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After a non-traditional route to teaching, Lisa Hawkins has been honored with a longtime tradition of the central Kentucky area.
Hawkins, a first-grade teacher at Abraham Lincoln Elementary School, is the 2013 ExCEL winner for LaRue County Schools. Hawkins, of Magnolia, has taught in the district for 24 years.
The Excellence in Classroom and Educational Leadership designation is awarded in several school systems in the region. It is sponsored by WHAS and E.ON. U.S., a Louisville energy company.
Nominees fill out an application, participate in an interview and undergo teaching observations to be considered for the award.
Teaching wasn’t always a dream for Hawkins. She married after graduating from LaRue County High School, became a mother and was active in her church. It was after teaching a class at church for a week that a friend suggested she consider a teaching career.
While it might not have been a lifelong goal, she found her purpose in teaching, she said. She considers teaching to be her calling.
“There’s no doubt in my mind this is what I’m supposed to be doing,” Hawkins said.
Hawkins previously was considered as an ExCEL nominee, but she always was hesitant to tackle the application process because she felt others were more worthy of the award. But Karen Rice, a fellow teacher and former student, took the lead and nominated Hawkins.
Hawkins said the work of the application was overwhelming, but completing the essays was illuminating.
“I’m most proud of that,” she said. “It really taught me a lot about myself.”
In one, she recalled her own first-grade teacher, who always made her feel special. The memories have given her a goal for the future.
“So now as a teacher, that’s my goal: to be the teacher that my students never forget,” she said.
Hawkins will be honored at 12:30 p.m. March 20 at the school.
Kelly Cantrall can be reached at (270) 505-1747 or email@example.com.
Previous ExCEL winners
2005: Kathy Ross (Magnolia Elementary School)
2006: Martha Page (Hodgenville Elementary School)
2007: Rex Hanson (LaRue County High School)
2008: Susan Phelps (Abraham Lincoln Elementary School)
2009: Peggy Newton (Hodgenville Elementary School)
2010: Bev Heady (Abraham Lincoln Elementary School)
2011: Summer Garris (LaRue County High School)
2012: Heather Sutherland (Abraham Lincoln Elementary School)