Recognizing Excellence

KAGE SERVICE & ADVOCACY AWARDS – These awards provide recognition of exceptional service and/or advocacy in support of educating Kentucky’s gifted and talented children and youth. These awards include The Michael Caudill Educator Award, which was established in 2005 in memory of Michael Caudill, superintendent of Madison County Schools and friend to gifted children.

KAGE DISTINGUISHED STUDENT AWARD – This award recognizes 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.  The award recipient receives a College Entity Account from the Kentucky Education Savings Plan Trust (KESPT) and a Certificate of Excellence from KAGE.

KAGE Service and Advocacy Awards, 2019-2020

Below are the recipients for the 2019-2020 year  (click on the name to go to more information about each person).

  • Dr. Michael Broadbent (Breckinridge County Schools) – Michael Caudill Distinguished Educator Award
  • Amanda Abell (Caverna Independent Schools) – Service & Advocacy Award
  • Toddie Adams  (Marshall County Schools) – Service & Advocacy Award
  • Elisa Beth Brown (Bowling Green Independent Schools) – Service & Advocacy Award
  • Kate Hastings  (Fayette County Schools) – KAGE Distinguished Student Award

You can see the PowerPoint presentation from the KAGE Conference of all the award recipients on YouTube by clicking HERE.  You can also read about past KAGE Service and Advocacy and Distinguished Student recipients at the KAGE Hall of Fame HERE

DR. MICHAEL BROADBENT (Breckinridge County Schools), Michael Caudill Distinguished Educator Award

If you were to go to Ben Johnson Elementary, you will see that gifted education is a part of the daily curriculum taught in the school and the topic is a part of the daily conversations heard throughout the school. The support for gifted education at BJES is due to Dr. Michael Broadbent’s belief that all students deserve to learn. Dr. Broadbent is principal of Ben Johnson Elementary School in the Breckinridge County School District. High potential and gifted learners are part of every meeting and every discussion. Through Dr. Broadbent’s involvement in analyzing weekly progress, semester assessments, and MAP assessments, students may be moved to appropriate classes whenever the need arises. He has institutionalized the right and need for high potential and gifted students to learn new content every day.

Dr. Broadbent knows what his students need, knows scheduling and logistics are not always going to work for his teachers, and knows that if what is best for some students is to happen, he would need to make time in his own schedule to get the job done. This may happen with an accelerated content group or as it did when the need arose to develop and implement a computer programming group. Dr. Broadbent started an after school program in which he was directly involved. He worked with the student group in after school meetings and outside of the time through Google classrooms.

At the district level, he continues to advocate for high potential and gifted learners with district administrators and principals. When Dr. Broadbent attends professional development opportunities pertaining to any aspect of gifted education, he brings back what he learned and shares with his school and district. He implements new techniques and strategies and compares the data to ensure the students are learning. He explains to students and parents the importance of continuous progress and how they deserve to come to school and learn every day. As an administrator, Dr. Michael Broadbent exemplifies exceptional service and / or advocacy in support of educating Kentucky’s gifted and talented children and youth.

KAGE congratulates Dr. Michael Broadbent on his Michael Caudill Distinguished Educator Award.

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AMANDA ABELL (Caverna Independent Schools), Service & Advocacy Award

In his letter of nomination, Tyler Clark writes, “Amanda Abell continually demonstrates her commitment to meeting the needs of gifted students in Caverna Independent Schools where she currently serves as the Assistant Superintendent.

One example of Ms. Abell’s dedication to student success is shown in how she helped three of her students attend summer programming. These students would have been unable to attend any summer programming on their own. Ms. Abell took the initiative to contact The Center for Gifted Studies to discuss the situations of each of these children and possible financial assistance opportunities to attend the Summer Camp for Academically Talented Middle School Students. She went a step further by making sure the students had sufficient clothing and materials for attending camp. Moreover, she transported the students to the WKU campus for camp. This is one example of when Ms. Abell saw a specific need in her students and took action to ensure that need was met.

Ms. Abell has also been active in the Victoria Fellows program for superintendents offered by The Center for Gifted Studies. At the Victoria Fellows program she is able to share valuable information about Caverna Independent Schools, and also take back ideas and information from other districts.

The enthusiasm, dedication, time, and passion truly demonstrate Amanda Abell’s care and understanding of the needs of gifted students.”

