Education Notes: June 26

Barry Poynter
Barry Poynter


■ For the third time, the Fayette County Envirothon Team will be heading to the Canon National Envirothon competition Aug. 3-10 in Bozeman, Mont., to compete against teams from across the United States, Canada and Mexico.

Fayette County entered three teams in the competition and placed first and second in the Kentucky Envirothon. The teams are made up of students from Paul Laurence Dunbar High School and are coached by Carly Burton, Fayette County's Environmental Education Coordinator, and Eric Comley, 4H Agent for Fayette County.

Throughout the week's competition, all teams will be judged and scored on different environmental issues pertaining to rangelands. Canon presents prizes and awards to the top 15 teams.

State winners heading to the competition are: Lydia Livas, Lauren Comberger, Maria Wang, Emma Daugherty and Ellinor Tai.

Michael T. Benson, who will assume the Eastern Kentucky University presidency on Aug. 1, has been honored by Notre Dame's Mendoza College of Business with its Recent Alumni Service Award.

Benson, who earned a master's degree in nonprofit administration from Mendoza in 2011, also holds a bachelor's degree in political science from Brigham Young University and a doctoral degree in Middle Eastern history from the University of Oxford (St. Antony's College).

The Cincinnati Chapter of the Notre Dame Alumni Association will present the award to Benson in August.

■ The inaugural class of the Governor's School for Entrepreneurs includes five students from Fayette County Public Schools: Ethan Petraitis of Henry Clay High School; Montazia Brown, Ariel Norvell and Esther Putman of Lafayette High; and Paul Johnson of Paul Laurence Dunbar. They were among 50 students invited to spend June 9-29 at Georgetown College for activities that enhance creative thinking and entrepreneurial skills.

The three-week program offers tours of innovative companies and advice from scientists, engineers, product designers, attorneys and other successful professionals in Kentucky. Students also delve into their business plans as they learn about investment capital, production, sales, marketing and long-range strategies. The Governor's School for Entrepreneurs provides an immersing, high-energy summer experience. Rising 10th, 11th and 12th-graders may apply for the free program.

Greg Gorbett, associate professor of Safety, Security and Emergency Management at EKU, has been named one of the Top 10 Fire Science Instructors in the South by, a not-for-profit organization that creates free resources related to fire science, as well as to firefighter and first responder training.

Before joining EKU's faculty, Gorbett spent seven years working as a private consultant in the fire, arson and explosion investigation profession. He earned bachelor's degrees in fire science and forensic science and a master's degree in executive fire service leadership, and is pursuing a master's degree in fire protection engineering.

Joanna Slusarewicz, a rising sophomore at Paul Laurence Dunbar, received the Chronicling America: Historic American Newspaper Prize in this summer's National History Day competition. Her senior-division entry, which placed fourth in the Individual Documentary category, was titled "It's a Jungle Out There: Upton Sinclair Turns the Tables on the Chicago Meatpackers and the Food Industry."

In addition, students from Winburn Middle earned the junior division's Outstanding Entry for Kentucky award with their group website project. "Kristallnacht: The Beginning of Hitler's Final Solution" was designed and produced by Rohith Kesaraju, Akhil Kesaraju and Bobby Bose. Their entry placed 10th nationally in its category.

Winburn's Zane Jacobs and Alex Kehler placed 14th in junior group exhibit for "Panama Canal: Connecting Two Oceans."

Junior and senior division winners and runners-up in each category advanced to the national competition June 9-13 at the University of Maryland.

Coleman Stivers, a rising senior at Lafayette High School and an FFA member at Locust Trace AgriScience Farm, placed first in Agriculture Entrepreneurship Proficiency and second in the Prepared Speech contest at the state FFA convention June 12 in Lexington. Catherine Jones also competed at the state level after qualifying as runner-up in Horse Impromptu at the March regional.

Also, at the FFA Field Day in April, Locust Trace's veterinary science team outperformed two dozen other programs and Elizabeth Christeon earned the overall high score.

Locust Trace has recently been endorsed by the National Association for Veterinary Technicians in America to offer the approved veterinary assistant certification. The high school program led by Kathleen Magsam is one of only five in the nation offering this certification.

■ Orchestra director Sarah Payne of Bryan Station Middle is among 217 music teachers across the country announced as quarterfinalists for the Music Educator Award, presented by The Recording Academy and the Grammy Foundation.

Payne has taught at Bryan Station Middle since the fall of 2011. She also teaches strings at Deep Springs and Northern elementaries, guides the color guard at Bryan Station High School and serves as KMEA District 7 orchestra chair. Last fall, the Kentucky Music Educators Association named her the District 7 Middle School Teacher of the Year.

Semifinalists will be announced in August. One recipient will be chosen from 10 finalists, and the winner will fly to Los Angeles to attend the Grammy Awards ceremony and receive a $10,000 honorarium.

For more information, visit


Mark Coleman has been named vice president of administration and finance of Lindsey Wilson College. Coleman replaces Roger Drake, who is leaving Lindsey Wilson to become the president of Central Methodist University in Missouri.

Coleman comes to LWC from Cabarrus College of Health Sciences, where he was chief financial officer for the North Carolina school.

Barry Poynter has been named vice president for finance and administration, effective July 1, at Eastern Kentucky University. The appointment coincides with the retirement of James Street, who had served at EKU for 19 years, most recently as vice president for administration.

In addition to his current responsibilities, Poynter will oversee facilities services, human resources, information technology and project administration.


St. Joe Prep Alumni Association will hold an all classes reunion Friday-Saturday. A social sock-hop will be Friday at the Old Kentucky Home Country Club. Reservations preferred, but not required. Cost is $30 per person.

The mass, social hour and banquet will be Saturday. Cost is $20 per person in advance; $25 at the door.

All alumni, undergraduates and friends of St. Joe are invited.

For more information or reservations, contact John Cecil, (502) 348-6522, or Jude Talbott, (502) 348-3453.