Each year, the Daviess County Public Schools requests nominations for DCPS Kids First Teachers of the Year, Support Professional and Customer Service awards. After winners are selected, their family members are secretly invited to attend DCPS Opening Day ceremonies to be a part of the surprise presentation.
Three teachers were selected, one each from elementary, middle and high school, as 2019 DCPS Kids First Teachers of the Year and presented with their awards on Tuesday, August 6.
Elementary Teacher of the Year – Allie Lindow
Country Heights primary teacher Allie Lindow was selected as the Elementary School Teacher of the Year for her tremendous passion for teaching and learning.
“As a primary teacher at Country Heights, Allie Lindow wants to see all children succeed and grow. She guides children in the right direction with kindness and compassion as they take their first steps along the pathway of lifelong learning,” said Southern Oaks Elementary School teacher Marcia Tomes. “Allie also sets an example for her students and colleagues as both a lifelong learner and as a teacher leader. She strives to strengthen her skills to be the best teacher she can possibly be…so her students can also be the best.
Middle School Teacher of the Year – Laura Murphy
Daviess County Middle School eighth grade language arts teacher Laura Murphy was recognized for the positive connections and strong relationships she develops with her students.
“Laura exhibits top-level passion in everything she does — she expects to see every student succeed, even if just in small increments,” DCMS colleague Jennifer McFadden said. “Laura enjoys the success of others, especially her colleagues. She praises the work they do and she is eager to learn from them as well. She is inspired by great ideas from her colleagues and seeks to implement or customize those ideas to help her own students reach their highest potential.”
High School Teacher of the Year – Paul Bates
Apollo High School biology teacher and assistant football coach Paul Bates was recognized for his passion for teaching and presence of character.
“Paul Bates has earned the respect of both students and staff at Apollo High School for his dedication to student success. He consistently goes the extra mile, as evidenced by his willingness to provide support and assistance for students before or after school to help them build a strong foundation on which to grow their learning and comprehension,” DCHS teacher Carrie Whitmer said. “With any visit to his classroom, or simply being present to hear any conversation that he has with students, it is easy to see his passion for teaching.”
In addition to Teacher of the Year awards, a support professional and employee who demonstrated excellence in customer service were also recognized.
Support Professional – Dale Caraway
Transportation Department member and bus driver Dale Caraway was recognized for his personal mission to take advantage of the time he has with his kids every morning and afternoon as he provides transportation students who are often English Language Learners on his route to Southern Oaks Elementary School.
“He challenges his kids to grow as leaders, as the older students serve as mentors to the younger children,” said 2018 DCPS Office Professional Ken Roberts.
Roberts went on to share that, not only did Caraway work with the students on his bus in order to teach them English, but he had also taught many of them to recite the names of all 50 states in the order in which they were admitted to the Union.
“He knows his kids so well,” Roberts said. “If he notices a change in behavior, or realizes a child has been absent for a couple of days, or sees that a child does not have appropriate clothing or a warm coat in the winter, he takes action to meet those needs. He attends school events to show his support for ‘his kids.’”
Customer Service Award winner – Amy Thomas
Sorgho Elementary School instructional assistant Amy Thomas was recognized for helping students to feel welcomed and loved from the moment they exited the car door in the morning and creating a positive impact on those around her.
“She stands outside as a car rider greeter and somehow, when you see her smile, it always feels like a sunny day – even on those soggy, rainy mornings or freezing cold winter days,” DCMS Cafeteria Manager Louise Weston said. “Amy is right there with a helping hand, filled with patience, kindness and reassurance. When you see that smile or hear those cheerful words, you know her love for these children and families is genuine. Isn’t it wonderful for those parents to realize their children are being cared for in a place where they are welcome, safe and loved.”