CLEARCREEK TWP. — Debbie Contner remembers attending the first Project Excellence banquet in the late 1980s.
The Little Miami Intermediate School principal was among the first to be honored by the fledging program while teaching at Maineville Elementary.
On Monday night, May 3, Contner attended the Area Progress Council’s 23rd Project Excellence banquet at the Warren County Career Center — this time to celebrate with second-year LM Intermediate teacher Steven Holliday and his family as he received the Innovative Teacher award.
Holliday is one of 18 Warren County educators who accepted awards at the banquet, which was served by the career center’s culinary students. Two teachers from each of the county’s school districts, plus one each from the Warren County Career Center and the Warren County Educational Service Center, were honored. They each received $1,050, of which $350 must be used in the classroom according to the winning teacher’s wishes.
Committees, comprising superintendents, APC board members and community residents, evaluated nearly 300 nominations of more than 100 teachers, said Project Excellence co-founder Walt Davis.
“It takes a lot of deliberations to pick the right ones,” Davis said. “If you reward excellence for its own sake, you just get more of it.”
Lebanon business advocate and owner Mike McMurray emceed the event and introduced each educator before their acceptance speeches.
Receiving Excellent Educator awards were Misty Taliaferro of Carlisle; Margaret “Peggy” Hostetter of Franklin; Norine Morgenfeld of Kings; Cathie Cuffman of Lebanon; Jeremy Willis of Little Miami; Chris Anderson of Mason; Betty Jo Baker of Springboro; Heidi Berardinis of Waynesville; and Joy Santoloci of WCCC. Receiving the Innovative Teacher awards were Katie Amos of Carlisle; Stacy Foote of Franklin; Kelly Cefalu of Kings; Amy Combs of Lebanon; Steven Holliday of Little Miami; Debbie Gentene of Mason; Linda Gillum of Springboro; Meghan Philpot of Wayneville; and Barb Reichel-Burnett of WCESC.
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