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'I was very taken back!': Special education teacher at Mt. Tabor Elementary wins ExCel Award

Mindy McKnight has taught at the school for over 20 years.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The WHAS11, LG&E and KU ExCel Award recognizes teachers who go above and beyond in their classrooms. 

Students and staff at Mt. Tabor Elementary honored Mindy McKnight, a special education teacher who's taught at the school for over 20 years.

McKnight has served her students, school, and the community as a whole.

Her work with special needs students stood out during the school system's selection process where she was described as wise, passionate, and a great classroom manager.

"I was very taken back!" McKnight said. "[I was] surprised! Normally special-ed, we stay off in the background and we don't get noticed as much because we just do what we do normally."

One of her biggest accomplishments in the New Albany-Floyd County community was working with Parks and Recreation to create an all-inclusive playground for children like the ones she teaches. 


She was able to raise over a million dollars to help complete the project -- leading volunteer efforts and communicating to the public about the facility.

"Just knowing that I had a big part in that dream and seeing the dream come to life in front of my eyes was outstanding," McKnight said. "It makes me really proud to be part of such a big project in my hometown."

During an award ceremony, her colleagues, students, and husband celebrated the award and her community accomplishments. 

McKnight didn't know an ExCel Award came with a check for $1,000 to use in the classroom, so she was pleasantly surprised.

With a new teacher joining her team next year, and a move to a new room in the building, she's already coming up with a plan for the cash. 

"I'm sure there will be many needs as we work through this process next school year," she said. 

Again, congrats to this week's ExCel award winner, Mindy McKnight of Mt. Tabor Elementary!

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