Western & Southern Financial Group (Western & Southern) has announced that Erin Kernohan, reading specialist for Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS) at Midway School, has been named the 2019 Dr. Lawrence C. Hawkins Educator of the Year.
Kernohan was chosen by Western & Southern and CPS from finalists who were nominated by their CPS peers for the award. She was recognized with a plaque and a personal check for $10,000 during a ceremony at Western & Southern’s Guilford Institute on its downtown campus.
"I cannot thank you enough for this amazing honor," Kernohan said. "I love my job. I love our kids. They are our not our students, they are our kids," she said standing on the stage after receiving her award. Kernohan has been a CPS teacher for 14 years.
Midway Principal Martha Hasselbusch nominated Kernohan for the award. In the nomination, Hasselbusch recognized Kernohan’s dedication to teaching, even during the summer months. "Erin calls her students in July so they can continue reading together," wrote Hasselbusch.
"These calls had a positive impact on one of her current students. Last year, a third-grader at Midway asked Erin if she would be calling more students this summer. He said, 'Mrs. K, I really think you should because it made me feel really good about myself. I know you cared that I kept reading and that felt good,'" wrote Hasselbusch.
"Erin excels at instilling in her students a love for learning and desire to achieve, and she is truly deserving of this award," said Laura Mitchell, superintendent of CPS. "We thank Western & Southern for honoring Erin and commend all of the educators who were nominated."
"We are very pleased to recognize Erin for her positive impact on student achievement at Cincinnati Public Schools," said John F. Barrett, Western & Southern’s chairman, president and chief executive officer. "Recognizing educators like Erin and preparing young people for the future is a focus of Western & Southern in its efforts to help make Cincinnati the best place to live, work and enjoy life."
Western & Southern established the Dr. Lawrence C. Hawkins Educator of the Year Award in 2007 to inspire and reward excellence among CPS educators. This distinguished award honors one educator each year that has elevated the educational process in public schools to an exceptional level through personal commitment, dedicated focus and outstanding results. The namesake of the award, Dr. Lawrence C. Hawkins, was a member of the elite Tuskegee Airmen, a well-respected Cincinnati educator, former executive vice president of administration at the University of Cincinnati and former Western & Southern board member. He passed away in 2009.