A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Educators, businesses, partners to be honored at NKEC annual Excellence in Education celebration

By Peggy Casey
Special to NKyTribune

The Northern Kentucky region has a long history of supporting education and celebrating the vital role that educators, businesses and community partners play in ensuring our students are ready for college, career, and life.

Continuing this tradition, the Northern Kentucky Education Council and NKY Chamber of Commerce will join forces later this month for the 2019 Excellence in Education Celebration.

This annual event will be held on April 30 at Receptions. As the premier education event for the region, the dinner recognizes students, educators, community and business leaders for their significant contributions to education.

Among the evening’s honorees are:

Jamie Flaherty

 Jamee Flaherty, Fort Thomas Independent Schools, 2019 A.D. Albright Outstanding Administrator of the Year

In her role, Flaherty provides guidance in everything from residency, tuition, safety and transportation issues to programs such as education, gifted and talented, and English Language Learners. She is committed to the whole child.

Whether it’s providing a safe environment, offering innovative opportunities or simply welcoming new families to the community, Flaherty says breaking down barriers to learning is key.

“I feel like one of my primary responsibility now and always as a teacher is to reduce barriers — that extra noise that a student may have so that the student can find success in the classroom”

 Divisions Maintenance Group, 2019 Business Engagement of the Year award winner

Divisions worked collaboratively with Campbell County High School to design internship experiences for students who had completed course work in the areas of finance, technology, and marketing. The internships included a rigorous interview process, orientation training, disposition analysis, confidentiality training, social media etiquette training, employee harassment/working relations training, and specific training pertaining to the student’s pathway. 

“Divisions has provided my daughter with an outstanding experience. They have enabled her to look beyond high school and have shown her that work can be rewarding and fun,” wrote Michelle Carrigan. “Her co-workers and mentors at Divisions have been positive role models and I am extremely grateful that she has had this opportunity.”

 Boone County School District, Kenton County School District, and Children, Inc., 2019 Spirit of the Region award winners

This award honors the partnerships that are bringing the IGNITE Institute to fruition.

“We are honored to recognize Boone and Kenton County School Districts for the establishment of the IGNITE INSTITUTE partnership to inspire STEAM learning and elevate educational opportunities for all students in the Northern Kentucky region. In addition, we’re pleased to recognize Rick Hulefeld, Children, Inc. for sharing in this vision and laying the groundwork to provide a five-star, state of the art early learning center at IGNITE, which will prepare children for kindergarten and lay the foundation for future success.”

 Garren Colvin, St. Elizabeth Healthcare, 2019 Champion of Education

Garren Colvin is President & CEO of St. Elizabeth Healthcare. He is a champion of community engagement with an abiding interest in education. He serves on boards of the Horizon Community Funds, Thomas More College, and many more. He formed a partnership with NKU’s Health Innovation Center to develop the next generation of healthcare leaders in Northern Kentucky.

“In addition to leading the charge to become one of the healthiest communities in America and building a premier Cancer Center in Northern Kentucky, Garren Colvin has provided critical services and resources to help support youth, education and workforce development,” said Polly Lusk Page, executive director of the NKY Education Council.

Mike Borchers, superintendent of the Ludlow Independent School System, said, “Garren is making a lasting impact for years to come because of the passion he has for Northern Kentucky.”

All the honorees are inspiring, said Page.

“The passion and dedication of our honorees to support our youth is moving and inspiring,” she said. “Coming together as a community to celebrate their accomplishments is what makes NKY special.”

“The Excellence in Education dinner is the Oscars for teachers,” said Brent Cooper, President and CEO of the NKY Chamber.

“The NKY Chamber is proud to be a partner for an event that showcases the best in education. We hope the entire community will join us for this annual celebration.” 

Adding to the celebration, 2019 marks the 10-year anniversary of the NKY Education Council and the ongoing power of collaboration in Northern Kentucky.

“We are proud of the progress that has been made over the last ten years through multi-sector collaborations across education, business, and community,” said Polly Lusk Page. “By working together, we ensure that Northern Kentucky is a place where our youth are able to dream big and fulfill their aspirations.”

To purchase tickets, click here or call (859) 282-9214 for more information. 

Full list of award winners (except for one, which will be a surprise that evening, the A.D. Albright Outstanding Teacher Award):

2019 Excellence in Education Celebration Honorees

Garren Colvin, Champion of Education

2019 Academic All-Stars

The Academic All-Star Award recognizes Northern Kentucky high school seniors who excel in academics.

