Educators Recognized for Great Teaching

by Brad Duncan and Jenny Wells

Celebrating its 13th year, the University of Kentucky College of Education’s Teachers Who Made a Difference program honored its newest group of educators at the 2011 ceremony held Saturday, April 30. More than 140 educators from nine states were recognized for the significant influence they have had in the lives of their students.

"The University of Kentucky College of Education prides itself on preparing great teachers," said Mary Ann Vimont, the college's director of Public Relations and Student, Alumni and Community Affairs. "As part of our mission, we also think it is important to honor those teachers who are making a difference in the lives of their students, here in Kentucky and across the country."

The program got its start in 1998 as part of the College's 75th anniversary celebration. With over 90 teachers honored that year and the overwhelming support from the UK campus and community, the College of Education decided to make it an annual event. In its 13 years, more than 1,600 educators have been honored.

Teachers Who Made a Difference is not a competition. Each year, all submissions are accepted up to a predetermined limit with each being honored that year. This year’s total for honorees was the result of a large increase in interest in the program. Also each year, the program is assisted by a spokesperson who helps get the word out. In the past, Dermontti Dawson, Tubby Smith, UK President Lee T. Todd Jr., Kyle Macy, and Dan and Cheri Issel have led the charge. In 2011, UK Men’s Basketball Coach John Calipari offered his support of the program.

"At some point in our lives when we were young, someone stoked that fire," Calipari said. "There was that someone who made us feel good about learning, not just getting A's on tests. That’s why it’s important."

Educators were invited to a breakfast reception and program at the UK Student Center Great Hall and Center Theater. Entertainment was provided by Jamie Bradley, daughter of College of Education Associate Professor Kelly Bradley, and the Lexington Singers Children’s Choir. Also, Lexington’s own presidential whiz kid Jaden Wilkins shared some of his presidential knowledge with the crowd. The program was rounded out by the recognition of the honorees and the presentation of certificates to those in attendance.

If you are interested in nominating a teacher for the 2012 program, submissions will be accepted beginning in December 2011 at http://education.uky.edu/Community/TWMAD.

Monica Harris (Kern) Monica Harris, a psychology professor, received an award at the ceremony.

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