Sara Appleby, a language arts teacher at Daviess County Middle School, has been named one of nine semifinalists from among 24 educators who were selected as 2015 Ashland Inc. Teacher Achievement Award winners. The Kentucky Department of Education had previously announced that teachers in the Daviess County Public Schools district were honored in all three levels of recognition. Abby Flake, a teacher at Audubon Elementary School; and Michelle Ruckdeschel, a math teacher at Beacon Central High School, were also honored as Teacher Achievement Award winners.
Appleby is one of three Kentucky middle school Teacher of the Year semifinalists whose nominations were reviewed by a blue-ribbon panel of veteran educators. Nominees were judged based on their teaching philosophies, teaching experience, community involvement and letters of recommendation.
Judging continues with classroom visits and personal interviews. The 2015 Middle School Teacher of the Year will be announced Oct. 23 in Frankfort, with the winner representing Kentucky for the 2015 National Teacher of the Year competition.
Appleby is known for transforming her classroom into a variety of “learning environments” to bring lessons to life for her students. She has turned desks into operating tables so students can dissect sentences; and produced runway style shows to illustrate how different authors display various writing styles.
She also takes very seriously her responsibilities as a role model. “I ask my students to be leaders every day, so I must model for them in my own personal life,” she said. Her leadership at DCMS has included serving as a writing portfolio cluster leader and training colleagues across the district in the Literacy Design Collaborative Initiative.
Appleby has served as a language arts teacher at DCMS for 12 years. She earned a bachelor of arts degree at Lambuth University in Jackson, Tenn., and a master of science degree in curriculum and instruction from Brescia University in 2005. She began her teaching career at McLean County High School in 2001 and joined DCPS in August 2002.
“Sara Appleby’s personal and professional commitment is to challenge and encourage each student to be better each day, as learners and as individuals,” said DCPS Superintendent Owens Saylor. “She emphasizes improvements in attitude, knowledge and understanding, nurturing passions and growing with integrity, holding her students accountable for their learning and for their character. Students need look no further than their teacher to see an exemplary role model for these expectations. Sara Appleby radiates love for the teaching profession and the students she serves.”