President Bush and Emerson

President George W. Bush congratulates Kentucky’s 2008 State Teacher of the Year, Chandra Emerson, in the Oval Office on Wednesday, April 30, 2008. Emerson is a teacher at Oldham County Middle School in Buckner, KY. (White House photo by Joyce Boghosian)

Chandra Holloway Emerson, MA ’97, a language arts teacher at Oldham County Middle School, has been named 2008 Kentucky Teacher of the Year – the second product of Georgetown College’s Masters in Education program to be so honored in recent years. Billie Travis, MA ’87, then a math teacher at Georgetown Middle School, was the 2005 recipient.

The announcement was made Oct. 19 at a ceremony held in the Capitol Rotunda in Frankfort by the Kentucky Department of Education and Ashland Inc. Gov. Ernie Fletcher, Secretary of Education Laura Owens, Deputy Education Commissioner Elaine Farris and Ashland Chairman and CEO Jim O’Brien were on hand to make the presentation. According to a state DOE release, she joins 19 other teachers from across the state honored with 2008 Ashland Inc. Teacher Achievement Awards.

Emerson, who will represent the state in the 2008 National Teacher of the Year competition, received $10,000 and a commemorative crystal glass bowl. The DOE also offered to provide her a sabbatical for spring semester, but Emerson chose the alternative – $25,000 that will go to Oldham Middle for new programming.

“I just can’t take off in the middle of the year,” said Emerson, stressing it would be tough on her eighth-graders and the school itself. “Besides I look forward to the great honor of being a voice for all Kentucky teachers.”

Emerson said she will have input on what Oldham County Middle spends the alternative prize money on – hopefully on the wellness program and one dealing with mental health and/or family issues. “I see us collaborating with community organizations,” she said.

The winner did get to have some immediate fun with a portion of her $10,000 prize, however. She paid for the family fall-break vacation to their favorite destination – Disney World. The family includes husband Steve, the assistant principal at South Oldham Middle who did his fifth year in Education at Georgetown in the mid-90s; 13-year-old daughter Ellen, and 9-year-old twins Max and Brady.

Emerson is looking forward to attending a conference in Dallas this January where she will meet and compete with the Teacher of the Year from all other states. In April, they will all go to Washington D.C. and get to meet President George W. Bush among other things.

A 16-year teaching veteran, Emerson has taught language arts to seventh-graders at Oldham County Middle for seven years – moving up to eighth grade this year. She earned her bachelor’s degree at the University of Kentucky and has achieved National Board Certification.

Emerson presented at the 2007 Kentucky High Performing District Alliance and has served as Oldham’s 7th-grade team leader for five years. She also was selected as lead teacher for Oldham’s Language Arts Department for the 2007-08 school year. Emerson is a recipient of the WHAS ExCEL and Kentucky Council of Teachers of English New Teacher awards and a winner of the Oldham County $1,000 Pyramid Grant. Her professional affiliations have included the national and Kentucky councils of teachers of English, the Kentucky Middle School Association, the Kentucky Education Association and the Goals 2000 literacy project.