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MSU alum receives national teaching award

It’s commonplace for students to be a little bit surprised by a school assembly. It’s less so for the instructors themselves to be caught off guard by the proceedings.

This is exactly what happened to Johnny Belcher (01), mathematics and physics teacher at Pikeville High School. The school’s students and teachers gathered to witness Belcher receive the Milken Family Foundation National Educator Award.

“They called everyone into the assembly,” Belcher recalled. “I’m sitting there completely oblivious to the fact that maybe, it might be me that gets the award.”

The award provides public recognition and a cash award of $25,000 to elementary and secondary school teachers, principals and other education professionals. Belcher was one of more than 50 educators nationwide selected as winners of the award.

With a master’s in education from MSU, Belcher is currently working toward his doctorate at the University of Louisville. He has been an instructor at Pikeville High School for the past 15 years while serving as an adjunct professor for the University of Pikeville.

Growing up in Dorton, Ky., Belcher always had familiarity and adoration for Morehead State. His grandfather attended MSU and his parents, Danny (67) and Lois Reynolds Belcher (67), graduated from the University with degrees in education.

“Morehead State is the institution serving Eastern Kentucky for teaching,” Belcher said. “It is a teaching college. As far as graduate work, Morehead State is the place to go.”

Belcher said that while the award is a great honor and the money will come in handy toward paying off his graduate school loans, he gets the most reward out of his chance to impact children’s lives on a daily basis.

“You don’t work for awards like this, you definitely work for the students,” Belcher said.

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