Winter Wrap-Up, Episode 3

Supporting students with a creative twist: A conversation with Kentucky Science Teacher of the Year, Shad Lacefield

In this episode, Eric sits down with the Kentucky Science Teacher of the Year, Shad Lacefield. Shad talks about what it’s like to be teaching during the first year of the pandemic, where he dressed up in over 100 costumes to create a unique and engaging online learning experience for his students. Shad also explains ways he connects with his students to celebrate their successes, as well as large-scale efforts he leads within his school to cultivate the love of learning science content.

Meet our guest(s):

Shad Lacefield

Shad Lacefield is a teacher at Garden Springs Elementary and part-time professor at Asbury University in Kentucky. Mr. Lacefield leads professional development in his district, and has been a guest speaker for Eastern Kentucky University, Campbellsville University, and Amplify Education. His topics include classroom managment, integrating techology, and student engagement. He earned his bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Campbellsville University in 2007, and his master’s in science from Southwest Baptist University in 2011. Shad has either taught or coached every grade K-12, and in his 14 years in education he has served as a lead teacher in literacy, math, science, and social studies. He currently coordiantes with the FCPS Office of Instructional Technology to plan Minecraft build challenges for elementary students, and is working on setting up a science field trip that turns a golf course into a STEM lab. During the first year of the pandemic, Shad dressed up in over 100 costumes to create a unique and engaging online learning experience for his students. He also created Vader Visits where he visited students at their homes dressed as Darth Vader to celebrate their online successes, and keep them encouraged during a challenging time. His creative teaching style, and over 50 “Vader Visits” with students, have been featured on WKYT-TV, LEX-18, Spectrum 1 News, and several local and college news publications. Shad lives in Lexington Kentucky with his wife Whitney Lacefield and their three children.

Check out his websiteYouTube channel, and Facebook account!

Meet our host: Eric Cross

Eric Cross is a seventh grade science/technology teacher, grade level lead, and digital learning innovator for Albert Einstein Academies, International Baccalaureate schools. He is also an adjunct professor of learning and technology at the University of San Diego and a Google certified innovator. Eric earned a bachelor’s degree from Azusa Pacific University and a Master of Education from the University of San Diego. He had 17 years of experience working with at-risk youth and underserved populations before becoming a middle school teacher. By building relationships with students, colleagues, and the community, he has become an empowered leader in and out of the classroom. Through meaningful learning experiences centered around student agency, STEM has become accessible to students through highly engaging lesson design, thoughtful integration of digital tools, and culturally relevant pedagogy.

Transcripts and additional resources

Show notes:


It’s about being engaged with your students and figuring out what are they liking. Every year it’s going to be different…when you have conversations and you build relationships with your kids. - Shad Lacefield