MURRAY, Ky. — Earlier this month, 84 students from eight regional high schools visited Murray State University to participate in the 2018 Educators Rising Conference, an annual event that focuses on why teaching is an important career path.

The conference was hosted by the College of Education and Human Services’ Teacher Quality Institute and was supported through a number of break-out sessions presented by regional teachers and Murray State faculty and staff. Participating students had the opportunity to attend these sessions, to showcase their knowledge through various competitions, to visit the University’s campus and to learn more about going to college.

“Obtaining early exposure to the campus environment increases the likelihood that students will pursue higher education upon graduating high school,” said Dr. David Whaley, dean of the College of Education and Human Services. “We are excited to provide this kind of exposure through opportunities like the Educators Rising Conference.”

Established in 1937, the Future Educators Organization, now Educators Rising, was designed to interest the most promising young people in teaching as a career. Today, the national student organization is dedicated to supporting high school students interested in education-related professions.

“These high-schoolers are at a pivotal moment in their lives, when it’s time to really evaluate their passions and determine the career paths they hope to pursue,” said Kem Cothran, coordinator of the Teacher Quality Institute. “This annual conference allows some of our region’s finest students to further explore the special calling of teaching.”

In addition to the students present, 11 sponsors from the school districts and two visitors from the Kentucky Department of Education were in attendance. Participating high schools included Ballard Memorial, Calloway County, Dawson Springs, Fulton County, Graves County, Lyon County, Paducah Tilghman and Trigg County.

As mentioned, this year’s Educators Rising conference gave students the opportunity to compete in multiple events. Listed below are the winners of these competitions.

Bulletin Board Design

— First: Graves County – Abby Campbell and Gracie Stairs

— Second: Ballard Memorial – Kassidi Gonzalez, Kierstan Guynn, Abby Phelps and Charly Steinbrink

— Third: Alaya Barnett, Tashayah Freeman, Jamila Hagler, Savannah Roberts and AJ Turner

Career Exploration

— First: Fulton County – Suanna Johnson

— Second: Graves County – Bailey Dublin

— Third: Graves County – Zach Alexander

Children’s Literature (K-3)

— First: Fulton County – Jakiron Crumble and Mikiyah Mitchell

— Second: Dawson Springs – Marlee Burden and Abigail McGregor

— Third: Graves County – Maggie Farmer and Haylei Ray

Educators Rising Moment

— First: Fulton County – Marlena Sipes

— Second: Graves County – Kaylee Wilson

— Third: Graves County – Kayla Runge

Impromptu Lesson

— First: Fulton County – Lexi Lewis, Savannah Roberts, Jay Sipes and Carly Worley

— Second: Trigg County – Nicara Allen, Alexis Dicken, Seara Kruger, Logan Mayo and Dupre Rogers

— Third: Ballard Memorial – Kassidi Gonzalez, Kierstan Guynn, Abigail Phelps and Charlynn Steinbrink

Job Interview

— First: Graves County – Nelson Browning

— Second: Lyon County – Ashlynn Doom

— Third: Graves County – Ethan Alexander


— First: Lyon County – Ashlynn Doom

— Second: Graves County – Connor Burnett

— Third: Graves County – Savannah Johnson

Researching Learning Challenges

— First: Graves County – Maddie Beck, Allie Deasel, Zach Lamb, Jakob Mills and Grayson Pate

— Second: Ballard Memorial – Abigail Phelps

The College of Education and Human Services at Murray State offers a variety of teacher education programs, including interdisciplinary early childhood, elementary, middle, secondary, career and technical, special, gifted and health and physical education. The college also provides degrees in communication disorders, criminal justice, nonprofit leadership and social work. Students of the college have opportunities to obtain associate, bachelor’s, master’s, specialist and doctoral degrees in addition to several certificate options.

To learn more about the Murray State Teacher Quality Institute and Educators Rising, please contact Kem Cothran at or 270-809-2090.

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