Sam Northern recognized as 2021 Kentucky Teacher of the Year Semifinalist
By Lauren Weitlauf, WKU

Posted on September 14, 2020 3:29 PM


WKU doctoral student Samuel Northern is one of nine educators from across the state selected as semifinalists for the 2021 Kentucky Teacher of the Year award. He is a graduate of Russellville High School.

Northern is in his second to last year of the WKU Educational Leadership Doctoral Program and is also seeking an endorsement in Gifted and Talented Education, and a certification for Supervisor of Instruction. Northern has earned two degrees from WKU -- a bachelor’s in Business Management in 2008 and a master’s in Library Media Education in 2014. He’s currently a Teacher-Librarian at Simpson Elementary School in Simpson County, Kentucky.

“I have spent the past 12 years learning with and from esteemed educators at Logan County Schools and Simpson County Schools,” Northern said. “Experience has taught me that perfect lesson plans do not measure success. My real reward is being able to motivate students and witness their growth.”

Northern’s professional ambitions lie in teaching and learning and he mentions that nothing brings him more joy than collaborating with educators and supporting their teaching practices. He plans to use his experience and expertise to work as an instructional coach with classroom teachers to support student learning.

“Sam is an exemplary educator and the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences is proud to have him during the continuation of his education,” said Corinne Murphy, dean of the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences. “He’s an excellent representation of what it means to be ‘Teacher of the Year’.”

A classroom lesson review and interview with each semifinalist will result in the selection of the 2021 Elementary School, Middle School and High School Teachers of the Year. The semifinalist with the highest cumulative score will be named the 2021 Kentucky Teacher of the Year and will go on to represent Kentucky in the 2021 National Teacher of the Year competition. Awards will be presented in October.

Sam Northern, who has spent much of his teaching career in Simpson County, is the son of Dr. Karen and Keith Northern of Russellville.


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