A Canton City teacher was named a finalist for Ohio’s Teacher of the Year.
Kathleen Pugh, who teaches fine arts at Hartford Middle School, is one of four teachers selected as a finalist by the State Board of Education. The Ohio Department of Education announced Monday the finalists, as well as the 10 teachers selected to represent one of the state board’s districts.
Pugh was named 2023 State Board Teacher of the Year for District 8.
Stephanie Siddens, Interim Superintendent of Public Instruction, applauded all recognized educators for their talent, hard work and dedication to their students during an online presentation that featured each State District Teacher of the Year.
Previous Stark County District 8 winners:Canton South teacher Nancy Q. Miller is State Board Teacher of the Year for District 8
“This remarkable group of teachers inspires a passion for lifelong learning while encouraging student success,” said Siddens. “These educators embody the myriad reasons we celebrate our teachers.”
Kathy Pugh has taught in Canton and Louisville schools
Pugh, who will begin her 25th year of college this fall, had no intention of becoming 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. After graduating, Pugh took a job at a financial institution and then began working as a fashion designer and seamstress. During this time, she volunteered to teach art to students at Louisville Elementary and discovered her passion for teaching and the arts.
In 1997 Pugh received her teaching certificate from Walsh University and became a teacher in Louisville. She taught second and fourth grade students for six years and then became a middle school fine arts teacher.
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Pugh transferred to the Canton City school district around 2013, where she accepted a position as a fine arts teacher at Hartford Middle School, which houses the district’s Academy of Science, Technology, Education, Arts, Mathematics and Medicine.
In a video posted online Monday, Pugh said she didn’t feel like teaching. She sees herself as a lifelong learner, facilitating the sharing of knowledge in a shared space.
This space could be with students, parents, grandparents, a caretaker, an architect, a professional golfer, or anyone else who wants to share their knowledge.
“I think there’s value to me in creating a space where students feel safe, come and fail, try and try again, share their knowledge, gain knowledge,” Pugh said in the video. “But most importantly, be creative, innovate and become a lifelong learner.
“That’s why I go into the building every day. It’s not work. it shares It learns. And I enjoy that every day anew.”
A teacher at Canton City Schools nominated Pugh
Pugh was nominated by Canton City Schools teacher Amanda Gillespie, who called Pugh one of the most dedicated peers she knew.
“With her, students not only learn the value of art, they learn how art encompasses science, music, math, history, computer science, engineering, entrepreneurship and the arts of language,” Gillespie wrote in her nomination form.
Gillespie said Pugh gives her students various outlets to display and sell their pieces and hires students at her art gallery in downtown Canton, where she trains them on the job.
“She is a paragon of a teacher who connects the classroom to the community,” Gillespie said.
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A panel of education and community leaders will interview Pugh and the other three state finalists to select Ohio Teacher of the Year. The State Superintendent will announce the national award winner in the coming months.
The Ohio Teacher of the Year will represent the state in the National Teacher of the Year selections in the fall of 2023.
The other three finalists are Jeanne Rankin from Winton Woods City Schools, Jennifer Allen from Hilliard City School District and Melissa Kmetz from Lakeview Local School District.
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