KCTCS announces educators of the year

The Kentucky Community and Technical College System announced the winners of the 2024 Pathfinder of the Year Award recipients. The educator of the year program recognizes one teacher or guidance counselor at each of the 16 colleges for exemplary efforts in assisting students with their college-going and career plans.

A total of 320 high school teachers or guidance counselors were nominated by students, faculty or staff from the colleges.

“It’s an honor for me to recognize these outstanding educators who go that extra mile to mentor and guide students as they make one of the most important decisions of their lives,” said KCTCS President Ryan Quarles.

“I know the positive impact that high school educators had in my life by encouraging and helping me make informed decisions about college and career. This firsthand knowledge makes me even more grateful to our award recipients – and all the many others they represent – to prepare and equip this next generation of Kentucky’s workforce,” added Quarles. 

To date, 14 of the 16 KCTCS colleges have announced their winners:

  • Ashland Community and Technical College – Anita Lewis
    • Elliott County High School
    • Elliot County School District
  • Big Sandy Community and Technical College – Taylor Slone
    • Martin County High School
    • Martin County School District
  • Bluegrass Community and Technical College – Pam Bates
    • Paul Lawrence Dunbar High School
    • Fayette County Public School District
  • Gateway Community and Technical College – Jennifer McMillen
    • Ludlow High School
    • Ludlow Independent School District
  • Hazard Community and Technical College – Sarah Trent
    • Jackson City School
    • Jackson Independent School District
  • Hopkinsville Community College – Natalie Riggs
    • Christian County High School
    • Christian County School District
  • Jefferson Community and Technical College – Marc Monroe
    • Butler High School
    • Jefferson County School District
  • Madisonville Community College – Tracy Warner
    • Muhlenberg County High School
    • Muhlenberg County School District
  • Maysville Community and Technical College – Kendrick Applegate
    • Mason County High School
    • Mason County School District
  • Owensboro Community and Technical College – Kelly Spaw
    • Apollo High School
    • Daviess County School District
  • Somerset Community College – Nathan Britt
    • Cumberland County High School
    • Cumberland County School District
  • Southcentral Kentucky Community and Technical College – Julie Waddell
    • South Warren High School
    • Warren County School District
  • Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College – Richie Rogers
    • Middlesboro High School
    • Middlesboro Independent School District
  • West Kentucky Community and Technical College – Chris Jones
    • McCracken County High School
    • McCracken County School District

Winners were selected based on the following criteria:

  • Encouraged students to attend a KCTCS college.
  • Assisted students in identifying a career and postsecondary path.
  • Provided mentorship.
  • Maintained contact with students.

For more information and photos of recipients, please visit Pathfinder Awards.