London Elementary's Callahan wins 2020 Elementary School Teacher of the Year


FRANKFORT, Ky. – Melanie Callahan, a fourth grade teacher at London Elementary, is the 2020 Elementary School Teacher of the Year.

Erin Elizabeth Ball, a language arts teacher at Georgetown Middle School in Scott County, was named the 2020 Kentucky Teacher of the Year. Ball has four years of teaching experience in Scott County Schools.

Matthew Kaufmann, an English teacher at Marion C. Moore School (Jefferson County), was named the 2020 High School Teacher of the Year.

Valvoline Inc™ and the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) made the announcement Monday morning at a ceremony at the Berry Mansion in Frankfort. Secretary of Education and Workforce Development Derrick Ramsey, Commissioner of Education Wayne Lewis and Valvoline CEO Sam Mitchell were on hand to make the presentation.

The three joined 21 other teachers from across the state honored with 2020 Valvoline Teacher Achievement Awards.

“These teachers ignite learning and provide exemplary instruction in classrooms throughout our Commonwealth,” Lewis said. “They are student-focused leaders and stewards of change. I look forward to working with them as we map a course to close the achievement gap and raise the learning bar to ensure that all of our students reach higher levels of learning.”

Ball received $10,000 and a commemorative art-glass statuette from Valvoline, and Callahan and Kaufmann each received $3,000 and a customized art glass statuette. In addition, the KDE will provide an ambassadorship or suitable alternative for Ball, who also will represent the state in the 2020 National Teacher of the Year competition.

The remaining 21 winners each received $500 cash awards. All 24 teachers received framed certificates and were recognized at a luncheon following the ceremony.

“It is my pleasure to once again recognize the 24 Valvoline Teacher Achievement Award winners and the Kentucky Teachers of the Year,” said Sam Mitchell, CEO of Valvoline. “Having the opportunity to recognize and support outstanding teachers that bring energy, passion and dedication to the classroom highlights our commitment to education, especially in preparing students to excel in a global society.”

A veteran member of the teaching profession, Callahan has taught fourth-grade students at London Elementary for a year, prior to that Callahan served as Creative and Performing Arts Specialist at Cold Hill Elementary School.

Callahan earned a bachelor’s degree at the University of Kentucky, a master’s degree at Bellarmine University and Rank I Certification at the University of the Cumberlands.

She has earned Proficiency Certification in Theatre and Dance from Eastern Kentucky University. She is a Bill and Melinda Gates Fellow for certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards and PhD student in the field of Education/ Psychology at Capella University.

Callahan is a supervising teacher for Midway University. Callahan serves as secretary of the Committee on Curriculum & Instruction for Cornerstone Christian School.

She is a Certified Principal/member of the Association of Christian Schools International, a Teacher of Honor/member of Kappa Delta Pi and former school liaison for the Christian Educators Association with whom she is a current affiliate.

Valvoline and the KDE 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 March, with 24 teachers selected as 2020 Valvoline Inc. Teacher Achievement Award winners.

The nine top scorers – three 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 2020 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.

The Kentucky Teacher Awards program combines the best elements of what was formerly known as the Ashland Teacher Achievement Awards. Now, as an independent, publicly traded company with its world headquarters in Lexington, Kentucky, Valvoline is a proud sponsor of the Teacher Achievement Awards and the Kentucky Teacher of the Year programs. This marks the 19th year the Kentucky Department of Education and Ashland/Valvoline have partnered to honor Kentucky educators. Since 1988, the program has awarded more than $850,000 to 596 teachers in grades K-12.

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