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New Certified Professional Environmental Educators Recognized June 1 At Kentucky Capitol

Twenty-six of Kentucky’s environmental educators were recognized as Certified Professional Environmental Educators at a ceremony at the state capitol in Frankfort yesterday. Brad Montell, deputy secretary of the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet, delivered the keynote address.

The Certified Professional Environmental Educators completed the state’s rigorous Professional Environmental Educator Certification (PEEC) course that was conducted from November 2016 – May 2017. The course is offered by the Kentucky Environmental Education Council (KEEC), an agency of the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet.

The PEEC course, now with 213 graduates since the program was launched in 2004, is based on national guidelines designed to professionalize the field of environmental education by standardizing best practices. It was accredited by the North American Association for Environmental Education in 2015.

“I was a relative newcomer to environmental education when I joined the 2007-2008 PEEC course, and the networking opportunities provided to me were immeasurably beneficial,” said Billy Bennett, now the executive director of the KEEC.

“In addition to numerous resources and contacts, I gained a much better understanding of environmental education’s role as it pertains to both formal and non-formal settings, especially presenting complex environmental issues without advocating for a particular viewpoint.”

The following 26 people were recognized as Certified Professional Environmental Educators:

  • Carmen Agouridis, Fayette County
  • Dale Booth, Franklin County
  • Susan Brown, Harlan County
  • Ashley Bryant Cheney, Fayette County
  • Jo Ann Corum, Clay County
  • Michael Downs, Fayette County
  • Joseph Franzen, Jefferson County
  • Jackie Gallimore, Fayette County
  • Jeanine Huss, Warren County
  • Tim Joice, Jefferson County
  • Jessica Kane, Jefferson County
  • Rebecca Konopka, Carter County
  • Megan McCarty, Fayette County
  • Katherine Morrison, Fayette County
  • Angie Muncy, Leslie County
  • Moria Painter, Russell County
  • Steven Rogers, Fayette County
  • Trinity Shepherd, Floyd County
  • April Simmons, Fayette County
  • Jen Smith, Morgan County, Indiana
  • Traci Tackett, Pike County
  • Jamie Thorn, Russell County
  • Jane Vanhook, Lincoln County
  • Heather Warman, Fayette County
  • Nic Williamson, Fayette County
  • Rachelle Wood, Jefferson County

Certified Professional Environmental Educators are required to complete annual continuing education to renew their certification. Those who renewed for at least six years receive the Master Environmental Educator designation.

Master Environmental Educator Jenny Howard Owen, who has participated in and taught the course, said, “In the academic context, environmental education (EE) is a fantastic approach for helping teachers and students connect classroom topics and lessons to real life. Outside the classroom, EE offers us tools for understanding how our daily lives and communities are directly affected by and connected to the natural environment.”

For more information about the PEEC course, visit or contact Wesley Bullock at or 502-564-5937.

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