Three teachers from the Simpson County School system were awarded the Campbellsville University Teacher of Excellence.
According to the university’s website, the award is “to recognize the quality and learning taking place in the school systems throughout Kentucky.”
Mary Patton Chandler, of Franklin-Simpson High School, Robert Kopecky, of Franklin-Simpson Middle School and Jessica Mosley, of Lincoln Elementary were the teachers announced at the Simpson County Schools award winners.
Principals from the high school, middle school and elementary school submitted their pick for an individual teacher to be chosen for the award.
“It is very hard to narrow down because I feel like I have several high caliber teachers,” said Joyce Pais, principal at Lincoln Elementary.
She said all of the elementary schools will rotate who gets to pick a teacher from their school. The last teacher to win from LES was 2016, she said.
When choosing a teacher for the award, Pais said, she looks for someone committed to the students, at their passion for teaching and learning, how they collaborate with their piers, their ability to communicate and embrace change and someone who continues to learn to help their students.
All three said they felt very humbled, honored and shocked receiving the award.
“As a second year teacher I really did not expect it whatsoever,” Kopecky said.
Chandler is in her second year of teaching and Mosley is in her fifth year of teaching. All three said they hadn’t heard of the award before receiving the recognition, though they did look up what the award was after hearing the news.
“I feel like I can’t take all the credit because I have had a lot of help and support from family and other co-teachers,” Chandler said.
Mosley said she felt the award was based on connections with the students and building those relationships especially in a small community.
“For me I think it gives me some momentum to keep trying hard,” Mosley said. “Getting this makes me feel like it is not all for nothing.”
Chandler and Kopecky agreed saying it gave them some validation and that they were doing a good job.
All three said teaching wasn’t their first choice when it came to careers, but they felt at home after teaching. Kopecky spend 26 years in the Air Force while Chandler went to school for Biology and Chemistry. Mosley thought about engineering before she married and had kids, the decision to teach came later in life after several people mentioned she should give it a try.
“It was a total God thing, I feel like he put this in my path, which I’m grateful for because I feel like I am where I am supposed to be,” Chandler said.
They said while they love teaching they feel like their jobs are to help prepare their students to become young adults, to help them gain self-respect and self-esteem.
Chandler said she always tells her students that what she cares about at the end of the day is not whether they know science, but that they are good people.
There is an award presentation at Campbellsville University on May 9, but the Simpson County School winners may not be attending due to family obligations.