A Canton City teacher has been named a finalist for Ohio’s Teacher of the Year.
The State Board of Education has selected Kathleen Pugh, a Hartford Middle School teacher, as one of the four finalist teachers. The finalists were announced Monday by the Ohio Department of Education. Also, the 10 teachers who will represent one of the state boards districts were announced Monday.
Pugh was named the 2023 State Board Teachers of the Year for District 8.
Stephanie Siddens (interim superintendent of public instruction) praised all the teachers for their hard work, dedication, and talent during an online presentation in which each state board district teacher was presented.
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“This remarkable group of teachers instills a passion for lifelong learning while advancing student success,” Siddens said. “These educators embody the countless reasons we celebrate our teachers.”
Kathy Pugh has taught in Canton and Louisville schools
Pugh, who will begin her 25th year in education this fall, didn’t originally plan to be a teacher.
She graduated in 1984 with a bachelor’s degree from Kent State University with a major in painting and drawing and a minor in sculpture. Pugh began her career as a fashion designer, and then as a seamstress after she graduated from college. She began to enjoy teaching art to children at Louisville Elementary.
Pugh received her teaching certificate at Walsh University in 1997 and became a teacher at Louisville. Pugh taught second and fourth grade students for six years before becoming a middle-school visual arts teacher.
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Pugh transferred to the Canton City School District around 2013 where she became a visual arts teacher position at Hartford Middle School, which houses the district’s science, technology, education, art, math and medicine academy.
In a video posted online Monday, Pugh said she doesn’t feel as though she’s teaching. Pugh considers herself a lifelong student who facilitates knowledge sharing in a shared space.
It could be shared by students, parents, grandparents or an architect, a custodian or professional golfer.
“I feel like it is valuable for me to create a space where the students feel safe, to come and fail, to try and try again, to share their knowledge, to gain knowledge,” In the video, Pugh spoke. “But most importantly be creative, be innovative and become a lifelong learner.
“That’s why I go into the building every day. It’s not work. It’s sharing. It’s learning. And it’s something I enjoy immensely every day.”
A Canton City Schools teacher nominated Pugh
Pugh was nominated by Canton City Schools teacher Amanda Gillespie, who called Pugh one of the most dedicated colleagues she has known.
“With her, students don’t just learn the value of art, they learn how art embraces science, music, math, history, computer science, engineering, entrepreneurship and language arts,” Gillespie wrote in her nomination form.
Gillespie said Pugh gives her students various outlets to exhibit and sell their pieces and hires students at her art gallery in downtown Canton, where she gives them on-the-job training.
“She’s an exemplar of a teacher connecting the classroom to the community,” Gillespie said.
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A panel of education and community stakeholders will interview Pugh and the other three state finalists to select the Ohio Teacher of the Year. The state superintendent will announce the statewide honoree in the next few months.
The Ohio Teacher of the Year will represent the state in the National Teacher of the Year selection in fall 2023.
The other three finalists are Jeanne Rankin of Winton Woods City Schools, Jennifer Allen of Hilliard City School District and Melissa Kmetz of Lakeview Local School District.
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