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Goshen Elementary students welcomed visitors to their school May 9 to honor a fifth-grade teacher as one of this year’s ExCel award winners.
Ruthie Parrott is one of 13 teachers to receive the award, given by WHAS-11 television and Louisville Gas & Electric/Kentucky Utilities.
Parrott, a graduate of South Oldham High School, began teaching at Goshen in 2005.
The ExCel awards honor teachers for classroom excellence and educational leadership.
Gary Roedemeier, WHAS-11 reporter, told Parrott it was her day to shine in the spotlight.
“We’re here to honor that person, who in a great educational community in Oldham County, has been chosen as the one person — the one teacher — who exemplifies excellence in our public school system,” Roedemeier said.
Parrott’s innovative teaching strategies previously caught the school officials’ attention — her class is used as the district’s lab class.
Her students are often found hard at work with no shoes on, sitting on exercise balls.
Principal Lisa Peters said it may be unconventional, but it works.
“It’s organized and meaningful playfulness,” she said. “It looks chaotic but there is intense learning going on.”
Parrott’s contributions outside the school also received high praise from her colleagues and the award committee.
Before each school year begins, Parrott schedules an in-home visit with each of her students. She said she can learn a lot about students and their families during that visit.
Parrott continues that relationship by attending at least one extracurricular event for each student during the school year.
As an ExCel award recipient, Parrott received a golden apple trophy — which she jokingly kissed during the ceremony — and $1,000 from LG&E/KU.
She will also attend a black-tie banquet with other winners in September.
Oldham County Judge-Executive David Voegele proclaimed May 8 as “Excellence in teaching and Ruthie Parrott” day.
“This will be Mrs. Parrott Day today and forever in Oldham County, he said, eliciting “Ohhhhs” from envious students.
Will Wells, incoming superintendent, also presented a commendation from State Rep. David Osborne and Speaker of the House Greg Stumbo.
Wells said he was honored to present the award because he has noticed Parrott’s dedication since meeting her several years ago during a leadership program.
“I’ve long been impressed with her and her drive to be excellent in all that she does,” he said.
The celebration ended with two musical performances.
Former student Jennifer Stekardis played Katy Perry’s “Fireworks” on the piano in Parrott’s honor.
Then, Parrott’s current students danced flash mob-style while two students, Emma Fawbush and Makena Brown, sang their own lyrics about Parrott to the tune of Hot Chelle Ray’s “Tonight, Tonight.”
The song included praise for Parrott’s smiles and laughter — and her penchant for Diet Coke.
Her husband, Richard, and son, Anderson, attended the presentation, along with her parents.
She attended Georgetown College, where she earned her undergraduate degree in 2003, and the University of Louisville, where she earned her master’s degree in 2005.
Parrott also received a 2012 Pyramid Award from the Oldham County Educational Foundation as part of a group. Parrott and the school’s other fifth-grade teachers created a cookbook to help students apply decimal and fraction skills. Proceeds from selling the cookbook were donated to charity.
Parrott credits her colleagues and students for making her a better teacher.
“All of you guys are amazing,” she said. “Goshen wouldn’t be the amazing school that it is without every single one of you guys sitting out there.”