Fleming County teacher remembered

Monday, Fleming County High School culinary arts teacher Debra Howard died unexpectedly. Her community is remembering her impact.

FLEMINGSBURG, Ky. (WTVQ) – She was an innovator, beloved teacher, and as her niece says, “one of a kind.”

Debra Howard, a beloved culinary arts teacher at Fleming County High School, died unexpectedly Monday. Her niece, Samantha Howard, remembers getting the call from the school that she hadn’t shown up to work.

“I knew when they called, when she hadn’t shown up for work, that something had happened,” Howard said.

However, Howard’s students and colleagues are remembering her legacy.

“She was a funny and fun-loving teacher, she always brought great energy into our building and into her classroom and the students really responded to that,” said Fleming County High School Principal Stephanie Emmons.

Howard’s former student, Abbie Thomas, who graduated in 2020, has a key chain of a whisk that Howard gifted her, and remembers her humor and heart.

“She was a class that you wanted to go to, she had these chef pants that had peppers on them. And there were all these different things about our class that made you want to go and learn more,” said Thomas.

Back in 2017 when Howard was hired by the school, she spearheaded the Panther Bistro, a student-run, open-to-the-public restaurant at the school managed completely by Fleming County High School students.

“There was a lot of creativity that she gave us, we were running the show, she was just buying our groceries and making sure we didn’t burn the whole kitchen down. So yeah, we had a lot of expression in what we wanted to create,” said Thomas.

According to her niece, Howard was one of a kind, always looking to make an impact on the people around her.

“Everyone who knew her, and everyone in her life, she wanted to make an impact on. And make a difference for the people around her. And after 36 years of teaching she never seemed to be burned out. Or she was always looking for new ways to make a difference on her students,” said Howard.

Her students have dedicated a wall of Post-It notes at the school with letters to Howard, and according to Principal Emmons, the school is looking into the process of changing Panther Bistro’s name to one in her honor. The name change was suggested by her students.

According to Globe Family Funeral Chapel in Camp Dix, Howard’s visitation is Sunday, December 5th from 6 to 8 P.M. at the chapel in Camp Dix. Funeral services will take place at Globe Family Funeral Chapel on Monday at 11 A.M. Her brother, Gregory Howard, will officiate and burial will follow at Mawk Cemetery on Tar Fork in Lewis County.


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