The 2016 Award Winners:

Vicki Conyer – Judith P. Whitson Administrator of the Year Award

Jennifer Gream, Kim Reed, Dee Dee Smith – Intellectual Freedom Award

Gretchen Niva Outstanding Service Award: Lora Wimsatt joined Daviess County Public Schools as public information officer in 2002. She has earned numerous awards from the Kentucky Schools Public Relations Association but says her greatest honor is the privilege of communicating the great work being done by teachers in classrooms across the DCPS district. Before joining DCPS, Lora worked for 27 years at the Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer and continues to write a weekly column for the newspaper. She is also a regular contributor to Owensboro Living and Owensboro Parent magazines. She has four children, four grandchildren and a dog, and loves to travel. She has hiked El Camino de Santiago twice.

Stephanie Kirk Classroom Learning Award Winner: Melody Wallace: Melody Wallace is a sixth grade language arts teacher at Daviess County Middle School in Owensboro, Kentucky, as well as a monthly contributor to Owensboro Parent and Owensboro Living magazines.

Elementary Teacher of the Year Award: Cassie Reding: Cassie Reding teaches at Stevenson Elementary School in Russellville, KY where she serve as the chair of the literacy committee and teach 4th grade. She is a Nationally Board Certified Teacher in Early and Middle Childhood ELA, a Hope Street Group Kentucky Teacher Fellow, and an active member of the Kentucky Education Association. She loves inspiring her students to believe in themselves academically and personally as she encourages them to develop a lifelong love for learning.

Middle School Teacher of the Year Award: Stella Baker: Mrs. Stella Fugate Baker is married to Glenn Baker and is a teacher with 31 years’ experience in the Kentucky school system.Growing up, Stella was an avid reader and writer and dreamed of inspiring the youth of Kentucky to develop their reading and writing abilities. Because of this, she pursued a career in education. She holds an A.A. degree from Lees College in Jackson, KY, a Bachelor’s Degree from E.K.U, a Master’s Degree and a Rank 1 from E.K.U. She also has an endorsement in Gifted and Talented Education.

High School Teacher of the Year Award: Kari Patrick: Kari W. Patrick teaches at Shelby County High School in Shelbyville, KY where she serves as English department chair and teaches tenth graders. Kari is a Teacher Champion and a Next Generation Instructional Design Teacher. Kari is a Hope Street Group Kentucky Teacher Fellow. Kari is passionate about teacher induction and its role in professionalizing teaching and improving student performance. Follow her @MrsPatrickSCHS.

College Teacher of the Year Award: Dottie Willis: Dr. Dottie Willis joined Bellarmine in August 2008, she earned her B.A. at George Peabody College-Vanderbilt University, M.S. at Indiana-Purdue University at Indianapolis, Ed.D. at the University of Louisville, and principal certification at Spalding University. Her research focuses on literacy and writing instruction. As Writing Specialist for the Jefferson County (Kentucky) Public Schools from 2002-2007, she published twenty units for teaching middle and high school language arts. She has also authored articles in the Kentucky English Bulletin and Kentucky Library Association Journal. Dr. Willis has served on the Kentucky Writing Advisory Committee and currently is a member of the Louisville Writing Project Board of Directors. Dottie Willis is author of the high school curriculum featured on National Public Radio’s This I Believe .org and serves on the national board of directors for NPR’s This I Believe.