th) Award
Susan K. Crawford, Murray Head Start lead teacher and center supervisor

Debbie Steele Moss, Community Christian Academy kindergarten teacher
Bailey Frances Wolfe, Concord Elementary School first grade teacher

Distinguished Faculty (6th-12th grade) Award
Gena Maley, Murray Middle School visual arts teacher

Lynn E. Pesoat, McCracken County High School art teacher
Kathy Aileen Thweatt, Fulton High School science teacher

Distinguished Administrator Award
Ellen Murphy, Fulton County High School principal

Amy Scoggins Carrico, Community Christian Academy principal
Ginger Stewart, Concord Elementary School principal

Cornelia Reece Unsung Hero Staff Award
Heather Vashti Anderson, Families in Transition coordinator for Paducah Public Schools

Lakilia S. Bedeau, director of Tornado Alley Youth Services Center for Paducah Public Schools
LeToun Shuriva Bledsoe, a custodian at Ballard County Elementary School