Surprise, honors await Hamilton’s top educators

Almost every area school district has some sort of teacher of the year award but few do it up like Hamilton City Schools.

The 14th annual Harry T. Wilks “Hamilton Celebrates Education Awards” will hold its event this evening and it will feature both honors and surprises.

The 13 nominated educators — most from Hamilton public schools but also two Catholic educators — don’t know whom among them will win the top Educator of The Year award until it’s announced at the invite-only event at the Courtyard by Marriott Hamilton.

Five will be recognized as finalists and then the year’s top honoree will be announced, make a speech and walk off the stage with a $500 check and $3,000 for their school.

Seven grants of $1,000 will also be awarded to various programs as part of the event.

Sponsored by the Hamilton Community Foundation, which was founded in 1951, the foundation now manages more than 700 charitable funds and provides more than $1 million in scholarships annually.

“This is a unique program,” said Betsy Hope, vice president of communication for the Hamilton Foundation. “The continued success of this event is a tribute to the educators in the Greater Hamilton area.”

Wilks — a life-long Hamiltonian, Miami University graduate and local attorney was also a noted area philanthropist who advocated for the arts, schools and community — died in 2014.

Wilks “truly valued education and the Hamilton Celebrates Education awards are a meaningful legacy for his generosity to the community,” Hope told the Journal-News.

Hope praised the 13 area educators nominated by their peers as “dedicated educators who are enthusiastic and creative and who are great role models having positive impacts on students.”

“The event highlights the amazing contributions our teachers make,” Hope said.

The following area educators have been nominated for this year’s award:

  • Bridgeport Elementary: Jennifer McQueen
  • Brookwood Elementary: Debbie Brosius
  • Crawford Woods Elementary: Myron “Pete” Vanness
  • Fairwood Elementary: Chrissy Edds
  • Garfield Middle School: Scott Dickerson
  • Hamilton Freshman School: Kathleen Gormley
  • Hamilton High School: Dustin Mundey
  • Highland Elementary: Linda Keating
  • Ridgeway Elementary: Melynda Caswell
  • Riverview Elementary: Abraham Harris
  • St. Ann School: Gwenda Laney
  • St. Peter In Chains School: Laura Warner
  • Wilson Middle School: Ty Smallwood

The Journal-News will have coverage online and in a later print edition of the top award winner.

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