2023 Educator Idol of the Year
By Kim Harwood
The Edmonton Metcalfe County Chamber of Commerce is proud to announce Lenita Hughes as the recipient of the Metcalfe County Educator Idol of the Year Award.
This marks the sixteenth year a retired educator has been honored with this distinguished award.
Lenita Hughes was honored at the Senior Celebrity Banquet on April 12th, and introduced by her daughter, Letitia Hughes who serves as Assistant Principal for the Barren County High School. Lenita’s special guests at the Celebrity Banquet were her husband, Tom Hughes I, and her children, Tom Hughes II, and Letitia Hughes. Letitia Hughes, on behalf of her dad and brother, opened the introduction by stating it was truly an honor to be at the Celebrity Banquet to recognize Lenita Hughes as this year’s Educator Idol.
Mary Lenita Jones Hughes began her teaching career in Metcalfe County Schools in 1971 only 3 short years after graduating from Metcalfe County High School in 1968. She got her bachelor’s degree from Western Kentucky University in elementary education and used it to begin her teaching career at North Metcalfe Elementary where she taught until she retired in July 2002 after 31 years in the classroom. She taught many students in one of two grades there (teaching 6th grade until she moved into 4th grade following her mother, Mary Elizabeth Jones’ retirement after 49 years of service to Metcalfe County.)
After her retirement from the classroom, she continued to serve the students at Metcalfe County Schools for an additional 18 years as a tutor through the ESS Daytime Waiver Program and a SAM data collector at Metcalfe Middle School and a substitute teacher until Covid in March of 2020. Ironically, serving 49 years in the district like her mother did.
She was a top-notch teacher instructionally. Her students performed well and learned so much from her – especially Kentucky history where she took her students across Ky on field trips to the Old Capitol and Fort Harrod and more. She devised the first ever and then annual Pioneer Day at North Metcalfe. She brought in blacksmiths to demonstrate the shoeing of horses and taught by coal oil lamps, wrote on slates, and ate pioneer food from pails and more. This day was the highlight of 4th grade for many students.
This award is called the Educator Idol Award and Mary Lenita Hughes is an idol educator who has left a legacy among the thousands of students in Metcalfe County that she has impacted in their lifetime.