LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 14, 2015) — A two-time graduate of the University of Kentucky College of Education, Ashley Lamb-Sinclair, is the 2016 Kentucky Teacher of the Year.
“The UK College of Education congratulates Ashley Lamb-Sinclair on this tremendous honor,” said UK College of Education Dean Mary John O’Hair.
Lamb-Sinclair, a National Board-certified teacher in her 10th year of teaching, is an Innovator with the Redesign Challenge through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, an Innovative Teacher Leader and Next Generation Instructional Design Cohort Member, both through The Fund for Transforming Education Kentucky, and the developer of a program called Connect aimed at reconnecting reluctant learners.
In partnership with Louisville Literary Arts and Sarabande Books, she has co-created a newsletter called 502LitNews which seeks to engage the Louisville literary community. She was a Fulbright scholar to Thailand and Vietnam and an Oxford scholar through the English Speaking Union. Lamb-Sinclair is an English and creative writing teacher in the Oldham County school district. Her bachelor’s and master’s degrees were earned at the UK College of Education.
Ashland Inc. and the Kentucky Department of Education announced this year’s winners in October at a ceremony held at the Capitol Rotunda in Frankfort. Lamb-Sinclair joined 23 other teachers from across the state honored with 2016 Ashland Inc. Teacher Achievement Awards.
“Ashley’s achievement and work as a teacher give us all a model of professionalism that we both can and must aspire to,” said Leslie David Burns, program chair of English Education at the UK College of Education. “She has done so much to innovate, and lead, and change for success. And she did that by studying and responding to her students. She didn’t just put them first. She put them at the center of her work. I think the most powerful statement about Ashley’s achievements is that they weren’t accidents. She accomplished everything based on her knowledge about teaching, learning, and schools from the very start. Her work in English Education and our Master’s with Initial Certification Program laid the foundation for her to not just get a credential, but also the professional education to thrive and lead with ever since. The entire MIC program faculty is proud to have learned and worked with her and so many others who can now follow her footsteps.”
Burns is currently collaborating with Lamb-Sinclair to write and publish about teacher leadership and education reforms.
“During my time at UK, two really important factors set the foundation for me: Skilled mentors in Les Burns and Renee Boss who challenged me to think about education in innovative ways and consistently reflect upon and refine my classroom practice, and a really strong sense of camaraderie with the talented peers I learned alongside in the MIC Program. These people set the bar high at the start of my career, and I have spent a decade trying to meet it,” Lamb-Sinclair said.
Lamb-Sinclair received $10,000 and a commemorative crystal-glass bowl. In addition, the Kentucky Department of Education will provide a sabbatical or suitable alternative for Lamb-Sinclair, who also will represent the state in the 2016 National Teacher of the Year competition.
Governor Steve Beshear; Education and Workforce Development Cabinet Secretary Thomas O. Zawacki; Commissioner of Education Stephen L. Pruitt; and Sam Mitchell, senior vice president of Ashland and president of Valvoline, were on hand to make the presentation.
Joshua DeWar, a 2nd-grade teacher at Engelhard Elementary in Jefferson County, is the 2016 Elementary School Teacher of the Year. Karen Mallonee, a world language/Spanish teacher at College View Middle School in Daviess County, is the 2016 Middle School Teacher of the Year. DeWar and Mallonee received $3,000 each and a customized, art-glass vase from Ashland Inc.
The remaining 21 winners each received $500 cash awards. All 24 teachers received framed certificates and were further recognized at a luncheon following the ceremony. Among them was one additional UK College of Education alumna, Tracy Lambert, who teaches at Lafayette High School in Fayette County.
“Jane and I would personally like to thank all the teachers recognized this year at the Teacher of the Year ceremony, and we congratulate this year’s winner for setting the bar on excellence in education,” Gov. Steve Beshear said. “Our teachers are a major part of Kentucky’s current momentum. They continue to partner with us as we improve our education programs that are preparing our young people for the increasingly high-tech jobs of the 21st century, and making Kentucky more competitive as companies seek out highly skilled, capable employees. Our future looks bright as we continue to raise our education standards and rankings, and we have our teachers to thank for our ongoing success.”
Ashland Inc. and the Kentucky Department of Education co-sponsor the Kentucky Teacher Achievement Awards. Applications for the program were distributed across the state, and the first tier of the selection process was completed in August, with 24 teachers selected as 2016 Ashland Inc. Teacher Achievement Award winners.
“Our most important assets in education are the teachers in the classrooms. These teachers honored here today represent the best of the best in Kentucky,” said Kentucky Education Commissioner Stephen L. Pruitt. “Even with tight resources and a continual push to make sure all students are ready for college and career, Kentucky’s teachers are proving high student achievement is possible.”
Nine top scorers – each from the elementary, middle and high school levels – were selected, and teams of educators visited their classrooms to view them at work and to conduct personal interviews. From those nine, three were selected as 2016 Kentucky Teachers of the Year. The selection of the overall Kentucky Teacher of the Year was based on the compilation of scores from all phases of the judging.
Ashland has recognized outstanding Kentucky teachers with its Teacher Achievement Awards since 1988. Approximately $727,000 has been awarded to more than 500 teachers in grades K to12.
“This marks the 15th year that Ashland and the Kentucky Department of Education have joined together to recognize some of the Commonwealth’s top educators. When you think about the impact teachers have upon their students, they truly deserve to be recognized and celebrated for their efforts,” said Sam Mitchell, senior vice president of Ashland and president of Valvoline.
Listen to a recent UK at the Half with Lamb-Sinclair and UK College of Education Dean Mary John O'Hair: https://www.dropbox.com/s/ogr6vfh9y6xvj74/UK%20at%20the%20Half%20.mov?dl=0
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