The Richmond Register

Local News

February 26, 2011

Inspire and motivate

Local women nominated for state leadership award

RICHMOND — Betsy Bohannon and Karen Feldhaus have spent most of their careers molding young minds in Madison County.

Their hard work has not gone unnoticed.

The two Richmond residents were two of 29 women in the state nominated on Monday for the Women Leading Kentucky Martha Layne Collins Leadership Award.

In 1999, the Martha Layne Collins Leadership Award was created and presented to former Governor Martha Layne Collins for her contributions to the Commonwealth of Kentucky and its people, according to a press release from Women Leading Kentucky.

The award was created to recognize Kentucky women of achievement who inspire and motivate other women through their personal, community and professional lives, states the press release.

Bohannon is the executive director of students rights and responsibilities in the Office of Academic Integrity at Eastern Kentucky University and serves on the Madison County Board of Education.

Feldhaus teaches primary parenting and child development and entrepreneurship classes at Madison Central High School and also is the head cheerleading coach.

Bohannon, who graduated from the University of Kentucky, moved to Richmond 30 years ago when her husband, attorney David L. Bohannon, was hired in the county.

She has worked in her current position for 15 years and has been on the school board for 12 years.

Bohannon also was the past president of the Richmond Chamber of Commerce, the Richmond Area Arts Council, the Board of Directors of Arlington Association and trustee of First Baptist Church.

Despite all her accomplishments, she was hesitant to talk about the nomination, saying that she likes to keep under the radar and not be thrust into the limelight.

“I’m just very humbled,” she said. “It’s been wonderful to serve the children in Madison County.”

When reached by phone on Thursday, Feldhaus was unaware that she had been nominated for the award.

“It’s nice, it’s an honor,” she said. “I’m a little caught off guard. I really had no idea about it.”

Feldhaus attended EKU, before teaching in Spencer County for six years.

She and her husband Allen, who teaches science and coaches basketball at Madison Central, returned to Madison County 18 years ago and have been here ever since.

The primary parenting and child development class teaches students child development skills. It also helps mothers, or expecting mothers, learn parenting skills.

In the entrepreneurship class, students create a product and operate a store on campus.

Under Feldhaus’ leadership, the cheerleading squad has won several national championships.

“It’s exciting, it’s an honor to have two nominees for this award,” said Tommy Floyd, superintendent of Madison County Schools. “Both are deserving. Both have served the students of Madison County for quite some time.”

“Betsy has been instrumental in many of the partnerships with Madison County Schools and our community,” he added. “Karen is a longtime teacher whose extremely dedicated and is simply an outstanding resource for young people.”

Of the 29 nominees, three finalists will be selected at the end of April, with the winner announced on May 18 at the 12th Annual Women’s Business and Leadership Conference.

Criteria for selection are leadership ability, service as a role model for Kentucky women, contributions as a volunteer, evidence of continuous learning, commitment to Kentucky’s economic advancement, perseverance in face of hardship and having demonstrated sensitivity to diversion, according to the press release.

The 2010 winner was Mary Sias, president of Kentucky State University.

Tim Mandell can be reached at or 623-1669 ext. 6696.

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