Morehead State University’s quality education programs are known for consistently producing educators who are some of the best in the state. A recent alum from the Volgenau College of Education received recognition for her work in special education. 

The Council for Exceptional Children recently selected Stephanie Hammonds (Class of 2022), an exceptional child instructor at Carl D. Perkins Job Corps in Paintsville, as its 2023 Special Education Teacher of the Year. She received this honor at the State Council for Exceptional Children Conference in Louisville.  

Originally from Topmost but currently residing in Oil Springs, Hammonds’ journey in special education began when she discovered her passion while tutoring students with dyslexia after graduation.  

“That was the first time any educator had ever taken notice of my efforts and made me feel like I had a purpose and I mattered,” Hammond said. “I started class that fall knowing 100% that I would one day be a special education teacher and that every student that entered my classroom would exit knowing how special they were and how much they mattered.”   

A first-generation college student, Hammonds earned a Bachelor of Arts in Learning and Behavior Disorders (LBD) from Pikeville College (now University of Pikeville) in 1994 and enrolled at MSU to earn her Rank II certification in 2022. The program provided substantial preparation and the flexibility she needed to continue her education while raising a family.  

“MSU helped me become the educator I am now by continuously challenging me,” Hammonds said. “I enjoyed my field experience and was able to witness some of the best teachers in the state in their element and took the strengths I observed and incorporated them into my teaching practices.”  

“Stephanie has been an excellent student at MSU, and her professional achievements reflect her leadership and caring nature,” said Dr. April Miller, dean of the Ernst and Sara Lane Volgenau College of Education. “We are very proud that she has been recognized by Kentucky Council for Exceptional Children (KCEC) as the Special Education Teacher of the Year.”  

She has been with the Carl D. Perkins Job Corps for the past two years. Previously, she taught as an LBD instructor at Paintsville High School, Betsy Lanye Elementary School, Betsy Layne High School, and Adams Middle School in Floyd County.  

In her 30th year of teaching, Hammonds said she would make her remaining years in teaching count and invest the same amount of time, effort, and energy into her students.  

“The biggest benefits of being a special education teacher has always been being a small part of helping students reach their individual potential and goals,” she said. “The most fulfilling part of my job is the population I work with and being privileged to witness their individual success.”  


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