Three teachers to receive Campbellsville’s Excellence in Teaching award

When Central Office comes knocking at your classroom door with a special delivery, it might be expected that you would have a puzzled look on your face.  At least three Knox County teachers did when staff surprised them with news that they have been selected as the district’s Campbellsville University Excellence in Teaching award recipients.

Olivia Holstein, Kevin Earl Merida, and Jonathan Stephens all received the surprise envelope that informed them that they are this year’s recipients of the award.

“Shock, awe, you’re kidding, it was a great way to share the news with them,” said Frank Shelton, who coordinates the award for the school district.  “They are all great teachers and the excitement of their colleagues and students confirmed that they are excellent at teaching.”

Olivia Holstein has taught first through third grade at Central Elementary.  She is a graduate of Eastern Kentucky University with a Bachelors in P-5 mathematics, from the University of the Cumberlands with a Masters in Teacher Leader with literacy specialist focus, and from Union College where she earned her Rank I.  Recently, Holstein earned recognition having been named a National Board Certified Teacher.

Kevin Earl Merida is a native Panther, having graduated from Knox Central High School and now teaching at Knox County Middle.  He earned his Bachelor’s degree in Middle School Math and Social Studies and his Masters in Educational Leadership from Union College.

Jonathan Stephens is new to Lynn Camp High School and teaching.  He is a graduate of Penn State with a Bachelor’s degree in Plant Science and minors in Plant Pathology and Agronomy.  He came to Knox County Public Schools as a Teach for America teacher and has since been recognized by TFA for his use of technology in the classroom.  He is finishing his second year with KCPS and looking forward to continuing to be a part of the ‘Camper family at Lynn Camp.

Campbellsville University began the Excellence in Teaching Award Program in 1987 with assistance from Mr. Earl Aaron and the Ward, Cundiff, and Aaron Memorial Fund. The purpose of the program is to recognize the quality teaching and learning taking place in the school systems throughout Kentucky. It provides statewide recognition to three outstanding individuals for their leadership and dedication to the teaching profession. Implicit in the award is the expectation that the recipients’ examples may inspire all teachers to excel.

The awards program for Excellence in Teaching 2020 is set for Saturday, May 9th at 11:00 am on the campus of Campbellsville University.

Campbellsville University is a widely acclaimed Kentucky-based Christian university with more than 11,600 students offering over 100 programs of study including Ph.D., master, baccalaureate, associate, pre-professional and certification programs. The university has Kentucky based off-campus centers in Louisville, Harrodsburg, Somerset, Hodgenville and Liberty with instructional sites in Elizabethtown, Owensboro and Summersville. Out-of-state centers include two in California at Los Angeles and Lathrop, located in the San Francisco Bay region.  The website for complete information is