Western & Southern Names Finalists for 14th Annual Educator of the Year Award

Western & Southern Financial Group •
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Western & Southern Financial Group has announced 20 finalists for the 2020 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 who has elevated the educational process in the district to an exceptional level through personal commitment, dedicated focus and outstanding results. 

Finalists for 2020 were chosen from nominations submitted by CPS teachers and administrators:

  • Kathryn Arinsmier, Cincinnati Public Schools
  • Justin Broyles, Cheviot School
  • Glen Calhoun, Rees E. Price Academy
  • Adam Cooper, Withrow University High School
  • Shirley Easley, Chase School
  • Lisa Good, Robert A. Taft Information Technology High School
  • Carrie Hess-Wilson, Western Hills University High School
  • Stacey Hill-Simmons, Evanston Academy
  • Candace Jones, Woodward Career Technical High School
  • Megan Kreaps, Gilbert A. Dater High School
  • Michelle Leisgang, Woodford Paideia Academy
  • Beverly Mallory, Withrow University High School
  • Carrie McCarthy, Woodward Career Technical High School
  • Jennifer Miller, Fairview-Clifton German Language School
  • Suzanne Nall, Cincinnati Public Schools
  • Aaron Parker, Aiken High School
  • Alice Pixley-Young, School for Creative and Performing Arts
  • Deidre Simpson, Evanston Academy
  • ShaDonn Stewart, Pleasant Ridge Montessori School
  • Elizabeth Thole, Western Hills University High School

The award winner will receive a personal check for $10,000 from Western & Southern and will be announced on May 7.  Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Western & Southern will not be holding a ceremony this year.

“Western & Southern is grateful for the commitment of the educators in the Cincinnati Public School system in addressing one of the most important challenges facing our society today – preparing our children for the future,” said John F. Barrett, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Western & Southern. “The Dr. Lawrence C. Hawkins Educator of the Year Award is a way for us to recognize and reward these educators for their hard work in helping children excel in the classroom and beyond.”

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

  • 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.