KAGE AWARDS 2019-2020


The KAGE Distinguished Student Award is designed to recognize a student from grades 4 – 6 who has been formally identified as gifted and has distinguished achievement not only in academics, leadership, or the arts but also made a contribution to the community at a level beyond what is expected of a child in the student’s age group. One student will be named a Kentucky Association for Gifted Education Distinguished Student. The award recipient receives a College Entity Account from the Kentucky Education Savings Plan Trust (KESPT) and a Certificate of Excellence from KAGE. The award recipient is honored on February 25, 2020 at the KAGE Annual Conference in Lexington.



The purpose of the Service & Advocacy awards is to provide recognition of exceptional service and/or advocacy in support of educating Kentucky’s gifted and talented children and youth. The award recipients will be honored February 24, 2020 at the KAGE Annual Conference in Lexington.

The Michael Caudill Educator Award
Established in 2005 in memory of Michael Caudill, superintendent of Madison County Schools and friend to gifted children.

  • Nominee must be an administrator, counselor, teacher, or other professional in education.
  • Nominee has made significant positive contributions to gifted education in the school, district, and/or state, which has greatly impacted students and/or educators.
  • Nominee has a record of advocacy for gifted and talented children and youth.

Service & Advocacy Awards

  • Nominee has made significant positive contributions to gifted education in the school, district, community, and/or state, which has greatly impacted parents, students, and/or educators.
  • Nominee has a record of advocacy for gifted and talented children and youth.
  • Nominee can be a professional in education, a parent, a legislator, university staff or faculty, business leader, an alumni of gifted services in Kentucky, a KAGE chapter, or another entity.

THE DEADLINE TO SUBMIT A NOMINATION IS DECEMBER 1, 2019.  CLICK HERE for the online nomination form. 

For more information about these awards programs, contact KAGE at kage@wku.edu or 270.745.4301.

last updated 07/02/2019

Below are 2018-19 recipients:
KAGE Distinguished Student, 2019: DANIEL RATLEY, Grayson County Schools
DANIEL RATLEY loves to read.  He likes a quote by Neil deGrasse Tyson: “Give a kid a book and you change the world.  In a way, even the universe.” Daniel said, “My mom is always buying me a lot of books.”  Daniel’s Little Libraries began with the idea that Daniel wanted to share his books and his love of reading.  He asked his parents if he could share his books with other kids.  The answer was, “yes!”
Daniel wanted to share his books like a library does.  He and his mother contacted the Grayson County Library and came up with a solution.  He got a newspaper vending dispenser and that was to become his first little library. Daniel painted the box red and added the words “Take a Book – Leave a Book.”  Then he and his family attended a city council meeting in Clarkson where he presented his idea and was granted permission to put the little library right in front of the Clarkson City Hall.

Through social media, a local radio station and a newspaper article, people learned about Daniel’s little library.  Daniel was so excited to see that people were using the library.  Then people started to put their books in and trade with Daniel’s books.  Each time he went to check on the little library, he was excited to see new books there!

Mrs. Ann Decker, Daniel’s fifth grade teacher, says of him, “Daniel stands out because of his drive and desire to be a difference-maker in his community and the world.  Daniel wants to get books out there to more and more readers.”   

In his recommendation letter, Mr. Dan Cann noted that Daniel’s Little Libraries is “opening books up to children who otherwise would not be able to have books due to availability of transportation or the cost of the book.”
Now Daniel has plans for more little libraries around Grayson County. Daniel says, “I don’t know if I can change the universe like Mr. Tyson said, but I am sure that Daniel’s Little Libraries can help bring books and some fun to other kids in my county.”
Congratulations to our 2019 Distinguished Student,  Daniel Ratley!

