WKCTC Honors Area Educators in Inaugural Awards Program

Two Murray educators take home top awards

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PADUCAH, KY (03/18/2018) Susan K. Crawford of Murray seemed surprised when her named was announced as the first winner of the 2018 Regional Educators Awards and Scholarship Program in the Distinguished Faculty (pre-kindergarten - 5th grade) category at West Kentucky Community and Technical College

"I just want to thank my pre-school families, probably more than anyone," said Crawford, lead teacher and center supervisor for the Murray Preschool Head Start, "Thank you."

Crawford was one of four winners announced at WKCTC's inaugural recognition program. - two of whom were from Murray/Calloway County.

More than 200 educators, family, friends, and students were on hand to cheer and recognize the 28 nominees in the March 15 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 ve, 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."

Murray Middle School visual arts teacher Gena Maley told the audience she wasn't expecting to win.

"I'm so glad to be on stage with a lot of my friends and fellow educators. I'm so honored to receive this award," Maley said. "You know as educators we have, what I feel is one of the most challenging professions and yet one of the most rewarding. Yet we don't do this for the rewards. None of us do. We do it because we're passionate about education and we do it for kids. And I'm just so proud to receive this award and stand before you as a teacher - in one of the greatest professions that we have."

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 where Kentucky's governor allegedly called teachers opposing proposed pension changes as "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 Crawford and Maley, Teresa M. Butler, attendance secretary and secretary II at Murray Middle School, was nominated for the Cornelia Reece Unsung Hero Staff Award. Special recognition was also given WKCTC President to Patricia Greer, Marshall County High principal; Trent Lovett, Marshall County School District superintendent; Dianne Owen, Four Rivers Foundation director; and Donna L. Wear, Commonwealth Middle College principal.

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