Professional News

Taylor County Teacher Receives First Earle C. Clements Award


LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 9, 2015)  The National Archives, in conjunction with the University of Kentucky Libraries Wendell H. Ford Public Policy Research Center, presented the inaugural Earle C. Clements Innovation in Education Award for Civics and History Teachers yesterday, July 8. The recipient of the Clements Award is Timothy A. Peterson, who teaches social studies at Taylor County High School in Campbellsville, Kentucky. Peterson graduated from UK College of Education twice: with a bachelor’s degree in 1988, and again with a master’s degree in 1996.

Peterson began teaching in 1989 at Jessamine County High School. He also taught at Marion County High School before moving to Taylor County High School in 2010. He is certified to teach advanced placement courses in European history, world history, U.S. history, and human geography. In July 2014, Taylor County Schools selected Peterson as one of six advisors for the Taylor County High School Cardinal Academy.

Roger D. Cook, superintendent of Taylor County Schools, nominated Peterson for the Clements Award.

"Peterson daily demonstrates outstanding leadership in and out of the classroom by promoting and strengthening high-quality civics education…he seeks to improve not only students, but himself through rigorous exploration of information and continuing education," Cook said.

"Timothy Peterson, or as we call him, 'Coach P.,' was my social studies teacher each year of high school," said Kassie Miller, a recent student of Peterson at Taylor County High School.

"In addition to learning about American history, ancient civilizations and world geography, Coach P. taught me what it means to be a globally minded citizen. Throughout his classes, he incorporated practical applications about how our actions affect our next-door neighbors, fellow Kentuckians, and even those living across the ocean. His courses developed in me a hard work ethic and a service-oriented heart," Miller said.

Peterson received the award in a presentation at Margaret I. King Library Building on the UK campus, home to the Ford Public Policy Research Center as well as the UK Libraries Special Collections Research Center. David S. Ferriero, archivist of the United States, presented the award to Peterson. UK Provost Tim Tracy also spoke, along with Deirdre Scaggs, associate dean of UK Libraries for the Special Collections Research Center and co-director of the Wendell H. Ford Public Policy Research Center, and Bess Clements Abell, daughter of Earle C. Clements and a member of the UK Libraries National Advisory Board.

"This partnership between UK Libraries and the National Archives represents our shared commitment to fostering education on public policy and civics for the next generation of Kentuckians. We are pleased to honor an outstanding Kentucky teacher, Mr. Timothy Peterson, with the inaugural Clements Award," Scaggs said.

"Mr. Peterson represents the very best in teaching. His students are well-prepared academically and with the life skills to be successful. They leave his classroom with a real sense of civic responsibility, a greater understanding of diversity, and the confidence in their own abilities to analyze and help solve critical issues in their local and global communities," said Mary John O’Hair, dean of the UK College of Education.

The Clements Award honors the life and career of the late Earle C. Clements and his lifelong commitment to education and public service. Clements’s political career included service as a county sheriff, clerk, and judge; in the state senate and as governor; and in the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate, where he was a close colleague to Lyndon Baines Johnson. Bess Clements Abell, Clements’s daughter, is a board member of the National Archives Foundation, a member of the UK Libraries National Advisory Board, and a UK alumna.

"We are pleased to partner with the University of Kentucky Libraries to recognize Kentucky’s finest educators," said Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero. "We are grateful to the National Archives Foundation and especially to longtime supporter Bess Clements Abell and her family for making these awards possible."

Nominations for the Clements Award come from throughout Kentucky. An independent review panel selects up to three teachers per year to receive the Clements Award and $1,000 each. The award criteria include the following:

Teacher’s knowledge of, and enthusiasm for, the subject and commitment to increasing student awareness of the importance of public service.

• Demonstrates expertise in civics and history content and the ability to share it with students

• Conveys enthusiasm for teaching civics and history and motivates students to learn and achieve

• Employs active learning techniques and inspires students to be informed and active citizens

Impact on student success

•  Motivates students to achieve high standards

•  Initiates critical thinking and fosters informed student discussion

•  Promotes academic success and cultivates a love of learning in students of all abilities and backgrounds

Evidence of creativity and innovation

•  Improves learning by using creative, original and effective teaching methods

•  Uses technology in innovative ways to improve learning outcomes

•  Incorporates primary sources in innovative lessons that improve student achievement

For more information on the Clements Award, see the call for nominations or email Deirdre Scaggs, associate dean of UK Libraries for the Special Collections Research Center, at (put Clements Award in the subject line).

The National Archives is an independent federal agency that serves American democracy by safeguarding and preserving the records of our government, so people can discover, use and learn from this documentary heritage. The National Archives ensures continuing access to the essential documentation of the rights of American citizens and the actions of their government. From the Declaration of Independence to accounts of ordinary Americans, the holdings of the National Archives directly touch the lives of millions of people. The agency supports democracy, promotes civic education and facilitates historical understanding of our national experience. The National Archives carries out its mission through a nationwide network of archives, records centers and Presidential Libraries, and on the Internet at

UK Special Collections Research Center is home to UK Libraries' collection of rare books, Kentuckiana, the Archives, the Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, the King Library Press, the Wendell H. Ford Public Policy Research Center, the Bert T. Combs Appalachian collection and the digital library, ExploreUK. The mission of the center is to locate and preserve materials documenting the social, cultural, economic and political history of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

MEDIA CONTACT: Whitney Hale, 859-257-8716;