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FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) – The Kentucky Department of Education has begun accepting nominations for the 2023 teacher awards.

Any full-time public school teacher with at least three years of experience is eligible and can be nominated by students, parents, colleagues, or community members, the Education Department said in a statement.

The awards are an opportunity to recognize excellence among teachers who try every day to prepare children for a meaningful future, Kentucky Education Commissioner Jason E. Glass said.

“We encourage everyone to think of teachers who are making a positive impact on young people’s lives and nominate them for this recognition,” he said.

A panel of education professionals will judge all applicants in March and choose up to 24 Valvoline Teacher Achievement Award winners. The 2023 Kentucky Teacher of the Year will be chosen from the top nine contenders later in the year.