LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Four local teachers -- all with Jefferson County Public Schools -- were named nominees in the Kentucky Department of Education’s Teacher Achievement Awards Thursday.

The four teachers -- Mandy Ridenour from Audubon Traditional Elementary; Kim Joiner from Noe Middle; Apryl Moore from The Academy at Shawnee and Taylor Clements from Atherton High -- are part of a group of 24 teachers eligible for the 2018 Teacher of the Year Award, as selected by Valvoline and the Kentucky Department of Education.

The Kentucky Teacher Achievement Awards have recognized more than 500 teachers and awarded three-quarters of a million dollars since 1988.

The other 20 nominees are:

  • Amber Adams, Wrigley Elementary, Morgan County
  • Lori Clements, West Louisville Elementary, Daviess County
  • Natasha Craft, Pulaski Elementary, Pulaski County
  • Belinda Furman, Sherman Elementary, Grant County
  • Wendy Gamblin, West Broadway Elementary, Hopkins County
  • Cheryl Nance, Collins Lane Elementary, Franklin County
  • Carla Oetinger, Ryland Heights Elementary, Kenton County
  • Jennifer Beasley, Meece Middle, Somerset Independent
  • Ashley Haynes, Hazard Middle, Hazard Independent
  • Brianne McDowell, Mason County Middle, Mason County
  • Ashley McGaughey, Spencer County Middle, Spencer County
  • Jennifer Meo-Sexton, Bondurant Middle, Franklin County
  • Olga Payne, Daviess County Middle, Daviess Count
  • Amy Argo, Lyon County High, Lyon County
  • Misty Bivens, LaRue County High, LaRue County
  • Kellie Clark, Randall K. Cooper High, Boone County
  • Benjamin Davis, Campbellsville High, Campbellsville Independent
  • Cortney Flannery, Betsy Layne High, Floyd County
  • Douglas Logan, Randall K. Cooper High, Boone County
  • Ryan New, Boyle County High, Boyle County

All 24 teachers will be honored at a ceremony on May 16 in the State Capitol Building in Frankfort. Governor Matt Bevin, Commissioner of Education Stephen Pruitt and Sam Mitchell, Chief Executive Officer of Valvoline, will honor the teachers and recognize the Kentucky Elementary, Middle and High School Teachers of the Year.

From this group of three finalists, the Kentucky Teacher of the Year will be named and will represent the state in the National Teacher of the Year competition.

Valvoline will present the 24 Teacher Achievement Award recipients with cash awards and certificates at the awards ceremony. In addition to cash awards, the three Kentucky Teachers of the Year also will receive custom-designed glassware commemorating their accomplishments, and all 24 educators will be honored at a special luncheon after the ceremony.

Judging was conducted in March by a blue-ribbon panel of veteran educators commissioned by Valvoline and the Kentucky Department of Education, many of whom have more than 25 years of teaching experience. Applications included information on the nominees’ teaching philosophies, teaching experiences and involvement in their respective communities, as well as letters of recommendation from peers, students, parents, administrators and others.

The Kentucky Teacher Awards program combines the best elements of what was formerly known as the Ashland Teacher Achievement Awards that was sponsored by Ashland Global Holding Inc. Valvoline, a publicly traded company headquartered in Lexington, Ky., which is pending final separation from Ashland Global Holding Inc., now sponsors the Teacher Achievement Awards and the Kentucky Teacher of the Year programs.

Reporter Antoinette Konz covers K-12 education for WDRB News. She can be reached at 502-585-0838 or @tkonz on Twitter.

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