KAGE congratulates Amanda Abell on her Service & Advocacy Award.

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TODDIE ADAMS (Marshall County Schools), Service & Advocacy Award

Dalai Lama’s famous quote is a perfect description of Toddie Adams’s influence, “Just as ripples spread out when a single pebble is dropped into water, the actions of individuals can have far-reaching effects.” In addition to performing her job as Director of Gifted Services in Marshall County at an exemplary level, Toddie Adams demonstrates an extraordinary commitment to the promotion of educating gifted students in western Kentucky as well as the entire state.

Advocating for gifted education is Ms. Adam’s passion. Her job responsibilities include overseeing nine schools in her district where she works with students, parents, teachers, guidance counselors, and principals to ensure proper identification and services are being delivered. Her dedication to GT students is evident as she established a local KAGE chapter, served as KAGE President, worked on an array of committees and councils, and is a phenomenal mentor to GT teachers in her region.

Ms. Adams has been quite the catalyst for promoting gifted students by educating others on how GT students learn best. She is quick to quote research, explain best practices, and help others problem solve as they search for ways to service students. The exceptional support she provides is her most impressive trait. Toddie Adams is making waves in the gifted community. She provides a credible voice that is respected and admired. Her positivity is contagious.

In her letter of nomination, Kathy Carver writes, “Through many changes in leadership in the gifted education community, Toddie has been a steady presence who strives to make a difference, exemplifies the mission of gifted education, and impacts the people of our state. Her skills, knowledge, willingness to help others, and enthusiasm make her my KAGE Service and Advocacy Award nominee.”

KAGE congratulates Toddie Adams on her Service & Advocacy Award.

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ELISA BETH BROWN (Bowling Green Independent Schools), Service & Advocacy Award

Ms. Elisa Beth Brown has been a tireless champion for gifted children in the Bowling Green Independent School District, especially the high potential students who may not have had the resources to develop their abilities. She worked with WKU to identify and serve gifted students from underrepresented schools with a focus on high poverty schools. She spear-headed a collaboration between WKU and BGISD that resulted in a summer math camp for advanced students in high poverty schools and also the development of a mentoring program for junior high students who are in advanced mathematics. Under Ms. Brown’s leadership the district expanded their after-school math enrichment from one to three schools and has added five more teachers who are facilitating the program. She also understands the importance of developing the primary talent pool learners and providing meaningful educational experiences.

Ms. Brown facilitates and attends numerous professional development sessions with general education teachers to help them learn the characteristics of gifted students and how they can support them. Along with Superintendent Gary Fields, Ms. Brown did an evaluation of the gifted program and revised how students are identified and served along with how these programs are being communicated to parents in many languages.

In her letter of nomination, Toni Szymanski writes, “Gifted students in the district benefit from an administrator who insists on using research-based, best practices to identify and serve them.”

KAGE congratulates Elisa Beth Brown on her Service & Advocacy Award.

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KATE HASTINGS (Cassidy Elementary, Fayette County Schools), Distinguished Student

In her letter of nomination, Fayette County G/T Teacher Dr. Angie Madden writes, “I am writing this to recommend Kate Hastings for the KAGE Distinguished Student Award. I have worked with Kate as her Gifted and Talented Teacher for the last three years. She is just an all around amazing human being and everyone who meets her wholeheartedly agrees.

I have a million reasons why I would recommend her for this award, but I am going to focus here on her work in supporting and educating others about NASA every way that she can. She has hosted bake and lemonade sales to raise money for NASA at her home and personally sent out invitations to advertise her event and encourage people to come.

She told hilarious astronaut jokes that she wrote herself at the Variety Show last year. Recently, she shared a short story with me that she wrote with a female astronaut as the main character. The story was written in the mystery genre, but also included lots of interesting details about the rigorous screening and training processes that astronauts must go through. Kate planned and organized a star gazing club at her house. She made posters and sign up sheets and hung them all around the school. She invited everyone that was interested to come. Lastly, she made a website about all of her endeavors that she can share with others to educate them about what NASA is and what they do, as well as to support them.

I have never seen a student so driven by her own internal passions. She has a great sense of what she values in this world and goes out and does something about it. She is able to organize herself, take action, and involve others in recognizing the importance of her cause. I highly recommend Kate for this award.”

KAGE congratulates Kate Hastings on her Distinguished Student Award.

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