Ohio County teacher Stacey Crowe was awarded Kentucky's special education teacher of the year award by the Kentucky Council for Exceptional Children. Crowe is a special education instructor at Wayland Alexander Elementary School in Hartford.
The Ohio County Board of Education acknowledged Crowe recently for winning the award.
Crowe said he was originally nominated for the award back in April 2019 and went through the process of applying for it before he was made a finalist in September along with two other Kentucky teachers.
After interviewing Wayland and Ohio County Schools staff and observing him in the classroom, KYCEC surprised Crowe at Wayland just a week before the conference by announcing he had won the award.
"I was very honored to be chosen for the award," Crowe said. "I try not to take credit for anything. I always try to put the credit back on the kids."
Crowe has been with Wayland for about two years, but has been teaching for around 16. He has worked with other schools in the Ohio County district as well as Livermore Elementary in McLean County.
Crowe worked as a social worker before becoming a teacher but enjoyed being in the classroom and interacting with children and decided to take the next step in becoming a teacher, receiving his Masters in Special Education from Western Kentucky University.
"Being in the school, I always call it the warm and fuzzy side of social work because I get to do all the fun stuff … when I was doing social work for the state, there's a lot of difficult situations you have to get involved in," Crowe said.
He said being in the classroom allows him to get kids excited about learning and teach them things that will help them in the real world. He wants his students to be able to make connections about what they learn in the classroom to things happening in their everyday lives.
"I want them to be successful when they go out. Simple things like how do I act at Walmart," he said.
Crowe credited Wayland staff and OCS for nominating him for the award and believing he was deserving of it. He said the special education community in the Ohio County district have the opportunity to meet with one another to discuss their different ideas and approaches to teaching.
"In Ohio County we have the opportunity of having all the special education teachers together and talking about all the different ideas and things that we do," he said. "Working in the different schools … and everybody just sharing information for the good of the students. I think that's what's so great about our district."