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MSU alums receive 2024 Teacher Achievement Awards

Two Morehead State University alumni earned 2024 Teacher Achievement Awards from the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE).

Katie HaleKatie Hale (Class of 2011), a third-grade teacher at Ponderosa Elementary School in Boyd County, was an Elementary School Teacher Achievement Award winner. Samuel Whitehead (Class of 2010), a 12th-grade math teacher at Rowan County Senior High School and a dual-credit instructor at MSU, was a recipient of the High School Teacher Achievement Award.

Hale has been an educator for 12 years in Boyd County and has taught at Ponderosa Elementary School for the last five years. She graduated from MSU with a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education, K-5, and earned a master’s degree in teaching leadership, K-12, from the University of the Cumberlands.

Hale serves in additional roles as a teacher leader, a mentor teacher to first-year educators, and a digital learning coach. She is in the process of obtaining her National Board certification as a middle childhood generalist.

Whitehead teaches 12th-grade advanced math topics at Rowan County Senior High School and dual-credit math courses through MSU's Eagle Scholars program. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from MSU and a master’s degree in applied mathematics at Eastern Kentucky University.

Samuel WhiteheadWhitehead serves on the Kentucky Teacher Retirement System Nomination Committee and is a chemical intelligence officer for the 149th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade in the Kentucky Army National Guard. He was the first Dr. Stephen Pruitt Innovative and Inspirational Educator of the Year recipient in 2021. Whitehead also earned the LEX18 Extra Credit Award for Teacher of the Week in March 2020.

The KDE selected 22 Kentucky educators at the elementary, middle school and high school levels as recipients of the 2024 Kentucky Teacher Achievement Awards on July 5. These teachers qualify for the 2024 Kentucky Teacher of the Year Award, which will be announced in September.

“Mrs. Katie Hale and Mr. Samuel Whitehead were selected from a pool of nearly 1,400 nominees from across the state. Our alumni have received recognition and represent MSU’s teacher education programs well. Many of our alumni have received Teacher of the Year recognitions from their school districts and professions,” said Dr. April Miller, dean of the Ernst and Sara Lane Volgenau College of Education. “Our teachers in the field are making a positive impact in the lives of children and youth every day.”

To learn more about MSU’s Volgenau College of Education and its programs, call 606-783-2162 or visit

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