Canton art teacher Kathy Pugh is finalist for Ohio Teacher of the Year


A teacher from Canton City has been named a finalist for Ohio’s Teacher of the Year.

Kathleen Pugh, who teaches visual arts at Hartford Middle School, is one of four teachers selected as finalists by the State Board of Education. The Ohio Department of Education announced the finalists on Monday, along with the 10 teachers selected to represent one of the state board districts.

Pugh was named the 2023 State Board Teacher of the Year for District 8.

Kathy Pugh, a middle school art teacher in the Canton City School District, was named a finalist for the Ohio Teacher of the Year award.

Stephanie Siddens, Acting Superintendent of Public Instruction, applauded all educators recognized for their talent, hard work and dedication to their students during an online presentation where every district teacher on the state board of l year was presented.

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“This remarkable group of teachers instills a passion for lifelong learning while advancing student achievement,” said Siddens. “These educators embody the countless reasons we celebrate our teachers.”

Kathy Pugh has taught in schools in Canton and Louisville

Pugh, who will be entering her 25th year in education this fall, did not originally plan to be a teacher.

She graduated from Kent State University in 1984 with a major in painting and drawing and a minor in sculpture. After graduating, Pugh took a job at a financial institution and then began working as a fashion designer and seamstress. It was during this time that she volunteered to teach art to students at Louisville Elementary and discovered a passion for teaching as well as art.

In 1997, Pugh earned her teaching certificate from Walsh University and became a teacher in Louisville. She taught second and fourth graders for six years, then became a middle school visual arts teacher.

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Pugh transferred to the Canton City School District around 2013 where she became a visual arts teacher at Hartford Middle School, home to the Academy of Science, Technology, Education, Arts, Mathematics and of district medicine.

In a video posted online Monday, Pugh said she didn’t feel like she was teaching. She sees herself as a lifelong learner who facilitates the sharing of knowledge in a shared space.

This space could be with students, parents, grandparents, caretaker, architect, professional golfer, or anyone else who wants to share their knowledge.

“I feel like it’s valuable to me to create a space where students feel safe, to come and fail, to try and try again, to share knowledge, to gain knowledge,” Pugh said in the video. “But above all, be creative, be innovative and become a lifelong learner.

“That’s why I go to the building every day. It’s not work. It’s sharing. It is learning. And that’s something that I enjoy immensely every day.

A Canton City Schools teacher named Pugh

Pugh was nominated by Canton City Schools teacher Amanda Gillespie, who called Pugh one of the most dedicated colleagues she has known.

“With it, students not only learn the value of art, they learn how art encompasses science, music, math, history, computer science, engineering, entrepreneurship and language arts,” Gillespie wrote in his nomination form.

Kathy Pugh, an art teacher for Canton City Schools, helps students explore color and light theory by blowing giant bubbles during class in this April 2021 photo.

Gillespie said Pugh provided her students with various outlets to display and sell their pieces and hired students at her downtown Canton art gallery, where she gave them on-the-job training.

“She is an example of a teacher who connects the classroom to the community,” Gillespie said.

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A panel of education and community stakeholders will interview Pugh and the other three state finalists to select Ohio’s Teacher of the Year. The state superintendent will announce the name of the statewide recipient in the coming months.

Ohio’s Teacher of the Year will represent the state in the National Teacher of the Year selection in the fall of 2023.

The other three finalists are Jeanne Rankin from Winton Woods City Schools, Jennifer Allen from the Hilliard City School District and Melissa Kmetz from the local Lakeview School District.

Contact Kelli at 330-580-8339 or [email protected]

On Twitter: @kweirREP


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