Western & Southern Financial Group has announced that Stacey Hill-Simmons, principal at Evanston Academy, has been named the 2020 Dr. Lawrence C. Hawkins Educator of the Year.
Hill-Simmons was chosen by Western & Southern from finalists who were nominated by their CPS peers for the award. She will receive a plaque and a personal check for $10,000.
"Stacey has done a remarkable job of improving academic achievement at her school," said Superintendent Laura Mitchell. "We thank Western & Southern for honoring Stacey and commend all of the educators who were nominated."
Under the leadership of Hill-Simmons, Evanston Academy earned an overall grade of an A on its report card issued by the Ohio Department of Education in September 2019.
It's been a banner year for Hill-Simmons. In January, students and staff gathered in the gym for a surprise announcement informing her that she was the recipient of the 2020 Administrator of the Year Award, presented by the Cincinnatus Association.
In February, Evanston Academy was one of two schools to receive the Distinguished School Award. It is one of the highest honors presented to a school for providing high-quality education to disadvantaged students, resulting in significant academic gains.
"We are very pleased to recognize Stacey for her positive impact on student achievement at Cincinnati Public Schools," said John F. Barrett, Western & Southern’s chairman, president and chief executive officer. "Recognizing educators like Stacey and preparing young people for the future is a focus of Western & Southern in its efforts to help make Cincinnati the best place to live, work and celebrate life."
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Western & Southern could not hold its annual ceremony to honor the finalists and announce the award recipient. Instead, Hill-Simmons was notified during a call from Courtis Fuller, WLWT-TV anchor and the event’s emcee, Barrett, and Superintendent Mitchell.
Western & Southern established the Dr. Lawrence C. Hawkins Educator of the Year Award in 2007 to inspire and reward excellence among CPS educators.
This distinguished award honors one educator each year who has elevated the educational process in public schools to an exceptional level through personal commitment, dedicated focus and outstanding results.
The namesake of the award, Dr. Lawrence C. Hawkins, was a member of the elite Tuskegee Airmen, a well-respected Cincinnati educator, former executive vice president of administration at the University of Cincinnati and former Western & Southern board member. He passed away in 2009.