LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – A Hardin County 5th grade teacher was honored with the ExCel Award on Wednesday.
Crystal Wilkerson is the 24th Hardin County teacher to win the award since 1991.
Wilkerson was chosen for the award from her ability to make history come alive for her students.
Burkhead Elementary principal Melissa Case said Wilkerson is the ‘backbone’ of the school.
In the classroom, Wilkerson’s connection shows as students’ hands shoot into the air, yearning to include themselves into the discussion, and when they do speak the enthusiasm pours out.
Wilkerson said many parents are surprised their children love her social studies class. She attributes this to a different generation of social studies instruction.
She said she finds a way to connect students to historical characters through storytelling, making subjects relevant to the modern student.
In addition to a Golden Apple ExCel Award, Wilkerson also received a $1,000 grant from Louisville Gas and Electric and Kentucky Utilities.
Wilkerson said she is proud of her school districts diversity. A newly enrolled student who did not speak English came to her class, but that did not create a learning barrier. Instead, everyone was able to learn.
The new student taught Spanish to English speaking students and English speaking students taught the new student English.
Case said Wilkerson can break down language barriers and academic barriers to find a way to help students learn.
Wilkerson’s husband said she is an amazing teacher, a wonderful parent and a best friend.
She is also a best friend to her 5th grade students.