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Cumberlands honors alumni for achievement in education


Ben Stein and Dr. Jim Taylor, Cumberlands’ president, present a 21st century leadership award to Lori G. Hollen, one of five alumni honored during “21st Century Leadership” events.

Williamsburg, Ky.—University of the Cumberlands recently recognized five alumni who have made significant contributions in the field of education. The awards for, “…dedication and commitment to motivate young people to be better citizens who appreciate the ethical values and principles that provide the foundation for 21st century leadership,” were presented at a dinner hosted by Kappa Delta Phi honor society and the Kentucky Education Association Student Program (KEASP). The dinner was held on April 7, prior to the University’s fourth annual leadership program, and both events were sponsored by the Forcht Group of Kentucky Center for Excellence in Leadership. Dr. Jim Taylor, UC president, and Ben Stein, keynote speaker for the program, “21st Century Leadership,” jointly presented the awards.

Honored at the dinner were: Aaron Anderson, class of 1997, assistant superintendent of McCreary County Schools; Ann Lyttle-Burns, class of 1991, principal of Home/Hospital & Special Programs, Fayette County Public Schools; Amon Couch, class of 1991, a Highly Skilled Educator for the Kentucky Department of Education; Joe Ellison, class of 2001, principal intern, Valley Traditional High School and Atherton High School, Louisville; and Lori Hollen, class of 2001, Highly Skilled Educator for the Kentucky Department of Education.

After his graduation from Cumberlands, Anderson taught history and coached football at McCreary Central High School for four years, served as principal of the middle school for five years, and has been assistant superintendent for two years. He holds additional degrees and certifications from Eastern Kentucky University as well as from University of the Cumberlands, where he is currently pursuing a doctorate in education. An alumnus of the Kentucky Leadership Academy, he was featured as a “Hometown Hero” by the McCreary County Voice for “Making a Difference in McCreary County.” He also was recognized by Governor Ernie Fletcher’s office for assistance with the “No Child Left Offline” program by helping to distribute more than 200 refurbished computers to McCreary County Middle School 8th grade students for use in their homes.

Lyttle-Burns has served the Fayette County Public Schools System in several capacities since 1991, including teaching and coaching. For more than a decade, she has supervised and coordinated programs in homebound situations, at a teen mother center, Job Corps center, spouse abuse center, hospitals and mental health facilities, and she has educational opportunities for incarcerated youth. As an administrator within the Kentucky Educational Collaborative for State Agency Children (KECSAC), Lyttle-Burns serves as a liaison with the Department of Juvenile Justice. She holds a graduate degree and certifications from Eastern Kentucky University, where she is a doctoral student. A member of Phi Kappa Phi, Lyttle-Burns is an alumna of the Kentucky Leadership Academy, and she has received recognition from the Federal Job Corps, Who’s Who and the Upward Bound Hall of Fame.

In his capacity as a Highly Skilled Educator of the Kentucky Department of Education, Couch serves the ASSIST teams of Knox County Schools, Jackson County Schools and Campbellsville Independent Schools. Throughout his career as a teacher and principal, he not only has served in a number of positions that have had a direct impact on students in Corbin, Williamsburg and Whitley County schools but he also has profoundly affected teachers and other education professionals through his dedication and efforts. Couch, who holds a master’s degree from Cumberlands and certifications from UC and EKU, was named Williamsburg High School Teacher of the Year in 1998; received the 1998 Campbellsville College Excellence in Teaching Award; and is listed in Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers.

Ellison began his career as a teacher at Owensboro High School, where he taught English and oral communication and served as an assistant girls basketball coach. He served as assistant principal at Fern Creek Traditional High School in Louisville for two years, and since 2008, he has held his current position at Valley Traditional High School and Atherton High School, also in Louisville. He holds a Master of Education degree from Western Kentucky University and holds teaching and principal certifications for Kentucky and Indiana. In February, Ellison became the assistant director of Christian education at Bates Memorial Baptist Church in Louisville. He has been named to Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers and has been featured in an education section article, in the Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer, entitled, “Presence and Energy.”

Hollen, who will earn her Certificate for Superintendent from University of Kentucky in 2009, holds a Master of Arts in Education degree from Eastern Kentucky University, with an emphasis on instructional leadership, and certificates for instructional supervisor and school principal, as well as middle school math, communications and language arts. She plans to enter Cumberlands’ new Doctor of Education program in the summer. Before joining the Highly Skilled Educator Program, she taught algebra at Clay County High School, where she participated in the Kentucky Leadership Academy, Kentucky Council of Teachers of Mathematics and the Appalachian Math and Science Project. Hollen is the co-author of “A Focus for PLC” facilitator’s manual and the founder of BRITE (Bringing Relevant Information to Educators) Ideas, a company that specializes in designing professional development training and resources that are of high relevance and quality for classroom teachers and administrators.

The goal of the Forcht Group of Kentucky Center for Excellence in Leadership is to promote the University’s mission of leadership, service and growth. The Center’s programs seek to nurture honesty, respect for and service to others, good citizenship, generosity, honor, courage, sound use of time and talents and a good solid work ethic.