Kentucky State Teacher Fellows

Julia Durbin Bishop
6th–12th grade MSD Teacher

Julia has spent twelve years as a special education teacher working with middle and high school students for the Lee County School District. She is involved in teacher leadership initiatives across the state including Classroom Teachers Enacting Positive Solutions (CTEPS), EngagEDKY, the Kentucky Appalachian Teacher Network and the ECET2EKY planning committee. Julia earned her National Board Certification in 2014 and enjoys mentoring NBCT candidates. She received a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Eastern Kentucky University and a Master’s Degree in Special Education from Western Kentucky University. Julia is currently working towards a Ph.D in Educational Leadership from the University of the Cumberlands.

Music Specialist (Band, Choir, Spanish), Grades K-6

Amy has been teaching for 21 years all of which has been at Flemingsburg Elementary in the Fleming County school district. She is a member of Kentucky Music Educators Association where she has served as district and regional Elementary Music Chair and she currently holds the Music for Special Learners state chair. She is an adjunct teacher at Kentucky Christian University, is a National Board Certified Teacher, and was a member of the 2016 CTEPS cohort. She has served as a clinician at dozens of local, regional, state and national conventions through her work with Core Knowledge and arts integration. In 2011, she was the recipient of KMEA’s Elementary Music Educator of the Year. In 2013, she was Fleming County Chamber of Commerce’s co-recipient of Educator of the Year. Amy earned her Bachelor’s in Education at Transylvania University and her Masters from Morehead State University.

Amelia Beth Brown
Kindergarten Teacher

Amelia has spent the past 6 years of her 16 year career in Kenton County. She has taught K-5, and reading intervention. Amelia earned her Bachelor’s from NKU and Master’s in Educational Administration from Xavier. She is National Board certified in Early and Middle Childhood Literacy, a Google Certified Educator, a recent WOW award recipient, and is active on her school’s Leadership Team. Amelia has served on SBDM council and as a cooperating teacher for KTIP and pre-service teachers. Outside of school, Amelia is passionate about the mission of Girls on the Run. She is head coach for Taylor Mill.

Robin Burr
5th Grade Teacher

Robin Burr currently teaches 5th grade at Berea Elementary. She has been named Teacher of the Year in Whitley County and Knox County in Kentucky, and in Hoke County, North Carolina. Robin is part of the TALK committee and a Teacher Advocate for KEA, and on the area planning committee for ECETeky. She serves on the KDE leadership team for Math and Science. Robin is also a National Certified Trainer for NMSI and AdvanceKY. She earned her B.S., M.A. and Rank 1 from Eastern Kentucky University.

Angela Burton
8th Grade Social Studies Teacher

The current school year marks Angie’s first year at West Jessamine Middle School. The majority of her previous years were spent in Clark County teaching 9th grade social studies at Clark Middle School and Campbell Junior High School. A devotion to social studies and civic education are her driving forces. As a member of the McConnell Center Teacher Scholar Program, she has traveled and studied U.S. History and government extensively. Angie was nominated for the Teacher of the Year Award at West Jessamine Middle School and was named National History Day in Kentucky Supporter of the Year in 2005. Angie earned a Bachelor’s in Middle Grades Education, Science and Social Studies, and a Master’s in Middle Grades Education from Eastern Kentucky University.

Amy Clancy
8th Grade ELA/Writing Teacher

Amy Cody Clancy has been teaching for 17 years as a middle grades educator at Walton-Verona Middle School (Boone County). Technology and Curriculum Design is a passion and she has worked with NGIDKY (Next Generation Instructional Design), LDC, and as an Online Professional Development Specialist and Course Designer through ELearning KY/Office of Next Generation Learners. She currently serves as the Newsletter Editor and board member for the KY Council Teachers of English/Language Arts. Amy earned a Bachelor’s in Middle Grades Education and a Master’s in Education at Northern KY University and is National Board Certified in Early Adolescent English/Language Arts (renewed).

Aven Cook
9th and 10th Grade English Teacher

Aven is in her second year of teaching at Butler Traditional High School in the Jefferson County Public School District. She is a member of Classroom Teachers Enacting Positive Solutions and JCPSVoice. Aven is also currently working on a Teach to Lead project and assisting the grassroots teacher leader project JCPSForward. Her passion for equitable public education for every student drives her work with cultural competency and trauma-ready educators. Aven earned a Bachelor’s in English and a Master’s in the Art of Teaching from the University of Louisville, and she is slated to begin her doctorate program in the Fall 2017 at Indiana University – Bloomington.

