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Teacher of Year Kevin Dailey of NKY reports on KDE project to find what makes good classrooms

Kevin Dailey, the 2024 Kentucky Teacher of the Year and a social studies teacher at BallyShannon Middle School, provided an update on his ambassadorship with the Kentucky Department of Education at a recent board meeting of the Kentucky Board of Education.

Dailey began a six-month ambassadorship with KDE in January, where he plans to work on a project studying the idea of the perfect classroom, or as he puts it, the imperfect classroom.

“I believe that the teacher is the most important part of the classroom,” said Dailey.

Kevin Daily report to the Kentucky Board of Education. (Photo by Joe Ragusa/KDE)

Part of Dailey’s work includes traveling to school districts across the Commonwealth and observing classrooms and the teachers that run them; celebrating the work they do.

“To be clear, I’m not looking for the best at anything,” he said. “This isn’t an award; this isn’t some career thing; I want teachers who have made a classroom where people want to be.”

Dailey plans to visit a classroom in each district, observe them, and publicize his observations for current and prospective educators.

“You have magic as an educator, all you have to do is find it within yourself and make it your classroom,” said Dailey.

He said the project will help address teacher retention issues by making educators feel valued and trusted.

“Do you want to know the times where I’ve wanted to be a teacher more than anything else? It’s when I know what I’m doing matters,” said Dailey.

Board members expressed excitement about Dailey’s work.

“There is important clinical preparation that has to happen. You’ve got to have that skill set,” said KBE Vice Chair Lu S. Young. Educators need “a quiver full of good, solid pedagogical strategies, but I really do believe that your message will resonate with so many people who are looking to be re-inspired in our profession and to be re-attracted to our profession.”

KBE member Patrice McCrary said she believes the work will have a significant and positive ripple effect on education in Kentucky.

“I also love that you are highlighting individuals who may be frustrated and feeling devalued at this point in time in their career,” she said. “So, thank you for doing that and I hope it becomes contagious.”

See the NKyTribune’s story of Kevin Dailey’s selected as Teacher of the Year here.

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