Forward in the Fifth

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Appalachian Leaders in Education (AppLE) Award

Forward in the Fifth recently hosted and recognized our newest AppLE Award winners, Appalachian Leaders in Education, at The Center for Rural Development in Somerset. The annual  recognition celebrates excellence in education by honoring professional educators and supporters in our 45-county primary service area. Identified below are our current and past winners.


2015 AppLE Award Winners

Early Childhood – Lake Cumberland Community Action Agency
K-12 Teacher – Jason Wheeler
K-12 Administrator – Lans Lay
K-12 Support Staff – Sherry Lanham
Higher Education – Dr. Melinda Willis
Student Group – Bath County Wildcat Leadership Council
Parent Group – Clinton County Healthy Hometown Coalition
Parent Group – Healthy Hometown Coalition
Community/Business Leader – Carol Sexton
Lee & Eleanor Rose Ambassador Award – Christopher Epling

2014 AppLE Award Winners

Early Childhood – Ms. Paula Gray, Pulaski County
K-12 Teacher – Dr. Joyce Bowlin, Clay County
K-12  Support Staff – Ms. Alicia McClurg, Morgan County
K-12 Administrator – Mr. Noel Crum, Johnson County
Higher Education – Dr. James Hurley, University of Pikeville
Adult Education – Ms. Pam Branam, Menifee County
Community/Business Leader – South Kentucky RECC, regional offices
Student/Student Group – Pike County Youth Leadership Council, Pike County

2013 AppLE Award Winners

Early Childhood – Rhonda Crigger, Pike County
K-12 Teacher – Lana Swartz, Menifee County
K-12  Support Staff – Debbie Joseph, Knott County
K-12 Administrator – Jon Day, Perry County
Higher Education – Regina French, Bath County
Community/Business Leader – Bob Hutchison, Johnson County
Parent/Parent Group – Kim Moore, Pulaski County
Student/Student Group – Lindsey Wilson College Bonners Scholars, Adair County
Lee & Eleanor Rose Ambassador Award – Chuck Coldiron, Pulaski County

2012 AppLE Award Winners

Educator – Kelly Bell,  Metcalfe County
Business/Community Leader – Rob Lester,  Pike County
Parent/Parent Group – Michelle Combs, Perry County
Student/Student Group – Abby Witt, Estill County



Forward in the Fifth annually accepts nominations for AppLE awards in four categories: student or student group; parent or parent group; educator or related staff; and business and community leader or civic group. To qualify, nominees must be going above and beyond their normal duties to make a difference in the region served by Forward in the Fifth. A form must be submitted for each individual or group.

“The purpose of the AppLE awards is to acknowledge the positive accomplishments that are being made in all areas of education across Southern and Eastern Kentucky,” said Jim Tackett, executive director of Forward in the Fifth.  “Many individuals and groups have gone above and beyond to improve the overall quality of education in our region, and we want to honor their work and dedication in helping to raise the education attainment levels for all of our students.”

In November 2011, U.S. Congressman Harold “Hal” Rogers (KY-05)—the visionary behind the creation of Forward in the Fifth—was presented the inaugural AppLE award for his role in establishing the nonprofit organization in 1986. His passion and work serves as a model for others to improve education.

Nominations can be submitted within Forward in the Fifth’s 45-county primary service area, which includes: Adair, Bath, Bell, Boyd, Breathitt, Carter, Casey, Clay, Clinton, Cumberland, Elliott, Estill, Floyd, Garrard, Green, Harlan, Jackson, Jessamine, Johnson, Knott, Knox, Laurel, Lawrence, Lee, Leslie, Letcher, Lincoln, Magoffin, Martin, McCreary, Menifee, Metcalfe, Monroe, Morgan, Owsley, Perry, Pike, Pulaski, Rockcastle, Russell, Rowan, Taylor, Wayne, Whitley, and Wolfe.

For more information, contact Forward in the Fifth.





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