Karen Gill, who today was named the third Kentucky Teacher of the Year in five years with Georgetown College connections, completed the Rank I program at Georgetown in 1999. She teaches Physical Science, including some Advanced Placement courses, at Lexington’s Henry Clay High School. Becky Riley, chair of the school’s Science department, said: “She stands out because of the level of dedication to her job. She eats, breathes Physics…it’s her life’s work. And, Karen may be the most caring (teacher) I know.” Also, see the Lexington Herald-Leader’s early coverage on Kentucky.com

Gill succeeds 2008 Kentucky Teacher of the Year Chandra Holloway Emerson, a language arts teacher at Oldham County Middle School. Emerson 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.

The College community can celebrate Willow Hambrick being named 2009 Middle School Teacher of the Year, too. She’s the Advanced 7th and 8th grade Language Arts teacher and writing coordinator at Scott County’s Royal Spring Middle School. She and Dr. Horace P. Hambrick are the parents of GC junior Gentry Hambrick…and Willow served on the College’s Parents Advisory Council for their daughter’s first two years. Willow is also the daughter-in-law of Professor Emeritus Horace Hambrick and former trustee Maribeth Hambrick (1992-99).

Karen Gill Named 2009 Kentucky Teacher of the Year

NO. 08-091
October 22, 2008

(FRANKFORT, Ky.) – Karen Gill, a science teacher at Henry Clay High School in Fayette County, has been named 2009 Kentucky Teacher of the Year.

The announcement was made today at a ceremony held in the Capitol Rotunda in Frankfort by Ashland Inc. and the Kentucky Department of Education. Gov. Steve Beshear, Secretary of Education Helen Mountjoy, Commissioner of Education Jon E. Draud and Ashland Chairman and CEO Jim O’Brien were on hand to make the presentation.

Lisa Wathen, a teacher at Freedom Elementary School in the Bullitt County school district, was named 2009 Elementary School Teacher of the Year, and Willow Hambrick, a language arts teacher at Royal Spring Middle School in Scott County, was named 2009 Middle School Teacher of the Year.

The three joined 21 other teachers from across the state honored with 2009 Ashland Inc. Teacher Achievement Awards. Wathen and Hambrick received $3,000 each and a customized, art-glass vase from Ashland Inc., while Gill received $10,000 and a commemorative crystal-glass bowl. In addition, the Department of Education will provide a sabbatical or suitable alternative for Gill, who also will represent the state in the 2009 National Teacher of the Year competition. The remaining 21 winners each received $500 cash awards. All 24 teachers received framed certificates and all were further recognized at a luncheon following the ceremony.

Karen V. Gill

karen gillKaren Gill has taught for 18 years, 16 of those at Henry Clay High School, where she currently teaches physics and other science courses. Gill earned two bachelor’s degrees at Transylvania University, Lexington; a master’s degree at the University of Kentucky and Rank 1 certification at Georgetown College. Gill is a Physics Teacher Research Agent, National Board Certification candidate mentor, chairperson of the Henry Clay Pathways Committee and a presenter at Modeling Instruction Program workshops. She is the recipient of various honors, including an Engaging Kids to Learn grant, a Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching, an Ashland Teacher Achievement Award and two Fayette County Merit of Excellence awards. Her professional affiliations are the Modeling Instruction Group, North Central Kentucky Physics Alliance and the American Association of Physics Teachers.


Willow Hambrick

hambrickWillow Hambrick has taught for 11 years, teaching language arts and writing courses at Royal Spring Middle School for the last two years. Hambrick earned a bachelor’s degree at Hanover College in Indiana; a master’s degree at Spalding University, Louisville; and more than 15 graduate hours at the University of Louisville. She has led writing seminars and cluster leader portfolio training for her school and mentored new language arts teachers. Hambrick sponsors the school’s literary magazine and writer’s club, and she serves as a presenter, guest speaker and lecturer for a range of education forums. She ranked among “Teachers Who Make a Difference” by Lexington’s First Baptist Church Bracktown and among “Teachers Who Go the Extra Mile” by her school. Hambrick’s professional affiliations include the American Academy of Poets and the National Council of Teachers of English.


Lisa Michelle Wathen

wathenLisa Wathen is beginning her fifth year of teaching at Freedom Elementary, where she teaches 3rd- and 4th-grade students. Wathen earned a bachelor’s degree at the University of Kentucky; a master’s degree at the University of Louisville; and Rank 1 certification at Indiana Wesleyan. She serves on the School-Based Decision Making Council and has represented her school on the Faculty Senate, County Wide Math Network, Curriculum & Instructional Practices, Comprehensive School Improvement Plan and District Curriculum Map Development committees. Wathen received University of Louisville Outstanding Teacher, two Freedom Elementary Teacher of the Year, Campbellsville University Excellence in Teaching and Bullitt County Elementary Teacher of the Year awards. Her professional affiliations include the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, National Science Teachers Association, Kentucky Association of School Councils and the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.

This is the eighth year Ashland Inc. and the Kentucky Department of Education have sponsored the Kentucky Teacher Achievement Awards. Applications for the program were distributed across the state, and the first tier of the selection process was completed in August, with 24 teachers selected as 2009 Ashland Inc. Teacher Achievement Award winners. Nine top scorers – three each from the elementary, middle and high school levels – were selected, and teams of educators visited their classrooms to view them at work and to conduct personal interviews. From those nine, three were selected as 2009 Kentucky Teachers of the Year. The overall Kentucky Teacher of the Year then was selected, based on a compilation of scores from all phases of the judging.

Ashland Inc. has recognized outstanding Kentucky teachers with its Teacher Achievement Awards since 1988. Nearly $577,000 has been awarded to nearly 375 teachers in grades K to 12.

Ashland Inc. (NYSE: ASH), a diversified, global chemical company, provides quality products, services and solutions to customers in more than 100 countries. A FORTUNE 500* company, it operates through four divisions: Ashland Performance Materials, Ashland Distribution, Valvoline and Ashland Water Technologies. To learn more about Ashland, visit www.ashland.com.

*FORTUNE 500 is a registered trademark of Time Inc.

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