UNSUNG HEROES 2022
A Welcomed Surprise
Lynn Camp High School ’ s Jodie Carnes named a semifinalist for Kentucky Teacher of the Year
BY EMILY ADAMS-BENTLEY
As her students would likely agree , Lynn Camp High School ’ s Jodie Carnes was named one of the top teachers in the state after being named a semifinalist for the 2022 Kentucky Teacher of the Year . Carnes was just one of 10 teachers from throughout the state competing for the honor of being named Teacher of the Year .
Over the summer , Carnes was named one of 24 recipients from across the state for the 2022 Kentucky Department of Education and Valvoline Teacher Achievement Awards , qualifying her to compete for the award of Kentucky Teacher of the Year . She later went on to be named a semifinalist along with nine other outstanding teachers . Though Carnes didn ’ t go on to win the Teacher of the Year award , she certainly deserves to be celebrated for her accomplishments .
“ Being in the top 24 candidates for Teacher of the Year has been a very welcomed surprise ,” Carnes said . “ It was an honor just to be nominated for Kentucky Teacher of the Year , and making it this far has been icing on the cake . It honestly makes all of the hard times and long nights of projects and all of the extra things I do with my students feel validated . I wouldn ’ t be here if it was not for my students who are all rock stars !”
Carnes is a graduate of South Laurel High School . She went on to Eastern Kentucky University where she received her bachelor ’ s degree in Family Consumer Sciences Education and completed her master ’ s degree at Union College .
“ I wouldn ’ t be here if it was not for my students who are all rock stars !”
Jodie Carnes hopes that when students leave her classroom , they walk away with the life skills they need to make it in the world . | Photo contributed
In 2011 , Carnes began her teaching career at Lynn Camp Schools , where she has remained ever since . Today , Carnes teaches Family and Consumer Sciences at Lynn Camp High School .
Carnes admitted that she didn ’ t always dream of being an educator . She spent most of her high school career working towards becoming a lawyer but it was in her senior year of high school when Carnes found her true calling .
“ My senior year of high school changed everything ,” she said . “ I took a class with my FCS teacher called Teachers in
Preparation ( TIP ). I enrolled in the class so that I could get college hours as it was a dual-credit class . Little did I know that I would fall in love with teaching , but I did and I haven ’ t wavered since . This class , my involvement in FCCLA , and some pretty amazing mentors helped to shape the career I have now .”
Carnes said that her love of teaching has only grown over the last 10 years , despite all the hardships teachers have faced throughout the pandemic .
“ When you love what you do , it doesn ’ t feel like work ,” she said . “ You wake up excited every day to go to work and see your students learn and grow . As a teacher , that is one of the most fulfilling experiences and I get to witness it daily .”
Carnes encourages those who are considering a career as a teacher to go for it , as she and other educators will agree “ there is no shame in being a teacher .” “ If your intuition is calling you to teach , go for it ,” she said . “ For those of us that are already in the trenches daily : I applaud you . You are doing the most important work that will shape generations to come . We know this job is not about the money , that ‘ summers off ’ is a completely false statement , yet we make the best of what we have and keep moving forward . Remember to take care of yourself , and why you answered the call to teach . You are making a difference in kids ’ lives !”
Carnes also hopes that the community will continue to support their teachers through donations to their classrooms or something as simple as a compliment can go a long way .
“ When you support schools , you are supporting the future ,” she said .
Carnes hopes that when students leave her classroom , they walk away with the life skills they need to make it in the world .
“ I hear so many people say that they wish they would bring ‘ Home-Ec ’ back , but the truth is that it never left ,” Carnes said . “ Every high school in our area has these classes and it is vital for everyone to have skills from food preparation , money skills , sewing , etc .
“ I also hope they know that they are loved . In so many cases students don ’ t come to school for a lesson , they come because they need someone to care about them . That is the most important life lesson you can teach your students — how to love others .”