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Looking at the names of winners of the WHAS-11 ExCEL Award was so overwhelming, said school middle school music teacher Kim Root Evans, it brought tears to her eyes.
“How is my name on this list?” she wondered.
But it indeed is on the list, as Evans on Monday was named 2013 ExCEL award winner.
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.
Evans was inspired to become a music teacher by her past educators. She joined band in sixth grade and was selected to play French horn.
The late Nelson Kelley, a former band director with Elizabethtown Independent Schools, gave her free lessons for one hour a week. At the time, Kelley was principal of Morningside Elementary and his time commitment is something the 2004 Elizabethtown High School graduate fondly remembers.
Evans also was mentored by the late Chuck Campbell, a former band director at North Hardin High School, during her first year as a teacher. She said she couldn’t have been surrounded by better educators.
“They were so amazing,” she said.
Just four years into her career, she was surprised and pleased to be asked by Assistant Principal Jeff Lowman to be the school’s ExCEL nominee.
“I was shocked that he even thought of me in that light,” she said.
The process is extensive, but Evans said it made her reflect on the reasons she became a teacher. That reflection instilled a new sense of energy in the music teacher.
“It’s really given me a lot of motivation and a lot of inspiration, for sure,” she said.
Opening students’ eyes to the joy of learning music is its own reward, Evans said, and she has seen the process change students’ perspectives.
“I’ve enjoyed seeing the difference it makes in students’ lives,” she said.
J.T. Alton’s Mark Roberts was last year’s winner, making the middle school the first to have back-to-back winners in the history of the district. Evans will be honored Feb. 27 at the school.
Kelly Cantrall can be reached at (270) 505-1747 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
HCS ExCEL winners