Teacher of deaf/hard of hearing named tops in KY | Schools
Heidi Givens, itinerant teacher of the deaf and hard-of-hearing for the Daviess County Public Schools district, has been named 2013 Kentucky Elementary Teacher of the Year.
The announcement was made at the State Capitol Building in Frankfort earlier today. Givens was named one of 24 outstanding educators who received the Ashland Inc. Teacher Achievement Award in September, and was one of three semifinalists in the elementary teacher category.
“It was an honor to be nominated,” Givens said. “This process has allowed me to further evaluate myself as an educator and grow professionally. As a teacher, my reward is always seeing my students succeed, so it is wonderful for my peers to recognize what I offer to my students. I cannot express how incredible it feels to be selected as the best among my peers. Educating deaf and hard-of-hearing students is so much more than teaching content within a classroom. My work to educate their families, other professionals and the community is being recognized more than I could have ever imagined.”
Dr. Angela Gunter, who teaches junior and senior English, AP English language, dual credit English 101 and medical terminology at Daviess County High School, was also a Teacher Achievement Award recipient and semifinalist in the category of high school teachers. Dr. Gunter, who serves as dean of liberal arts/English department head at DCHS, said, “What a learning experience this has been! Getting to hear about and know the other semifinalists has been rewarding. It is heartening to see what innovative teachers are accomplishing throughout the state. I’m honored to be included in such a group.”
DCPS Superintendent Owens Saylor said the nominations and awards are significant. “DCPS – and students – are fortunate to have so many outstanding educators in classrooms across the district,” he said. “But Heidi Givens and Angela Gunter are the best of the best. Their passion for teaching and learning shines through in all they do. We celebrate with Heidi today on this recognition as Elementary Teacher of the Year, but we know this honor is really a tribute to the teacher she is every single day.”
Robin Bush, DCPS director of special education, said, “During her tenure in Daviess County, Heidi has implemented innovative programs for the students with hearing impairments. She coordinates an annual Hands Alive regional program involving community partners, parents, and students. Each year, a national presenter is brought in to participate in the program as well as offer support to parents and teachers. Heidi spends countless hours of her own time planning and organizing this annual event.”
Bush also noted that Givens recently earned National Board Certified Teacher status. “By successfully completing this rigorous process, Heidi has shown her commitment and dedication to the field of teaching,” Bush said. “She is constantly taking on additional teaching responsibilities and implementing new programs to best meet the needs of the students she serves. When considering what qualities an outstanding teacher possesses, I would have to rank Heidi Givens at the top! Her drive, determination and commitment to the teaching profession are exemplary.”
As an Itinerant teacher, Givens is able to use her talents in working with students in grades K-12 within both the Daviess County and Owensboro school districts. In this position, she educates regular and special education teachers as well as administrators on the unique needs of students with hearing impairments.
Dr. Vicki Riley, DCPS director of elementary education, also praised Givens’ dedication. “Heidi Givens strives to improve student achievement for hearing disabled students,” Riley said. “She actively engages parents in the learning process. I am extremely proud of her accomplishments.”