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

April 5, 2022

Western & Southern Financial Group has announced 18 finalists for the 2022 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 2022, chosen from nominations submitted by CPS teachers and administrators, are:

  • Clayton Adams, Aiken High School
  • Michael Brown, South Avondale School  
  • Alison Burns, Woodward Career Technical High School
  • Laura Coyne, Academy of World Languages
  • John Crawford, Rees E. Price Academy
  • Shirley Easley, Chase School
  • Jodi Hammond, Midway School
  • Eric Higgins, Clark Montessori High School
  • Katy Hunsberger, Gamble Montessori Elementary School
  • Candace Jones, Woodward Career Technical High School
  • Valecia Kelly, Hughes STEM High School
  • Mark Messerly, Hyde Park School
  • Lindsey Nieberding, Westwood School
  • Jennifer Nieman, Roberts Academy
  • Lori Owens, Cincinnati Public Schools
  • William Shaw, Walnut Hills High School
  • Staci Shockley-Matthews, North Avondale Montessori School
  • Caitlin Taylor, Lighthouse School

The recipient of the 2022 award will be announced May 5 at a ceremony and reception hosted by Western & Southern. The award winner will receive a personal check for $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):

  • Meggan Glover, Woodward Career Technical High School, 2021
  • 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.

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