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3 selected for 2014 induction into Kentucky Teacher Hall of Fame

The 2014 inductees into the Gov. Louie B. Nunn Kentucky Teacher Hall of Fame are (from left) Golda P. Walbert, Debra Burgess and Cynthia S. Wooden.

The 2014 inductees into the Gov. Louie B. Nunn Kentucky Teacher Hall of Fame are (from left) Golda P. Walbert, Debra Burgess and Cynthia S. Wooden. The induction ceremony is set for Feb. 6 at the State Capitol in Frankfort.

Members of the seventh class of the Gov. Louie B. Nunn Kentucky Teacher Hall of Fame have been selected.

The three chosen by the statewide selection committee are Golda Pensol Walbert of Glasgow, Debra Burgess of Murray and Cynthia S. Wooden of Florence. The 2014 induction ceremony will begin at 1 p.m. (EST) Feb. 6 at the State Capitol in Frankfort. Speakers for the induction ceremony will include WKU President Gary Ransdell, Gov. Steve Beshear, Education Commissioner Terry Holliday, Speaker of the House Greg Stumbo and Senate Education Committee Chairman Mike Wilson.

The Kentucky Teacher Hall of Fame was created in 2000 through a gift by former Gov. Nunn, who hoped to recognize the vital role that primary and secondary teachers in Kentucky play in the education of young people and the positive impact education has on the state’s economy. WKU was selected as the home of the Kentucky Teacher Hall of Fame because of its more than 100-year history in teacher education.

Golda Pensol Walbert

A native of Rockcastle County, Golda P. Walbert began her teaching career at Rockcastle County Schools in 1943.

Golda P. Walbert

Golda P. Walbert

Walbert taught at Rockcastle County Schools from 1943 to 1952. She taught in various one-room schools and found herself assuming the roles of custodian, cook, nurse and teacher. From 1952 to 1954 she taught at Harlan County Public School and Barren County Schools from 1954 to 1989.

She received her associate degree from Lees Junior College, bachelor’s degree in Education in 1946 from Eastern Kentucky University and master’s degree in Educational Administration in 1950 from EKU.

Her awards include the Outstanding Alumnus Award from Eastern Kentucky University, Glasgow-Barren County Chamber of Commerce Athena Award, Barren County Schools Hall of Distinguished Alumni, and the Kentucky Unbridled Spirit Award in 2007.

In 2012 the WKU-Glasgow Samothrace Club announced the establishment of the Golda Pensol Walbert Scholarship to honor Walbert’s love of knowledge and bettering the lives of others. Lisa Simpson, President of the WKU-Glasgow Samothrace Club, commented: “Not only did she become a teacher, but she became so much more. She became an advocate for her students, the teachers that she would lead, and many others trying to reach their dreams.”

Debra Burgess

A native of San Antonio, Texas, Debra Burgess began her teaching career at Murray (Ky.) High School as a Spanish and Latin teacher.


Debra Burgess

Burgess taught Spanish and Latin at Murray High School from 1980 to 2012 and French in 2012. She was an adjunct instructor from 2011 to present at Murray State University.

She received her bachelor’s degree in French and a Spanish minor in 1974 and her master’s degree in Spanish (major) and French (minor) from North Texas State University in 1979. Burgess earned a Teaching Certificate in Spanish and French from Murray State University in 1979. In 1985, she received a Teaching Certificate in Latin from the University of Kentucky and in 1994 she received her Rank I from Murray State University.

Her awards include Murray Kiwanis Club Teacher of the Year in 1985 and 2004, Murray State University – Kentucky Outstanding High School Teacher in 2004, Ashland Outstanding Kentucky Teacher – Top 26 finalist in 2006, and Murray Outstanding Teacher of the Year in 2008. Ted Brown, a parent of a former Burgess’ student, said: “Ms. Burgess pushes her students to realize their potential, never settling for just ‘good enough,’ and I and many other parents are very grateful that she taught our children the importance and value of always giving one’s best.”

Cynthia S. Wooden

A native of Lubbock, Texas, Cynthia S. Wooden began her teaching career in 1979 in Amarillo, Texas, and continues to teach at Kenton County Schools.

Cynthia S. Wooden

Cynthia S. Wooden

Wooden taught Elementary Education at St. Andrew’s School in Amarillo from 1979 to 1980, Borger Independent Schools in Borger, Texas, from 1980 to 1981, Amarillo Independent Schools in Amarillo from 1981-1985, and Kenton County Schools from 1987 to present.

She earned her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Texas Tech University (1976-1978). Wooden received her Rank II in 1987 and Rank I in 2001 from Northern Kentucky University.

Her awards include the Golden Apple Award in 2006, Kentucky Colonel in 2010, National Board Certified Teacher – Middle Childhood Generalist, Academic coach at River Ridge Elementary School from 2001-2005, and presented “Make It So. Engaged!” at the KEA TALK Conference  in 2013. According to Missy Hicks, “Cindy’s content leadership experiences and love of learning establish her as an excellent teacher and significant contributor to her school and community, locally and abroad.”

Contact: Whitney Hall, (270) 745-4662.

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