Recognizing Excellence

Each year KAGE presents a KAGE Distinguished Student award and KAGE Service and Advocacy Awards. The awards were announced at the KAGE Annual Conference 2018 in Lexington February 26-27. KAGE thanks KHEAA for it’s continued support for the KAGE Distinguished Student Award.

Below are the recipients for the 2017-2018 year. You can also read about past KAGE Service and Advocacy and Distinguished Student recipients at the KAGE Hall of Fame HERE.

KAGE Distinguished Student, 2017-18: TODD PRATER, Floyd County Schools

Todd Prater was nominated by his former teacher, Alyssa Preece, of Duff-Allen Central Elementary, who writes, “Todd truly is an accomplished and distinguished student.  Not only is he heavily involved at school in extracurricular activities, but he also gives back to the community.  Todd has a big heart and is working to provide essential items such as blankets, socks, pillows, and stuffed animals for less fortunate children in the area.  Many of the children who receive these items are his classmates and he is grateful for the opportunity to help them. He is a vivacious child with a hunger and eagerness to learn about everything he possibly can.” Kimberly Potter, an Assistant Principal at Duff-Allen Central Elementary wrote, “Todd excels in and out of the classroom.  He is an exceptional young man with a kind, caring spirit, addressing the needs of his community and friends.  Todd has initiated and facilitated several community and school projects, assisting others in providing for the needs of many.”

Todd was working with a local animal rescue organization, Dumas Rescue, that also collects donations for local people in need when he learned of a need.  He told us, “I knew that there were children out there that didn’t have as much as I have but I never realized that there are children in Eastern Kentucky that have to share beds and often pillows and blankets.  This really hit me because I have several pillows and a closet full of blankets that I don’t have to share with anyone.   I believe that every child should have their own pillow and blanket.  This was my inspiration to create Essentials for Santa a community service project that would collect socks, pillows, blankets, and hygiene items for Dumas Rescue’s Christmas giveaway.”  Todd spoke at his church and at his school.  He created fliers, sent them home with students and posted them on social media and the school website.  In 2016, Essentials for Santa collected 236 items at the First Christian Church and 479 items at James A. Duff Elementary.  This included 406 pairs of socks, 27 pillows, 70 blankets, and 212 personal hygiene items. In 2017, Essentials for Santa collected and distributed even more.  Todd’s mom helped him reach out to a church in Pikeville and who donated a Bible for each family.  He canvassed local businesses for donated blankets and pillows.

Todd says, “Essentials for Santa has been a true blessing to me and has had a major impact on my life.  Distributing the gifts last year made me feel better than anytime I ever received a gift in my life.  Seeing the smiling faces of the children and their parents made it worth all of the time that I put into the project. I feel that I helped make people’s lives a little better and I feel I have inspired other children and adults to want to give back to their community.  I plan to continue my work with Essentials for Santa in the future.  Next year, I would like to get the local high school and more businesses involved.  My long-term goal in life is to become a biomedical engineer. To achieve this goal, I will have to move away from the hills of Eastern Kentucky.  No matter where I go, I will always carry with me the desire and need to help others because it truly “is more blessed to give than to receive.”


KAGE Service and Advocacy Awards, 2017-18

LA’TONYA FRAZIER-GOATLEY, Michael Caudill Distinguished Educator Award

La’Tonya Frazier-Goatley is an exceptional advocate for gifted and talented youth in Kentucky. La’Tonya is the Advance Program and Gifted Coordinator for Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS), the largest school district in Kentucky. She is also the Project REACH Summer Program Director. La’Tonya is the Project Director of a 3-year federally-funded Javits grant, Project RAP (Reaching Academic Potential).

La’Tonya believes in educating and empowering other educators. In her words, she works in Title One schools “to help administrators, staff, parents, and children recognize the giftedness that exists in all buildings and deserves to be identified and serviced.” Mary Evans, RAP Project Director at WKU, “{La’Tonya} works tirelessly to build the capacity of teachers in her school district to recognize the characteristics of gifted children and then to address their needs through appropriate services.”  Due to a critical shortage of gifted and talented endorsed teachers in JCPS, La’Tonya worked with the University of Louisville and JCPS to develop tuition-supported GT endorsement cohorts for schools without GT endorsed teachers. She has shared her expertise in gifted and talented education through a number of publications.  Additionally, she has served on the KAGE Board for several years.

Dr. Jill Adelson, a Project RAP partner at the University of Louisville says, “Working with La’Tonya has been nothing short of a joy because of her passion and dedication for gifted education and for meeting the needs of diverse students. I have seen her work with principals, counselors, and teachers to make changes not only in their programming, services, and identification but also in the culture and climate of their schools and classrooms. She is an advocate for an appropriate education for all students. I have worked with many gifted education professionals as a teacher, professor, and researcher, and La’Tonya stands out for what she does on a daily basis for Kentucky’s children, families, and schools.”

