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ISSUE: 2013 ExCEL Award winners
OUR VIEW: Three educators exemplify excellence
A long-time educator with 24 years of teaching experience, an instructor who began her career as a part-time reading coach and a middle school music teacher inspired to teach by a former band instructor have been recognized as ExCEL Award winners.
The Excellence in Classroom and Educational Leadership awards are presented annually by WHAS-11. The award process recognizes educators who are making a significant impact and difference because of their unique initiative, innovation and enthusiasm in their classrooms. Along with co-sponsor E.ON U.S., a Louisville energy company, WHAS designated ExCEL winners in numerous school districts across the region. An educator in each of three area school districts were selected as ExCEL recipients this year.
For Hardin County Schools, J.T. Alton Middle School music teacher Kim Root Evans was recognized.
A 2004 graduate of Elizabethtown High School and educator of four years, Evans traced her personal experience with past teachers and music instructors as her inspiration to become a teacher. She recalls the time commitment provided her by the late Nelson Kelley, former band director with EIS, in giving free music lessons when she was a girl. She also notes the mentoring she received as a first year teacher from the late Chuck Campbell, former North Hardin High School band director, as another important milestone in her life and career. “They were so amazing”, Evans said. Now, Evans says she takes inspiration from her own students as their perspectives are changed through introducing them to the world of music in her classroom.
Helmwood Heights Elementary School’s Pam Hinton was recognized as Elizabethtown Independent Schools ExCEL winner.
Now a fourth-grade teacher at the school, Hinton began her career there as part-time reading coach. She points to her experiences in homeschooling a child with special needs as her basis for understanding the importance of tailoring one’s instructional style to the individual needs of students. “Everyone can learn,” Hinton said. “Each student in my room deserves an education suited for him or her.” Principal Michelle Hart praised Hinton, saying she has a unique approach and doesn’t waste a minute of instructional time and opportunity in her classroom.
Abraham Lincoln Elementary School’s Lisa Hawkins is LaRue County Schools’ ExCEL honoree.
Hawkins, a first-grade teacher and 24-year veteran of the school district, recounts being encouraged by a friend to pursue education as a career after leading a class at her church. Since that time, she describes teaching as her calling. “There’s no doubt in my mind this is what I’m supposed to be doing,” Hawkins said. Although identified for the award before, it was the nomination of one of her fellow teachers who also happens to be a former student of Hawkins that ultimately led to her selection this year.
Congratulations to Evans, Hinton and Hawkins on their success and impact inside the classroom, and for being selected as the area’s three ExCEL Award educators.
This editorial represents a consensus of The News-Enterprise's editorial board.