Emily C. Girard, Simon Kenton High School
Jared Rowe, Beechwood High School
Margot L. Seidel, Highlands High School
Molly Morgan, Holmes High School
Manu Nair, Larry A. Ryle High School

2019 Career & Technical Academic All-Star

The Career & Technical Academic All-Star Award honors exceptional students who excel in a specific career or technical field.

Su’Mya Herndon-Jones, Kenton County Academies of Innovation and Technology

2019 Student Leadership

The Student Leadership Award recognizes Northern Kentucky high school seniors who excel or exhibit exemplary leadership characteristics.

Bradley N. Hall, II, Pendleton County High School
Leigh Emmanuelle “Emma” Wichmann, Larry A. Ryle High School
Anna Mae Impellitteri, Conner High School

2019 Against All Odds

The Against All Odds Award recognizes Northern Kentucky high school seniors who have overcome obstacles to achieve academic and life success.

Destinee Matthews, Holmes High School
Brianna Hammond, Kenton County Academies of Innovation and Technology
Madison Woods, Campbell County High School

2019 Golden Apple Award Winners

The Golden Apple Awards recognize exemplary Northern Kentucky teachers for their content knowledge and ability to engage students in rigorous and relevant learning opportunities. These teachers are creative, innovative, collaborative and are committed to continuous professional growth. They’re dedicated to building positive relationships students, parents, colleagues, and partners and providing leadership within their building, district, and community.


Kristina Bell
Kindergarten, Mary A. Goetz Elementary, 8-year veteran

Amanda Berringer
Special Education/3rd Grade, Lincoln Elementary School, 16-year veteran

Samantha Hall
3rd Grade Reading, Southern Elementary, 24-year veteran

Hannah Hofstetter
Art/Kindergarten-2nd Grade, Newport Primary School, 5-year veteran

Toni Hook
3rd Grade, Erpenbeck Elementary, 10-year veteran

Lynda Neltner
2nd Grade, John W. Reiley Elementary, 13-year veteran

Divisions Maintenance Group, Business Engagement –Student Devan Carrigan is behind the camera.

Jackie Sheaffer
Reading/Primary Grades, Walton-Verona Elementary, 16-year veteran

Jack Steele
Art Education/Kindergarten-5th Grade, Longbranch Elementary, 23-year veteran

Debra Wallace
3rd Grade, Crossroads Elementary, 18-year veteran

Middle & High School

Amanda Dempsey
Senior Academic Seminar/12th Grade, Kenton County Academies, 10-year veteran

Jonathan Heinrichs
History of Americas and US History/11th-12th Grades, Holmes High School, 6-year veteran

Robert Keller
Art/7th-12th Grades, Ludlow High School, 16-year veteran

Robert Laterza
Science/6th Grade, Holmes Middle School, 4.5-year veteran

Christopher Manker
Mathematics/9th-12th Grades, Campbell County High School, 15-year veteran

Ryan Neaves
Social Studies/7th Grade, Social Studies Dept. Chair, Tichenor Middle School, 5-year veteran

Candy Osborne
Math/7th Grade, Maurice Bowling Middle School, 7-year veteran

Erin Pifer
Media Specialist and Computer Coding Instruction/6th-8th Grades, Ockerman Middle School, 15-year veteran

Jamiee Sampson
English/11th-12th Grades, Walton-Verona High School, 14-year veteran

Cameron White
Agriculture, Horticulture, and Animal Science/9th-12th Grades, Randall K. Cooper High School, 11-year veteran

Student Services Award

The Student Services Award recognizes educators who are responsible for school counseling innovations and who demonstrate leadership, advocacy and collaboration to promote equity and access to opportunities for all students.

Susan E. Back
School Guidance Counselor, Simon Kenton High School, 12-year veteran

Jenny McMillen
College & Career Readiness Coordinator, Ludlow Independent Schools, 23-year veteran

2019 A.D. Albright Outstanding Administrator of the Year

The A.D. Albright Outstanding Administrator of the Year award recognizes an administrator from Northern Kentucky who demonstrates exceptional achievement in leadership, professional accomplishments, innovation in support of education and community involvement.

Jamee Flaherty
Assistant Superintendent for Student Services, Fort Thomas Independent Schools

2019 Business Engagement of the Year

The Business Engagement of the Year Award recognizes a local business that is engaged with a Northern Kentucky school and is dedicated to improving student achievement through high impact partnership activities.

Divisions Maintenance Group

2019 Spirit of the Region

Boone County School District
Kenton County School District
Children, Inc.
[Ignite Institute]

2019 Champion of Education

Garren Colvin, President and CEO, St. Elizabeth Healthcare

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