KAGE Service and Advocacy Awards, 2019

Below are the recipients for the 2018-19 year. You can also read about past KAGE Service and Advocacy and Distinguished Student recipients at the KAGE Hall of Fame HERE

DR. JIM FLYNN, Simpson County Schools

Dr. Jim Flynn is in his 16th year as superintendent of Simpson County Schools and has been a friend of gifted and talented education for a long time. When he first started in Simpson County, there was not much discussion on the topic of gifted and talented education but through the years Simpson County has come a long way and is now leading in the area; districts are now coming to Simpson County to observe the good things the district is doing. Under the leadership of Dr. Flynn, Simpson County has added an elementary gifted resource teacher, a part-time middle school gifted resource teacher, and a district gifted coordinator.
In 2018, Simpson County opened the EDGE Academy, which is a one day a week academy for gifted 4th and 5th graders.  Dr. Flynn has been supportive of funding programs and services for gifted and talented students even as budgets become more and more demanding. Dr. Flynn is always looking for ways to be innovative and provide opportunities for all students including gifted and talented students. With the success of the EDGE Academy, Dr. Flynn is addressing how to better serve the gifted and talented population in the middle school setting.
Dr. Flynn will be stepping into a new position after the end of this year as the Executive Director of the Kentucky Association of School Superintendents.  We look forward to the work he will do to influence the education of gifted students throughout Kentucky.
Congratulations to Service and Advocacy Award Winner, Dr. Jim Flynn!

SALLY MALONEY, Simpson County KAGE Chapter

 Sally Maloney is a parent of gifted and talented children.  Wanting the best for them she was vocal about advocating for her children and others in the schools, so when Simpson County began hosting GT Parent Nights, she was there.  When the idea of forming a local KAGE chapter was presented, Ms. Maloney and her colleagues saw that this would be a good way to keep learning, growing and advocating to meet their children’s educational and social/emotional needs.  They created bylaws and filed paperwork to start a chapter.
Ms. Maloney became the founding President of the KAGE/Simpson County chapter and has been for the last two years. Sally provided leadership to incorporate the chapter and acquire a non-profit status setting the stage for needed fundraising.  Sally continues to provide a vision for the chapter and has been a strong link between the school district and parents.  Simpson County educators and administrators are at each meeting to share what they’re doing at each school to enrich the kids’ education, and how the parents can get involved.  Through her leadership the chapter has grown seeing an increasing number of people attending chapter meetings. Ms. Maloney advocates for the needs for all students in Simpson County and under her leadership the chapter will continue to grow.  Her hope is that the organization she helped found will continue to offer a forum for anyone interested in gifted education in Simpson County for years to come.
Congratulations to Service and Advocacy Award Winner, Ms. Sally Maloney!

DR. DEANNA MILLER, Fulton Independent Schools, Michael Caudill Distinguished Educator Award  

Dr. DeAnna Miller has worked in many different dimensions to improve services for gifted and talented students.  She has taught in the Super Saturdays program at Murray State University. In 2001, at Fulton Independent School she began that STARS Club for parents of gifted students.  STARS is a parent booster club that provided funding and enrichment opportunities for gifted students and parents.  The parent of gifted students herself, Dr. Miller served as a parent participant in the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence.
Dr. Miller accepted the call from her superintendent to develop the Four Rivers Gifted consortium which gave her the opportunity to serve as the Gifted Education Coordinator for Carlisle County, Fulton County, Fulton Independent and Hickman County schools!  In this role, she designed curriculum and activities for the consortium, taught seventh through twelfth graders in the gifted and talented program and arranged for students in the four school districts to interact with one another on field trips, in debates and in hands-on projects.  Dr. Miller continues to serve on the Advisory Board and the Four Rivers Gifted Consortium is still going strong.
Dr. Miller went on to serve as an assistant principal and as Supervisor of Instruction for Fulton Independent schools, but her interest in gifted and talented education did not diminish.  With the dissertation, Gifted Learners in the Education Accountability Era, Dr. Miller earned her PhD.
Dr. Miller continues to look for ways to influence the education of gifted students in Kentucky.  Dr. DeAnna Miller currently serves as the superintendent of Fulton Independent School District and, as such,  strives to offer opportunities for gifted learners to meet their potential. She is an Adjunct Professor of Gifted Education at Georgetown College.   Dr. Miller serves on the State Advisory Council for Gifted and Talented Education.  In these roles she continues to dedicate herself to the gifted students of Kentucky.
Congratulations to our Michael Caudill Distinguished Educator, Dr. Deanna Miller!


See the names of past KAGE Service & Advocacy and Distinguished Student recipients at the KAGE Hall of Fame – click HERE.

last updated 07/01/2019


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