Last updated: July 17. 2013 1:44PM - 873 Views

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An assistant principal at Southside Elementary School has been recognized by Forward in the Fifth for her efforts to advance education in Pike County.

Rhonda Crigger, a former preschool teacher for 17 years, was presented the Appalachian Leaders in Education (AppLE) Award for her work in providing professional development activities for preschoolers and Headstart teachers in Pike County and other school districts.

Crigger was awarded the AppLE Award in the educator early childhood category at Forward in the Fifth’s Education Leadership Day on Monday, May 13, at The Center for Rural Development in Somerset.

“Today highlights the immense talent and desire of adults and students alike found within our region,” Jim Tackett, executive director of Forward in the Fifth, said in announcing the award recipients. “It is with this passion and attitude that we will transform Southern and Eastern Kentucky into more educational excellence.”

Crigger also writes and records children’s songs and has helped “Dr. Jean” do training with early childhood teachers.

“We are pleased to honor our community leaders and educators with Forward in the Fifth AppLE Awards,” said board chairman Dr. Dessie Bowling. “These exceptional leaders work diligently every day to motivate, inspire, and encourage people to have confidence in themselves and the amazing things they accomplish.”

“This year’s award winners are to be commended for continuing to enhance educational progress in Southern and Eastern Kentucky,” added U.S. Congressman Harold “Hal” Rogers (KY-05), who helped launch Forward in the Fifth in 1986. “We’re tapping into great ideas from energized educators across the region for new opportunities in preparing our students for post-secondary education and a bright future.”

Other AppLE award winners were Lana Swartz, head of the science department and teacher, Menifee County High School, Frenchburg; Kim Moore, volunteer and academic team coach, Somerset Christian School, Pulaski County; Debbie Joseph Smith, coordinator of Family Resource Youth Services Center, Carr Creek Elementary School, Knott County; Jon Day, guidance counselor, Hazard High School, Perry County; Regina French, instructor, Adult Education, Bath County; Bob Hutchinson, business leader, Johnson County; Bonner Scholars, a service and leadership program for college students at Lindsey Wilson College (LWC), Adair County; and Chuck Coldiron, business and community leader, Pulaski County, Lee and Eleanor Rose Ambassador Award.

The AppLE Awards were started in 2012 by Forward in the Fifth to celebrate excellence in education by recognizing individuals who work to accomplish the nonprofit organization’s mission: to increase the educational attainment levels for all in the region.

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