Western & Southern Financial Group Names Finalists for 15th Annual Educator of the Year Award

Western & Southern Financial Group •
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Western & Southern Financial Group has announced 10 finalists for the 2021 Dr. Lawrence C. Hawkins Educator of the Year Award. The award, established by Western & Southern in 2007, honors one educator each year in Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS) who has elevated the educational process in the district to an exceptional level through personal commitment, dedicated focus and outstanding results. 

Finalists for 2021, chosen from nominations submitted by CPS teachers and administrators, are: 

  • Alison Abrahim, Dater Montessori High School
  • Kelly Boosinger, Gilbert A. Dater High School
  • Tanya Ficklin, Walnut Hills High School
  • Meggan Glover, Woodward Career Technical High School
  • In Sook Kim, James N. Gamble Montessori High School
  • Jennifer Miller, Fairview-Clifton German Language School
  • Eric Rozier, Cincinnati Digital Academy/Virtual High School
  • Jennifer Smith, Woodford Academy
  • Natasha Taylor, Pleasant Ridge Montessori School
  • Mary Wertheimer, Clark Montessori High School

The recipient of the 2021 award will be announced May 6 and will receive $10,000 from Western & Southern. 

“The Dr. Lawrence C. Hawkins Educator of the Year Award is a wonderful way for us to recognize and reward these educators for their commitment to inspiring Cincinnati’s children to excel,” said John F. Barrett, chairman, president and chief executive officer for Western & Southern.

Past recipients of the award (listed with their schools at time of award): 

  • Stacey Hill-Simmons, Evanston Academy, 2020
  • Erin Kernohan, Midway School, 2019
  • Jo Guido, Clark Montessori High School, 2018
  • Belinda Wallace, Rockdale Academy, 2017
  • Melissa Estell, Woodford Paideia Academy, 2016
  • Krista Taylor, Gamble Montessori High School, 2015
  • Mary Beth Platen, Fairview-Clifton German Language School, 2014
  • Harrison Collier, Jr., Walnut Hills High School, 2013 
  • Kathleen Donohoue, Sayler Park Elementary, 2012 
  • Barbara J. James, Riverview East Academy, 2011 
  • Nancy L. Johnson, CPS Turnaround Team, 2010 
  • Angela Roddy, a consulting teacher for CPS, 2009 
  • Kimya Moyo, Aiken College & Career High School, 2008 
  • Sharon Johnson, Withrow University High School, 2007

Western & Southern’s inspiration for establishing the award in 2007 was Dr. Lawrence C. Hawkins, a renowned educator in Cincinnati who served as a distinguished member of the Western & Southern board of directors for many years. Hawkins, a member of the elite Tuskegee Airmen, earned undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Cincinnati, as well as a doctorate in education. He worked as both an educator and administrator at CPS before joining the University of Cincinnati faculty where he founded the College of Community Affairs. He was promoted to vice president of continuing education and metropolitan affairs and then again to executive vice president of administration. Hawkins served on several local community and business boards, and was named a Great Living Cincinnatian in 1989 by the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber of Commerce.

About Cincinnati Public Schools
At Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS), we are preparing students for life. We are creating more choices and more opportunities for our nearly 36,000 students and their families. It starts with preschool - over 80% of our preschool classrooms earning a 5-star rating from the Ohio Department of Education. By 2020, all CPS neighborhood schools will have a specialized curriculum tailored to the character and priorities of the schools' communities. CPS High School students have a variety of choices for career-focused programming, ensuring that our graduates are enrolled in college, enlisted in the military or employed. Our strategic initiatives will ensure that Cincinnati is a Destination City – a place where our students can learn, create and thrive.