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

Western & Southern Financial Group •
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Western & Southern Financial Group (Western & Southern) has announced 20 finalists for the 2019 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 2019 were chosen from nominations submitted by CPS teachers and administrators:

  • Rebecca Arlington, Mt. Airy School
  • Daniel Bird, Roberts Paideia Academy
  • Aaron Brown, Academy of World Languages
  • Dr. Jonathan Brown, William H. Taft School
  • Morgan Chapman, William H. Taft School
  • Veronica Cotton, John P. Parker School
  • Susan Fox, Oyler School
  • Judy Ganance, Parker Woods Montessori School
  • Brian Kennedy, Woodward Career Technical High School
  • Erin Kernohan, Midway School
  • Carrie McCarthy, Woodward Career Technical High School
  • Jennifer Miller, Fairview-Clifton German Language School
  • Rebecca Neighborgall, Virtual High School
  • Aaron Parker, Aiken High School
  • Tania Relyea, Evanston Academy
  • John Rowe, School for Creative and Performing Arts
  • Deidre Simpson, Evanston Academy
  • Betsy Singh, School for Creative and Performing Arts
  • Elizabeth Thole, Western Hills University High School
  • Lisa Votaw, Aiken High School

The recipient of the 2019 award will be announced May 21 at a ceremony and reception hosted by Western & Southern at The Guilford Institute on its downtown Cincinnati campus. The award winner will receive a personal check for $10,000 from Western & Southern. 

“Western & Southern recognizes that educators and administrators in the Cincinnati Public School system work hard and directly impact our community through the children they guide and teach,” said John F. Barrett, chairman, president and chief executive officer for 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 commitment to inspiring Cincinnati’s children to excel in the classroom and beyond.”

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

  • 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.

About Western & Southern Financial Group
Founded in Cincinnati in 1888 as The Western and Southern Life Insurance Company, Western & Southern Financial Group, Inc. (Western & Southern), a Fortune 500 company, is now the parent company of a group of diversified financial services businesses. Its assets owned ($51.6 billion) and managed ($23.3 billion) totaled $74.9 billion as of Dec. 31, 2018. Western & Southern is one of the strongest life insurance groups in the world. Its seven life insurance subsidiaries (The Western and Southern Life Insurance Company, Western-Southern Life Assurance Company, Columbus Life Insurance Company, Gerber Life Insurance Company, Integrity Life Insurance Company, The Lafayette Life Insurance Company and National Integrity Life Insurance Company) maintain very strong financial ratings. Other member companies include Eagle Realty Group, LLC; Fort Washington Investment Advisors, Inc.;1 IFS Financial Services, Inc.; Peppertree Partners LLC;1 Touchstone Advisors, Inc.;1 Touchstone Securities, Inc.;2 W&S Brokerage Services, Inc.;2 and W&S Financial Group Distributors, Inc. Western & Southern is the title sponsor of six major community events every year, including the Western & Southern Open, a premier event in the U.S. Open Series played each August by the world’s top-ranked professional male and female tennis players.

1 A registered investment advisor.
2 A registered broker-dealer and member FINRA / SIPC.
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