The Hart County Chamber of Commerce recently recognized two local educators as “Teachers of the Year.” The recipients are Cressy Sturgeon, Preschool Teacher at Bonnieville School and Amanda Nutt, Math Teacher at Caverna Middle School. In the nomination letters received by the Chamber, both educators were praised for their commitment and dedication to their profession and to the students they teach.
“Ms. Cressy, as her little ones call her, not only gives her students an excellent beginning to their educational journey, she doesn’t forget about them when they move on from preschool. She sends letters and pictures to her former students when they graduate from 8 th grade and high school that include fond memories of their time together in preschool.” Bonnieville School officials reported that Ms. Sturgeon “continually earns the top scores on the Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale. This assessment tool measures the quality of preschool programs by collecting data through classroom observations and staff interview.” Because of her high ratings, other preschool teachers often visit the school to observe her teaching style, and over the years, Ms. Sturgeon has mentored several new preschool teachers.
When COVID-19 hit and teachers had to move to an online teaching format, Ms. Sturgeon was anxious about this change at first, but as excellent teachers always do, she found a way to stay connected to her students by creating a private Pre-Bees Facebook group. Daily, she shared videos of herself reading some of their favorite books; she took them on virtual tours of her farm, conducted experiments with them and posted all kinds of fun and educational links to keep them engaged. In addition to communicating electronically, she also mailed letters to them regularly to reassure the students that she was still thinking about them. Because, as stated in the letter, “as much as she wants her students to become lifelong learners, Cressy also wants them to know they are loved.” Cressy Sturgeon has taught preschool for 19 years; most of this time has been at Bonnieville School.
Ms. Nutt, as stated in the nomination letter, “works diligently to motivate and engage students in learning. She provides hands-on, rigorous instruction, and she has an excellent rapport with students. She has a deep desire to promote learning in every student in her classroom. Amanda has a way of inspiring students to reach their full potential. She likes to say that she ‘keeps it real with her kids.’”
And, it is not just students that she’s impacting. Ms. Nutt is said to be a good role model for her colleagues. “She goes above and beyond in planning, working in professional learning communities, and sharing her ideas with others.” Ms. Nutt has taught in the Caverna School district for just 4 years; already she has emerged as a true leader in education – “an inspiration for students, as well as, other educators.”
Besides this award, Ms. Nutt also received this year an Excellence in Teaching Award from Campbellsville University and the B. H. Weaver Outstanding Educator of the Year Award from Caverna Board of Education.
In addition to plaques, both educators also received $150 in gift certificates to local businesses. The Chamber created its Teachers of the Year Awards program in 2002. Sponsors of this annual program and other teacher appreciation activities include Caveland Environmental Authority, Kentucky Chrome Works, Farmers RECC, Fowler Durham CPAs & Advisors, German American Bank, Family Medical Center of Hart County, T. Marzetti, Sister Schubert’s, Limestone Bank, Luttrell Staffing Group, The Cecilian Bank, The Medical Center at Caverna, Dart Container Corporation and South Central RTC.