La’Tonya herself is most proud of being a first-generation college student.  She says, “I am a true example of education being an equalizer and I know if it worked for me, it can work for others.”  Mary Evans concludes, “She motivates and inspires all of us who get to work with her!”



Tracy Adams works as a Gifted and Talented Teacher and Coordinator in Russell County Schools but for 27 years she has been eager to go above and beyond the role of educatoR.

Tracy plans and coordinates events for her students, including field trips to national and even international settings.

Tracy has exceptional personal relationship skills.






The Northern Kentucky region knows no greater advocate for gifted children, their families and the teachers that serve them than Dr. Code.  Kimberly’s passion for meeting the needs of gifted youth has driven her life’s work.  As the current Director of Gifted Education at Northern Kentucky University, her influence on gifted education and opportunities in the region has been limitless.

Northern Kentucky’s gifted community is fortunate to have a great variety of events and resources available to them.  Kimberly directs Northern Kentucky University’s Institute for Talent Development and Gifted Studies, which offers the Camp Innovation Program, Parent Place information sessions, the annual Young Women LEAD Conference, the annual Dreamfest Conference, and Graduate Gifted and Talented Endorsement courses, among others.  Without Kimberly’s influence and effort, these opportunities would not exist.  She artfully uses a variety of social media channels to share information, reach out for feedback and connect parents and professionals with opportunities and with one another.  Kimberly’s advocacy and her voice in support of gifted services for students have overcome obstacles large and small.

Kimberly regularly takes the pulse of the diverse needs of our area, including the needs of the students, the parents, the teachers, and the community as a whole.  She is constantly seeking out new methods to grow and enrich the educational services that NKU provides.  She is not just an advocate, but an innovator when it comes to all things gifted.   It is not hyperbole to state that, without Dr. Kimberly Clayton-Code, gifted services throughout Northern Kentucky would suffer greatly.  Services to K – 12 programs; services within the home; services to higher education; have all thrived under her leadership and guidance.

Anyone who has had the pleasure of knowing Kimberly recognizes her sincerity and her passion, not only for her work in the field of gifted education, but for each individual with whom she comes in contact.



Brooke Fell is a Gifted and Talented educator for students identified as gifted within two elementary schools in Franklin County, but Brooke is an advocate for all gifted learners and as well as all learners. Even though Brooke’s time must be split to meet the needs of students at different schools, she fully dedicates her time and attention to each school. She treats every school as her home school, including planning with teachers to meet the differentiation needs of all students and helping teachers access the resources required to meet these needs.

Brooke plans rigorous units of studies and enrichment opportunities creating advanced STEM pathways for GT students. She leads and empowers students’ participation in the Mock Newbery Award with our local library.  She identified the need, advocated for and facilitated the implementation of math acceleration between the elementary, middle school and high schools.

Brooke collaborates with local community members to plan events and activities for gifted learners. For instance, Brooke organizes and facilitates local arts days for students. These are opportunities for students to work with local artists to create a piece of art, study various techniques and media, and for gifted students in art to come together from across the district to have shared experiences, learn together and enjoy one another’s talents.

Brooke strives to carry out meaningful opportunities for students that go beyond their elementary education. She is also instrumental in planning informational workshops for parents for GSP/GSE/GSA and Gatton/Craft academies.

In her work Brooke not only attends to the academic needs of her students but she also takes the time to provide opportunities to meet the social and emotional needs of her students. Students learn to express their feelings and work through them and to see that other students often feel the same way they do. Many people assume that gifted students don’t face emotional struggles like other students. Brooke knows better and works to meet all the needs of her students.

Through her years of work in Franklin County with the gifted education program, Brooke has played an integral part in expanding the gifted program to include a diverse population of students, and to identifying students in areas previously not identified within the county. The list could go on and on, Brooke does not shy away from implementing, facilitating, and reaching out to provide every possible opportunity for Franklin County students.

Brooke’s dedication carries over to all students in Franklin County and her tireless work has helped form a gifted education program of which Franklin County Schools is proud. The great impact she is having on our Franklin County students is immeasurable.

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


The KAGE Distinguished Student Award is designed to recognize a student from grades 3 – 6 who 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 child from Kentucky 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 at the KAGE Annual Conference in Lexington. Nomination forms for 2018-19 will be available in early Fall. 

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 are honored at the KAGE Annual Conference in Lexington. Nomination forms will be available early 

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.

For more information about these awards programs, contact KAGE at or 270.745.4301.

last updated 03/19/2018