SHELBY COUNTY, Ky. (WHAS11) -- The last WHAS Excel Award for the academic year was a race against time.
Shelby County teacher of the year Sloane Barnett is expecting a baby and the Excel ceremony was set for next week, two days before her due date.
Rather than risk breaking news, the Excel Award team made an early visit to Simpsonville Elementary School to honor a fifth grade teacher who grew up in the same school.
She was a Bobcat on the run, a talented cross country runner who joined the high school team as a sixth grader. Looking back on those days, Sloane says her experience as a runner helped build confidence. "You don't have to finish first, but finishing is what matters," Mrs. Barnett says.
Each year at Simpsonville Elementary she sets high standards for her students and helps them move on to middle school.
The man who coached Sloane in cross country running said he was not surprised that she was nominated as Excel teacher of the year. Roland Dale says Sloane was very tenacious, very tough, a runner who wouldn't give up.
Now she works long hours for her students, offering tutoring after school and sponsoring the cross country running club. Principal Jill Tingle says Sloane is a natural teacher, and a natural leader for the school.
Barnett admits that she works the students hard, teaching them that challenges and struggles are good and will help them learn more about themselves.
To Sloane Barnett the school year is like a long distance race. She says, as a Simpsonville Bobcat, she was not the fastest runner but she was a finisher. And now her trophy is the Excel Award. (The Excel Award also carries a one thousand dollar teacher grant from LG&E KU)