Blandford is nominee for Kentucky teacher of the year

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By Geoff Hamill

Millie Blandford, integrated science teacher at Washington County High School, has been nominated for the Kentucky Teacher of the Year award sponsored by Ashland, Inc.

Blandford, who has taught for 14 years, is in her third year at Washington County High School. She previously taught for three years in Nelson County and eight years at North Washington Elementary School. She was originally named one of 24 Kentucky teachers to receive the 2009 Ashland Inc. Teacher Achievement Award, and now is one of three semifinalists for the high school teacher of the year award. One winner will be selected from the elementary, middle school and high school divisions, and one overall winner will be named Kentucky’s teacher of the year.

“I got an e-mail telling me I had been nominated, and if somebody’s going to take the time to nominate me, I’m going to honor that by filling out the application and submitting it,” Blandford said.

She will find out the results on Oct. 22, but first, she has a big day on the horizon. On Oct. 14, Blandford will be observed by judges for the competition, and they will score her and the other teachers in the competition to determine the winner. Still, she says she will not change her teaching methods or alter her plans.

“I am a little bit nervous,” she admitted. “But I’m really excited. I’m just going to do what I normally do. I’m ending a unit right now, and I’ll be starting a new unit after fall break, so I’ll just go from there.”

If selected as Kentucky’s teacher of the year, Blandford will then be in the running for the national teacher of the year award. In addition, she will receive a $10,000 cash prize, and other prizes could be included to benefit her classroom and students. After being selected to the round of 24 teachers from across Kentucky, she earned a $500 award, and even if she is not the top teacher in the state, an award of $3,000 will come her way if she is named the top high school teacher in the state.

Blandford is no stranger to awards, and she recently won another as she was selected as a winner of the ING Unsung Heroes award. She wrote a grant detailing how she would use the prize money if selected, and was in the running for prizes of $2,000 up to $25,000 to be used in the classroom. While she did not win the top prize, Blandford was one of 100 teachers nationwide to receive $2,000 for her efforts. She plans to use the money to help her students produce videos about physical science, then have those videos uploaded to the Internet for use by other teachers in their classrooms.

She was also honored in 2007 with the Amgen Award for Science Teaching Excellence, which earned her a $5,000 prize for herself, as well as a $5,000 prize for classroom resources.

Blandford is the daughter of the late Barbara Cheser of Springfield. She is married to Kevin Blandford, and has one son, Dustin Barr, one daughter, Tanya Jury, two grandsons and one step-granddaughter.