Anjanette Davidson
7th and 8th Grade Science Teacher

Anji, National Board certified teacher, has been a 7th- and 8th-grade science teacher at Jackson Independent School for 23 years. She is a graduate of Morehead State University. Last year she worked in a hybrid position as a teacher leader on special assignment with the Kentucky Department of Education where she co-founded the Kentucky Appalachian Teacher Network with the goal of increasing communication in the KVEC and SESC regions. She was a member of the 2011 Integration District Team that implemented the Literacy Design Collaborative (LDC) and is the LDC lead in her district. Her school was one of the pilot schools for TPGES as well as the new Science Assessment and studied the NGSS in her regional Science Teacher Leader Network. In these roles she saw the strong connection between LDC, TPGES, NGSS, and National Boards. Davidson is a current CTEPS member and is proud to have served on the first ECET2EKY committee.

Joshua DeWar
5th Grade Teacher/Assistant Principal

Joshua DeWar is a native of Janesville, WI. He has a passion for diversity education and has done research on retention issues impacting students of color. He has presented regionally and nationally, most recently at KASC and ECET2LOU. He has lived in the Louisville area since 2010. DeWar worked in higher education as a student affairs administrator for nine years before moving to the K-5 classroom. He currently holds a hybrid teaching and administrative role, the first of its kind for Nelson County, at Boston School, one of the district’s k-8 schools. He holds a bachelor’s degree in French and elementary education from Ripon College, a master’s in college student personnel from Bowling Green State University, a master’s in teaching from the University of Louisville, a Ph.D. in education from Marian University in Wisconsin and an Ed.S. degree from Asbury University. He served as the 2016 Kentucky State Elementary Teacher of the Year.

Debra Garey
9th Grade Algebra I

Debbie has spent the past 11 years teaching mathematics at Conner High School. She is a progressive teacher, who took a leadership role in the Math Design Collaborative, working with the Shell Center’s Formative Assessment Lessons. Debbie has worked as a Teacher Leader on FLIP-NKY and FLIP-EKY. She is currently part of the Resilient and Ready by Design Leadership Team in NKY. In 2013 Debbie was a PAEMST award finalist. She has a BSBA from The Ohio State University, a MAT from Northern Kentucky University, and a MEd from University of the Cumberlands.

Amanda Gift
District Literacy Coach, Grades K-12

Amanda has spent eight of the last 14 years as an instructional coach learning alongside elementary and middle school teachers. She came to Kentucky three years ago after teaching in Missouri and Illinois, and has been in Shelby County since 2014. Her passion for literacy has afforded an opportunity to serve as a K-12 district literacy coach in Shelby County next year. She serves on the KCTE board as membership co-chair and shares her passion for coaching by presenting for the OVEC region. She came to Kentucky with a Rank 1 in literacy education from Lindenwood University, after earning her M.A. in Literacy Education from Concordia University, Chicago. Amanda started her journey in education with a B.S. in Elementary Education from Illinois State University.

Pamela Hart
4th Grade Teacher

Pam Hart taught fourth grade for eleven years at Picadome Elementary in Lexington. She has coached the Academic Challenge Team for the past four years. In 2015 Pam was chosen to participate in the Mickelson ExxonMobil Teachers Academy and was an Asbury University Teacher Fellow in the 2014-2015 school year. Pam is a National Board Certified teacher in Early Adolescent English/Language Arts and is a peer mentor for National Board candidates. Pam earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from Midway College and a Master’s Degree in Education from Georgetown College.

Brison Harvey
High School US History Teacher

Brison has taught four years at Lafayette High School. He has served as a team leader for Common Assignment Study with teachers in Kentucky and Colorado, project leader for Next Generation Instructional Design and teacher facilitator with the Pritchard Committee Student Voice Team. Brison has worked as a virtual community organizer and blogger with the Center for Teaching Quality, Superintendent Advisory Council, Redistricting Committee and Faculty Advisory Council. He received his BS degree in Secondary Social Studies Education from Asbury University and is currently on his Master’s degree from Georgetown College in the Teacher as Leader program with Technology emphasis.

