Two Knox educators selected for Union award

Two Knox County educators are joining an elite group of recognized individuals who have made significant contributions to the teaching profession. 

During visits to Knox Central and Lynn Camp schools on Wednesday, October 8, Union College officials notified Eric Hubbard (Knox Central) and Nicki Hammons (Lynn Camp) that they are the latest recipients of Excellence in Education awards.

These prestigious awards recognize deserving educators from Knox County, representing both Knox Public and Barbourville Independent School Districts, who have outstanding professional accomplishments and career development, while showing great promise for future success.

There are two categories of awards:

The Dr. Warren Robbins Educational Leadership Award-Administrator is named for Dr. Warren Robbins who joined the Union College faculty as Associate Professor of Education & Director of Student teachers in 1957.  He later became Department Head, Vice President for Graduate Affairs, Professor of Education, Dean of Graduate Studies and Dean of Faculty.

Joining this distinguished group of educators is the 2014 Dr. Warren Robbins Educational Leadership Award-Administrator, Nicki Hammons, assistant principal at Lynn Camp Schools.

With nearly twenty-eight (28) years in education, Hammons began her career as an instructional assistant and now serves as the assistant principal at Lynn Camp.

Working through the ranks allows her to truly know the job duties of many important positions in a school.  From her letters of support, there is a constant theme of Hammons’ support of the students, parents and teachers in her school.

Notable comments from her application include:

She is a “lead by example” administrator who exhibits patience and kindness in every situation. 

She provides quick and fair solutions to daily problems and conveys an approachable, open-door policy. 

She is well respected by her staff and peers and is always willing to put in the extra time and effort to make Lynn Camp a better place for everyone.

The second category is the Dr. Mary Alice Lay Teacher-Leader Award-Teacher named for Mary Alice Lay who came to Union as Instructor of Home Economics in 1961 after receiving both the B.S. and M.S. degrees in Home Economics from UK.  Additional graduate studies were pursued through a National Science Fellowship in Nutrition at the University of South Dakota and through travel study in Europe via Indiana State University.

Joining this distinguished group is Knox County’s recipient of the 2014 Dr. Mary Alice Lay Teacher-Leader Award, Michael Eric Hubbard, an English teacher at Knox Central High School.

Hubbard has served as a department chair and PLC (professional learning community) leader of the English Department.   He has also served as an athletic coach, SBDM council member, and as the school’s emergency management coordinator and provides leadership work within the school through professional development training facilitation.

Like Hammons, applications for Hubbard focused on his support among students and colleagues to improve achievement at the school.   Comments from Hubbard’s recommendation letters included:

Eric exhibits a good understanding of what teaching to a diverse classroom looks and feels like and is viewed as a distinguished educator in regards to teaching to close the achievement gap. 

He uses technology and a self-paced curriculum to help students gain needed credits and strives to give his students the skills needed to be college and career ready. 

Each nominee must have completed a minimum of 5 full years teaching experience and currently be working in a P-12 school in Knox County.  Nominations were not limited to Union College alumni.

A committee composed of impartial educators and community members from the region made up the selection committee.  The selection committee noted that there was an impressive number of nominees with inspiring references and educational experiences.  The committee stated that all nominees were examples of excellence, and that the final selection process was difficult.

Also joining Hammons and Hubbard is Sherry Stark, a kindergarten teacher at Barbourville City School.   All three individuals will be honored during homecoming festivities at Union College on Saturday, October 18th.  The award recipients will also be honored at an upcoming Board of Education meeting in their school district.