LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The Kentucky Department of Education held their annual Kentucky Teacher of the Year ceremony Thursday. The awards program, now in it's 20th year, was a virtual ceremony co-hosted by Kentucky's Commissioner of Education Jason E. Glass and Valvoline's Chief Executive Officer Sam Mitchell.
More than 2,500 teacher nominations were received for the Teacher of the Year program and a record 209 applications were completed.
Three teachers received awards for elementary, middle and high school teacher of the year.
Donnie Piercey of Stonewall Elementary School in Fayette Co. won the Elementary School Teacher of the Year award.
Piercey is a fifth grade teacher at the school and was recognized for his work in technology resources during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"This is definitely an honor to have the chance to not only represent the school I am at now, but to represent every student that has come through my classroom over the last 14 years," Piercey said.
He was ultimately awarded 2021 Teacher of the Year among the three finalists.
Laura Peavley of Westport Middle School in Louisville won the middle school teacher of the year award.
Westport Middle School is the only public middle school in the Commonwealth to offer a montessori program.
Peavley is an 8th grade math teacher at the school and was recognized for building a trusting culture within the school.
"This is absolutely phenomenal," said Peavley. "Thank you so much for just supporting teachers and for all that you do."
Lastly, Christopher McCurry of Lafayette High School in Fayette County won the award for High School Teacher of the Year.
Scott Wade of Newcomer Academy in Louisville was a semi-finalist for the award.
McCurry is an English teacher at the high school and was recognized for the method in which he teaches issues like social justice and equity.
"The students challenge me every day and push me to be a better teacher," said McCurry. "I'm so grateful to them and humbled to have been selected."
Each teacher received a cash bonus from Valvoline. Additionally, the teachers received funds for their classroom.