Stephanie Helton
Middle School Intervention Specialist and GT Coordinator

Stephanie has spent seven of the last nine years as a 4th and 5th grade social studies and literacy teacher. Last year, her passion for reading intervention led her out of the classroom as she traveled the Commonwealth to collaborate with teachers and administrators as a literacy consulate. Now back in Warren County Public Schools, Stephanie serves as the District Interventionist and Gifted and Talented Coordinator for South Warren Middle School. Stephanie has earned a Bachelor’s in Elementary Education and a Master’s in School Counseling from Western Kentucky University, and is currently persuing a Rank I in Teacher Leadership and Gifted Education from the same institution.

Jessica Holman
Special Education Teacher, Grades 9-12

Jessica is a Special Education Teacher at Boone County High School. She has worked in education for eight years in North Carolina and Kentucky. Jessica has a Bachelor’s degree from Winston-Salem State University in Special Education. She is active in her role as science teacher leader in her school district, she collaborates with peers and integrates instruction into her blended learning classroom. As a Teacher Leader, Jessica has worked with educators across the state of Kentucky to communicate educational strategies that support the learning and growing of fellow teachers. She has done this through multiple platforms such as face-to-face team meetings, conference presentations, webinars, screencasts, twitter chats as well as lead PLC work. She is currently working towards a Masters of Arts in Teacher Leadership with a certification in Instructional Technology.

Allison Johnson
Special Education Teacher, Grades 9-12

This is Allison’s third year at Elkhorn Crossing School, the career-technical school for Scott County School District. As a member of the ECS-Scott County Schools community, she serves as a Foundations Committee member, as well as a District Safe Crisis Management Instructor. Prior to working for Scott County Schools, Allison taught math, science, and special education in Massachusetts. Allison holds a B.A. in Psychology from Cambridge College (Cambridge, MA), and a M.Ed. in Special Education from Lesley University (Cambridge, MA). She is currently pursuing her Ed.D. in Educational Policy, Measurement, and Evaluation from the University of Kentucky.

Amanda Klare
4th Grade Teacher

Amanda, a National Board Certified Teacher, has taught at Beechwood Elementary for ten years. Through her passion for writing, she has been able to serve as the writing PLC lead for her school and also helps run the Northern Kentucky Writing Project. Amanda was a member of The Fund for Transforming Education’s Innovative Teacher Leader cohort and the KyNT3’s Body of Knowledge Group. Her recent passion project is a support cohort for NBCT candidates in her district. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Early Elementary Education from the University of Louisville and her Master’s Degree with a focus in Reading & Writing from Northern Kentucky University. Amanda received the Northern Kentucky Education Council’s Golden Apple Teaching Award in 2012.

Kelly Don Melton
Curriculum Specialist

Kelly has spent her 22 year career in the Muhlenberg County School District working in the elementary, middle, and high school settings. She primarily taught math in the middle grades until moving into the curriculum specialist role and is currently employed at The Renaissance Center. Kelly has served in many leadership positions and was honored to be one of the 2014 Ashland Teacher Achievement Award Winners for Kentucky Teacher of the Year. Kelly earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s from WKU, Rank I from University of the Cumberlands as Supervisor of Instruction, and a 2nd Master’s in School Administration from MSU.

Bridget R. Powell
5th Grade English Language Arts Teacher

Bridget has been an educator in Marshall County Schools for the past 17 years, teaching middle school and elementary levels. Being an alumni of Marshall County Schools, she has a vested interest to make sure the students of Marshall County receive the best education. During the last 12 years she has taught at Central Elementary School, 2014 National Blue Ribbon School. Bridget was awarded the Central Elementary School “Teacher of the Year” in 2011. She achieved her Rank One status through National Board Certification in 2005. Bridget earned a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and a Master’s degree in Learning and Behavior Disorders from Murray State University.

Katie Punsly
8th Grade Reading Enrichment Teacher

Katie is in her third year at Lassiter Middle School in the Jefferson County Public School district. Her passion for working with ELs inspired her to join the EL Leadership Academy and speak at the Louisville Writing Project Conference. Katie’s love for education technology led her to join JCPS Voice and speak at the GSU Instructional Innovation Conference. She is also a member of JCPS Forward and a Teach Kentucky veteran teacher. Katie earned a Bachelor’s in English from Claremont McKenna, a Master’s in Philosophy from Georgia State, and a Master’s in Teaching from the University of Louisville, where she pursues an ESL endorsement.

