As many teachers know, being an educator in Kentucky is an incredibly rewarding profession. It is also very challenging and demanding, requiring immense sacrifice — usually of one's own time, emotions and money beyond the average work day. All of it is aimed at bettering the lives of our youth.

Carter County schools are filled with outstanding educators and administrators. We know this to be true because we've observed them in action. With this in mind, then, we send out a huge congratulations to Melissa Lewis of Tygart Creek Elementary today, who is one of 24 named as a recipient of the annual Valvoline Teacher Achievement Awards.

We featured the details of this amazing accomplishment in last week's edition: Lewis of Tygart Creek Elementary is one of eight elementary teachers receiving the awards, according to a press release from the Kentucky Department of Education. Awards also were announced for eight middle school and eight high school teachers.

Lewis and the other teachers qualify to compete for the 2020 Kentucky Teacher of the Year Award, which will be announced in May.

“Valvoline is pleased to once again honor and recognize 24 of Kentucky’s most outstanding teachers. These individuals play a critical role in preparing students for life after high school graduation, whether that be in college or the workforce,” said Daryl Love, Valvoline’s manager of community relations.

All 24 teachers will be honored at a ceremony on May 20 in Frankfort. Government officials, state dignitaries 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 Valvoline Teacher Achievement Award recipients with cash awards and certificates at the 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.

“These teachers are innovators and exemplars for the teaching profession,” said Commissioner of Education Wayne Lewis. “They are models of excellence in teaching and learning, and I look forward to working with them in our mission to equip Kentucky students with the skills and knowledge they need to thrive in postsecondary education and training, and in the 21st century economy.”

We agree. We can all be proud of the accomplishments of Melissa Lewis. We wish her the best as Kentucky decides who it's teacher of the year is.

In our view, all of our teachers in Carter County schools are deserving of recognition as well. We are keenly aware of how they are working every day to help the children of this area. For this, we are thankful for all of their hard work and dedication to an incredibly important profession.

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