Karen Gill, who completed the Rank I program at Georgetown College in 1999, is one of three semifinalists for the 2009 Kentucky Teacher of the Year Award (see below). She teaches Physical Science, including some Advanced Placement courses, at Lexington’s Henry Clay High School. The reigning (2008) Kentucky Teacher of the Year, Chandra Holloway Emerson, a language arts teacher at Oldham County Middle School, earned her Masters in Education at Georgetown in ’97. Billie Travis, MA ’87, was a math teacher at Georgetown Middle School when she received the top award in 2005.

Nine Named Semifinalists for Teacher of the Year

CONTACT: Lisa Y. Gross | Office – (502) 564-2015 | Cellular – (502) 330-5063 |

(FRANKFORT, Ky.) –Nine outstanding teachers from around the state – three elementary school teachers, three middle school teachers and three high school teachers – have been named semifinalists for the Kentucky Teacher of the Year award, the Kentucky Department of Education and Ashland Inc. announced today.

Winners of the Elementary, Middle and High School Teacher of the Year awards, as well as the overall 2009 Kentucky Teacher of the Year, will be announced at a ceremony in Frankfort on October 22 in the State Capitol Rotunda.

Competing for Elementary Teacher of the Year are:

  • Lisa Wathen, Freedom Elementary, Bullitt County
  • Jan Vaughn Horn, Shearer Elementary, Clark County
  • Barbra Ledford, Harlan Elementary, Harlan Independent

Middle school semifinalists are:

  • Melissa Singleton, Rockcastle County Middle, Rockcastle County
  • Willow Hambrick, Royal Spring Middle, Scott County
  • Thom Coffee, Shelby West Middle, Shelby County

In the high school category, the semifinalists are:

  • Angela Gunter, Daviess County High, Daviess County
  • Karen Gill, Henry Clay High, Fayette County
  • Millie Blandford, Washington County High, Washington County

The nine semifinalists were among 24 educators who were named as 2009 Ashland Inc. Teacher Achievement Awards winners last month. They were chosen based on their scores from the first round of judging, which was conducted by a blue-ribbon panel of veteran educators in mid-August. Applications included information on nominees’ teaching philosophies, teaching experiences, community involvement and letters of recommendation. Representatives of the Department of Education and Ashland did not participate in the judging.

Classroom visits and personal interviews with each of the nine semifinalists will result in the selection of the Elementary School, Middle School and High School Teachers of the Year. A culmination of these scores results in the selection of the 2009 Kentucky Teacher of the Year. This individual will represent Kentucky in the 2009 National Teacher of the Year competition.

Ashland will present all 24 Teacher Achievement Award winners with cash awards and framed certificates at the ceremony in Frankfort. The three Kentucky Teachers of the Year also will receive custom-designed glassware commemorating their honor, and all 24 educators will be honored at a special luncheon that day.

The Kentucky Teacher Awards program combines the best elements of the Ashland Inc. Teacher Achievement Awards and the Kentucky Teacher of the Year programs. This marks the eighth year that the Department of Education and Ashland have joined together to honor Kentucky educators.

Since 1988, Ashland Inc. has recognized outstanding Kentucky teachers through its Teacher Achievement Awards Program, awarding more than $550,000 to nearly 350 teachers of grades K through 12.