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J.T. Alton teacher receives ExCEL golden apple

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Ceremony recognizes Kim Root Evans

By Kelly Cantrall

Jeff Lowman nominated Kim Root Evans for the ExCEL award because he remembers his own experiences in music class, he said.

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“As a middle school student, I didn’t like music at all,” Lowman said.

Now, as assistant principal at J.T. Alton Middle School, he sees students like himself enjoying and learning in Evans’ class.

“That is what is so impressive about Ms. Evans,” Lowman said.

Evans received the 2013 ExCEL award for Hardin County Schools in a ceremony Wednesday. Evans received recognition from a number of dignitaries and administrators for her work in the classroom, which led to her selection over other teachers across the district.

The Excellence in Classroom and Educational Leadership designation is awarded in several school systems in the region. It is sponsored by WHAS-TV and E.ON. U.S., a Louisville energy company.

Evans recalled several people in her life who led her to the profession, including her grandmother, a former teacher and the late Nelson Kelley and Chuck Campbell, who were music educators.

“I became a teacher because it’s who I am,” she said.

Evans also acknowledged her students’ role in her success, and thanked them for rising to the challenges she sets for them.

“Learning is something we accomplish together,” she said.

Evans invited her former college instructor John Fannin to speak at the ceremony.

Fannin said he usually begins a class meant for future music teachers by asking them about the positive things they hear about educators. His question generally is met with silence, he said. He praised the award’s intent to highlight the work of teachers.

“To draw positive attention to this is amazing,” Fannin said.

Last year’s HCS winner, Mark Roberts, also teaches at J.T. Alton.

Principal Jama Bennett said she “couldn’t help but swell with pride” when a second teacher from her school was chosen.

Bennett said she read the definition of the word “excel” to prepare for her remarks. She chuckled at the inclusion of the word “proficient,” a common term in education in regard to the goal for students on standardized tests. Bennett said it was a goal for everyone.

“We want our teachers to be proficient just like we want our students to be proficient,” she said.

Kelly Cantrall can be reached at (270) 505-1747 or kcantrall@thenewsenterprise.com.