The Laurel County Board of Education is pleased to announce the recipients of the Campbellsville University Excellence in Teaching Award. Three teachers are selected each year to represent elementary, middle and high school. The 2017 recipients are Karen Jewell, Regina Bishop and Charlie Houchens.
Karen Jewell has wrapped up her teaching career after 30 years of teaching the 4th grade at Sublimity Elementary. She notes as teaching “the best grade of all” at Sublimity Elementary. Mrs. Jewell attended Sue Bennett College and then Eastern Kentucky University where she earned her Bachelors in Elementary Education and Special Education and eventually her Masters and Rank 1 in Elementary Education.
Mrs. Jewell describes herself as a natural teacher. Growing up with a sister who had Down Syndrome, she spent her youth teaching her sister. She says teaching was “a normal part of her childhood.” Like trying to teach her sister, Mrs. Jewell carried the same loving patience to her students. She says “at the end of the day, I have tried to love my students like my own and hope they can’t wait to come back tomorrow.”
Mrs. Jewell’s advice to those who are considering teaching is that they should make sure that they love kids and have patience because every child comes from a different environment and a child’s behavior will likely be affected by that environment.
Regina Bishop an 8th grade mathematics teacher at South Laurel Middle School is completing her 20th year of teaching. A graduate of Eastern Kentucky University with a Bachelor’s of Science in Mathematics and Master’s of Arts in Mathematics Education, she completed her Rank 1 certification at the University of the Cumberlands.
A good math student in school, she found herself being offered an undergraduate position during college, tutoring and working with students struggling with math. Mrs. Bishop also had the role model of her mother who was a math teacher, who she says loved her profession and students. Mrs. Bishop also recognizes the same reward as her mother, she says her students “are her greatest reward.” She enjoys knowing that “perhaps she made a positive difference in the life of my students.”
She says to those who are thinking about going into teaching, “teaching is one of the most rewarding careers that you can choose. We need strong teachers. They must be able to impart knowledge for all the occupations. Most importantly you should feel called to teach. You should enjoy being with students and have a strong content knowledge. It is not only a profession, but truly a choice for lifelong learning.”
Mrs. Bishop is thankful for this award and for the opportunity to educate math students, she remarks that she has had “extraordinary students and is proud of their accomplishments.”
Charlie Houchens a high school social studies teacher at North Laurel High School is completing his 15th year teaching. Mr. Houchens earned his Bachelors Degree from Eastern Kentucky University and his Masters Degree and National Board certification from the University of the Cumberlands.
Mr. Houchens began his career wanting to be a coach, rather than a teacher. However, after getting experience in the classroom he found his true calling as an educator. He says as a teacher, “I look forward to going to work tomorrow and there are not many jobs you can say that.” He also reflects on the reward of receiving notes or letters from students about the difference he has made in their life.
His advice for those who are interested in teaching is to “make them smile and laugh at least once a day. Keep your focus on the students and your content and you will be able to overcome the stresses of teaching.”
Campbellsville University began the Excellence in Teaching (EIT) awards program in 1987. The program was established to recognize quality teaching and learning taking place throughout Kentucky. Since the program’s inception over 2000 teachers have been recognized.