Sheri Rhodes
4th Grade Teacher

Sheri has spent 6 years in Title 1 schools within JCPS. She has served as the lead in Gifted & Talented, Assessment & Literacy, and TPGES Student Growth Goal. She is a member of the National Association of Gifted Children and the Kentucky Association of Gifted Education. Sheri earned her Bachelors and Masters in Elementary Education from Indiana University Southeast and her Rank I in Teacher Leadership and Gifted Education from the University of Louisville. She was awarded a $10,000 grant from the Kentucky Center for Mathematics: Enhancing the Mathematical Development of Gifted and Talented.

Ada Travelsted Skillern
9th-12th Grade English Teacher

Ada has spent her 20 year career at Bowling Green High School. She served for five years as an English Regional Advisor, Lead Teacher and English Content Coordinator for Advance KY/the National Math and Science Initiative, as English Department Chair for 17 years and in myriad leadership capacities for BGISD. Ada was awarded the Jaycees Outstanding Young High School Educator of the Year in 2000 and was a N.M.S.I./Advance KY Outstanding English Teacher of the Year nominee in 2012. A National Board Certified teacher, she earned a Bachelor’s in English and graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of the South (Sewanee).

Jeff Sorce
3rd & 4th Grade Teacher

Jeff is a third and fourth grade teacher at Estes Elementary School. Jeff is a member of The Fund for Transforming Education’s Innovative Teacher Leader Cohort and a member of OEA/KEA and a Communities of Practice Teacher Leader through the Green River Regional Education Cooperative. He enjoys thinking outside the box and teaching through innovative methods. Jeff has successfully implemented Project Lead The Way into his school to help drive student success. He earned his Bachelor’s in Social Studies/History from Western Kentucky University and his Master’s in Elementary Education from University of the Cumberlands.

8th Grade Science Teacher

Garris Landon Stroud is completing his first year of teaching at James Madison Middle School in Hopkins County, where he teaches 8th grade science. He is a published author and poet whose works have appeared in publications such as Science Scope and the Kentucky English Bulletin. He has been invited to present research at conferences across the country, including the Association for Middle Level Education, National Science Teachers Association, and National Council of Teachers of English. Stroud was a 2016 graduate of Murray State University and is currently pursuing a Master’s in Education with Teacher Leader and ESL endorsements.

Latonya Taylor-Rowe
Elementary School Math Teacher

Latonya has spent 18 years of her teaching career at Highland Elementary in Johnson County. She enthusiastically enters her fourth grade classroom each morning where she teaches math. She has a passion for supporting teachers as they successfully integrate technology into their content. She earned a Bachelor, Master and Rank I all from Morehead State University. She is a member of engagEdKY, KCTE/LA, KEA and a Core Advocate with Student Achievement Partners. She also is active with ECET2 planning team and Coal Camp to Space Camp Curriculum Development. She was the 2004 and 2014 CEDAR Teacher of the Year and the 2014 PBS Digital Innovator. She is a proud mother of three and enjoys spending time with her five grandchildren.

Dana Lee Thomas
English Language Arts Instructional Coach, grades 3-5

Dana Lee Thomas has been working in the Marion County Public School District for 10 years. She previously worked for 10 years as an intermediate teacher in the Washington County Public School District. She has a great passion for teaching and learning, especially in the area of English & Language Arts. Dana earned her Bachelors of Science and Masters of Arts in Elementary Education at Campbellsville University. She is also a National Board Certified Teacher and is currently working with the Kentucky Department of Education Next Generation Leadership Network. Mrs. Thomas currently serves as an Elementary ELA Instructional Coach working with grades 3-5.

Tricia McKenny Weiderman
High School English Teacher

Tricia has been teaching for 10 years; 3 years at Nicholas County High School and 7 years at Bourbon County High School. Her passion for literacy at all levels has driven her work as a Summer Institute Facilitator and Teacher Consultant with EKU Writing Project for 9 years. She is a KCTE/LA member and has presented at KCTE/LA and KWP conferences and is currently a member of the Bourbon County Schools Leadership Academy. Tricia earned a Bachelor’s in Journalism from the University of Kentucky and a Master of Arts in Teaching from Eastern Kentucky University.

Angela Wilson
GEAR UP Academic Specialist

Angela has taught at Whitley County Middle School for 10 years. In those ten years, she has taught math and science before accepting a position as the GEAR UP Academic Specialist. Prior to becoming the Academic Specialist, Angela served 2 terms on the school’s SBDM as well as 5 years as the Academic Team Coach. Angela received her Bachelors of Science in Middle School Education from Eastern Kentucky University. She obtained her Master’s in Middle School Education and a Rank I in Leadership from the University of the Cumberlands.

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