Reporter, Hart County News-Herald
Students, teachers, and families across the Caverna School District have spent the last week remembering and honoring the life of high school teacher, Amanda Nutt.
Nutt, who passed away Tuesday, as a result of complications from Covid-19, had been with the Caverna Independent School District for 6 years. In a biography of herself for GoTeachKY, she stated that she chose to become a teacher in order to give students what she didn’t have in school.
Amanda was the 2020 Hart County Teacher of the Year, as well as the recipient of the BH Weaver Award for Outstanding Educator the same year. She was also one of Kentucky’s GoTeachKY Ambassadors and received the 2019 Campbellsville University Excellence in Teaching Award.
In her time outside of school, the 36-year-old teacher was the guitar tech for Kelen Heller and the Velcro Pygmies and enjoyed both independent and live music.
As a dedicated school employee and supporter, Amanda served on multiple committees and advisory councils, was a valuable asset to the math department, and took on leadership roles, such as Math Department Lead, Reach and Teach Sponsor, Achievement Teams Leader, and was a mentor to new faculty.
Terry Thorpe explained that in 2018, she wrote and received a $5,000 grant from local businesses for Chromebooks which students are currently using in classrooms.
Expressions of sympathy across social media called Nutt larger than life, optimistic, respected, and one of a kind.
Jessica Nunn recalls that Amanda was the most dedicated educator she’d ever met, having a contagious laugh and a huge heart.
“She loved her students and would have done anything she could have for them,” said Nunn.
School Resource Officer Dave Houchens, who shares Amanda’s love of music, called her a true inspiration to anyone she came into contact with.
Assistant Superintendent, Amanda Abell, described Nutt as a beloved teacher and friend, who built strong relationships with students and her colleagues.
Additional colleagues remember countless fond memories of shared lessons, presentations, training, and events.
Coach Amy Kilmon recalled her spirit, as well as her helpfulness to the students in her classroom, while Principal Chris Crain reported that she was completely invested in the students of Caverna, always having a “whatever it takes” attitude.
“Meeting Amanda Nutt was probably the highlight of my eighth-grade year in 2008,” said Kalyn Adler. “She was charismatic, connected to her students, and had a way of explaining math that could reach even my English brain. I never imagined that I would have the opportunity to call her a friend and coworker ten years later. Amanda was always ready to reach out to assist me, uplift me, or just be a listening ear. We were very close and she will always be a part of my life. She took my engagement photos in the fall of 2018. I will always have those memories because of her. She had such dedication and passion for her students. She believed in them so fiercely and would do absolutely anything she could for them or a fellow teacher if it would eventually benefit the students. She will be missed beyond words.”
“When I first started at Caverna in 2018, Amanda worked in the Middle School and I worked in the high school,” recalled another coworker, Shauna Jessie. “That spring, some miraculous way- admin deemed us roommates at a tech conference in Louisville. It was during that time that Amanda and I bonded and I was able to experience how amazing and unique of a person she was. Amanda was an amazing teacher. She was headstrong, enthusiastic, always real, she was a leader, she was a friend and so much more. Amanda was above all true to herself and to God. She inspired students every day to live their lives to their fullest potential while also being wholly themselves. I hope today and always we can remember that.”
Lexee Wilson-Houchens deemed Amanda her rock, saying “I would always go to her for suggestions or ask her for her opinion… She was my little motivator, just through admiring her work and dedication within the school. She was a leader, ambitious, and most importantly an amazing person all around.”
Sending a final farewell, Wilson-Houchens said “Your mark was left here on earth, Nutt. Until we meet again, watch over your Caverna family. We love you.”