Kevin Dailey, a middle school social studies teacher at Ballyshannon Middle School in Boone County, was named the 2024 Kentucky Teacher of the Year during a ceremony at the State Capitol Rotunda on Wednesday.
Dailey also was named the 2024 Kentucky Middle School Teacher of the Year. Russell County Schools’ Donnie Wilkerson was named the Elementary School Teacher of the Year and Jefferson County Public Schools’ Kumar Rashad was named High School Teacher of the Year.
“I am really blessed and honored to be able to represent 40,000 plus teachers in Kentucky,” Dailey said during the event. “This day is about all of our kids and all of our families. This day is about Kentucky.”
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Kentucky Education Commissioner Jason E. Glass thanked Dailey, Rashad and Wilkerson and all teachers across the state for devoting their lives to educating students.
He said they continue to raise the bar. “Today’s ceremony recognizes and celebrates the most important profession there is, teaching. These award-winning educators represent more than 40,000 of their colleagues across our state who give of themselves every day to help students.”
Laura Pentova, chief legal officer at Valvoline Global, thanked the winning teachers for their work. “Our global headquarters are in Lexington, so Kentucky is a very special place for us. We know that teachers shape lives, not just academically, but they also shape our future citizens who will lead our communities, our businesses, our civic organizations and our governments.”
Valvoline, Inc., is co-sponsor of the competition, along with the Kentucky Department of Education.
The ceremony also included remarks from Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman, a former teacher and school administrator herself, who praised all Kentucky teachers.
“Regularly, I meet with students interested in pursuing a career in education,” she said. “I tell them that I cannot promise you it will be free from heartache and worry. But I can promise you that you will feel fulfilled and know that you make a difference in your community. Thank you all for making a profound difference in your community. You are the best of Team Kentucky.”
The 2024 Teacher of the Year will receive a $10,000 cash award, while the Elementary and High School Teachers of the Year each will get $2,750. All three winners received a custom-designed glass award commemorating the honor. The other 19 award recipients received $500.