Christina O’Bryan Howard, a mathematics teacher at College View Middle School, and Steve Easley, a social studies teacher at Daviess County High School, have been selected as two of 24 Kentucky educators to receive the 2019 Valvoline Teacher Achievement Award.
Judging was conducted by a blue-ribbon panel of veteran educators and was based on review of nominees’ teaching philosophies, teaching experiences, community involvement and letters of recommendation from administrators, colleagues, students and parents.
Howard and Easley will be honored at a May 15 ceremony at the Capitol Building in Frankfort. From the field of 24 honorees, Kentucky Elementary, Middle and High School Teachers of the Year will be selected. Those three finalists will then be considered for overall Kentucky Teacher of the Year honors; and that person will represent the state in the national Teacher of the Year competition.
Christina O’Bryan Howard was named Teacher of the Year at College View Middle School School in May 2017 and was selected as the elementary school recipient of the Daviess County Public Schools’ Teaching Excellence Award in August 2017. Howard has served as a cooperating teacher for student teachers and has facilitated numerous presentations at the district and state levels, including a workshop on Nearpod and Formative Assessment at the 2017 DCPS TeachMeet event, focusing on how educators can use highly engaging websites to formatively assess student progress. Howard has also facilitated professional development sessions on using the Continuous Instructional Improvement Technology System for lesson planning and the creation and administration of assessments. She is a member of the CVMS School-Based Decision Making Council, faculty council, homework committee and discipline committee, and serves as an eighth-grade team leader.
Howard was awarded a bachelor of science degree in middle grades education with a high school mathematics endorsement from Brescia University in 1993, and a master’s degree in middle grades mathematics from Western Kentucky University in 1996. She earned her Rank I certification from Indiana Wesleyan University in 2003. She began her education career in 1993 at St. Mary of the Woods Grade School and Trinity High School before joining DCPS as a math and language arts teacher at Burns Middle School in 1994. She has taught math at College View Middle School since 2002.
CVMS Principal Jennifer Crume said Howard’s classroom is an exemplary learning environment in which students are engaged in authentic learning. “Christina asks students to deliver results and stretches their learning,” Crume said. “Her classroom is structured for all kinds of learners. She is dependable, organized, conscientious and prepared; she is also compassionate and genuinely cares for students. She respects their dignity and treats everyone with respect.”
“One of my favorite quotes is attributed to Alex Haley: ‘Anytime you see a turtle up on top of a fence post, you know it had some help,’ ” Howard said. “Like that said turtle, I certainly have had my share of help over the years: Fellow teachers who were my mentors; district and school leadership who encouraged me and provided me with professional development opportunities; students who challenged me and who gave me all of their efforts; family and friends who have been my support network. I am honored by this award because it is an acknowledgement of not only my efforts, but of all of those who have helped me along the way.”
Steve Easley was named Teacher of the Year at Daviess County High School in May 2017 and was selected as the high school recipient of the Daviess County Public Schools’ Teaching Excellence Award in August 2017. He is a member of the DCPS Certified Evaluation Plan Committee and has made numerous presentations at the district and regional levels. He serves as the sponsor of the Y-Club, co-sponsor of the Young Democrats, and is an assistant academic team coach. Professional memberships include involvement in the Historical Properties Advisory Commission Rotunda Committee, Kentucky Educators Association, College Board AP Readers (Human Geography), serving as co-commissioner of the Pennyrile Academic Association, and serving as a faculty member in the area of historical analysis for the Kentucky Governor’s Scholars Program.
Easley earned National Board Teaching Certification in the area of adolescence and young adulthood / social studies and history in December 2017. He has a bachelor of arts degree in secondary social studies education (2005) and a master of arts in secondary education (2006) from the University of Kentucky. Easley began his teaching career at Daviess County High School as a math and credit recovery educator in 2007 and has taught social studies for grades 9-12 at DCHS since 2012.
Aristofanes Cedeno, executive director and academic dean of the Kentucky Governor’s Scholars Program, said, “Steve has been an invaluable asset to our educational endeavor. He has the soul of an educator and possesses the heart of a leader. I have appreciated the originality of his ideas, the insightfulness of his questions, the clarity of his answers and the cordiality of his remarks. Steve’s teaching is consistently of the highest order.”
“No teacher goes into education to win awards or gain recognition, so when that recognition happens it is a terrific and unexpected honor,” Easley said. “I believe that public education is one of the greatest gifts we have to give our future generations and I feel privileged to be a part of shaping young people and helping them grow in their educational pursuits. DCHS is a phenomenal school and we have some of the best students in the entire state, and I get to work with other amazing educators each day. I am appreciative of the Kentucky Department of Education and Valvoline for this tremendous honor.”