Kentucky: Council on Postsecondary Education

Council Members

The Council is composed of thirteen citizen members, a faculty member, and a student member, all appointed by the Governor. The Commissioner of Education serves as a nonvoting ex-officio member.  As of April 16, 2016, there are 4 vacant positions on the Council. To express interest for membership on the board, contact the Kentucky Boards and Commissions at 502-564-2611.

For more information on the Council's membership terms and meetings, see KRS 164.011. For general inquiries about the CPE members, contact Heather Bingham.

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Glenn D. Denton, chair

Glenn David Denton is a partner of Denton Law Firm, PLLC in Paducah, Kentucky and practices law throughout western Kentucky and southern Illinois.  His practice encompasses complex civil litigation, estate and trust litigation, business law, employment law and insurance defense.  He is a 1992 graduate of Centre College and a 1995 graduate of Northern Kentucky University Chase College of Law. He received the Outstanding Recent Alumnus Award from the Chase Alumni Association in 2005.  He authored the article "Closing a Kentucky Law Office" published in 2013 by Kentucky Bar Association Bench & Bar magazine and speaks on the topic providing continuing legal education. Mr. Denton also serves on the board of directors of The Paducah Bank and Trust Company, Paducah Bank Shares, Inc., and Lawyers Mutual Insurance Company of Kentucky, where he is chair of the audit and finance committee.  He is the past chairman of the Paducah Area Chamber of Commerce and of the Paducah-McCracken County Convention and Visitors Bureau. Mr. Denton was appointed to the Council in 2008, re-appointed in 2012 and will serve on the Council through December, 2016. He was named chair in February 2015 and 2016 and will serve in that role through January 2017.

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Donna Moore, vice chair

Donna Moore of Lexington, retired from Kentucky Educational Television in 2004. During her 30 years at KET she was senior producer of public affairs and director of programming before being named Deputy Executive Director for Programming and Production. She chaired the Governor's Education Transition Team in 2007. She currently chairs the Midway University Board of Trustees, The Women's Network, the KET Authority and serves on various community boards. She holds an associate degree from Midway College and a bachelor of arts in business education from the University of Kentucky. Ms. Moore will serve on the Council through December, 2019. She was named vice chair in April, 2016 and will serve in that role through January, 2017.

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Maryanne H. Elliott

Maryanne Honeycutt Elliott, of Louisville, is the founder of The Acorn Group. She is a formally trained leadership coach from Georgetown University in Washington, DC, and certified by Priority Management Systems. She is also a certified speaker for Vistage International, a global mentoring company for CEOs and entrepreneurs, and also for SOAR, a leadership development program for high potential women. Ms. Elliott earned a Master in Business Administration from the University of Louisville, a B.A. from Furman University in Political Science and English, is a formally trained coach from Georgetown University. She is an ACC certified coach by the International Coach Federation. Ms. Elliott will serve on the Council through December, 2017.

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Joe E. Ellis, O.D.

Joe E. Ellis is a Doctor of Optometry and is the owner of EyeCare Associates of Kentucky in Benton, Kentucky. He attended Southern College of Optometry in Memphis, Tennessee, from 1982-1986, receiving a Doctor of Optometry degree and attended Murray State University in Murray, Kentucky, from 1975-1979 receiving a degree in Biology. He has served as president for the Kentucky Optometric Association and past Kentucky Trustee. In 2001, Dr. Ellis was elected by his peers to serve on the Board of Trustees of the American Optometric Association. Other honors include 2010-11 President of the American Optometric Association. Dr. Ellis will serve on the Council through December, 2018.

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Dan E. Flanagan

Dan E. Flanagan, of Campbellsville, operates a large farming business and is a retired pastor. He has held several positions in state government, including deputy commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, and various positions at Campbellsville University for a number of years. He holds degrees from the University of Louisville Kent School of Social Work, the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Campbellsville University. Mr. Flanagan was appointed to the Council in 2005 and will continue to serve through December, 2016. He served as the Council's vice chair from February, 2012 through January, 2015.

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Dennis M. Jackson

Dennis M. Jackson, from Paducah, retired from the Paducah public schools in 2005 where he served as director of district personnel. Prior to that he served as assistant principal and athletic director at Paducah Tilghman High School and as a teacher and coach at several other schools. He has served on numerous organizations and boards, including the Murray State University Foundation, the National Alliance of Black School Educators, the Kentucky High School Athletic Association, and the Western Kentucky Association of History and Social Studies Teachers. In 1960 he was the first African American varsity athlete at Murray State University where he played football and ran track. He graduated from Murray with a bachelor of arts in physical education and later earned his master's degree in secondary education administration. He was inducted into the Kentucky High School Athletic Hall of Fame and also the Murray State Athletics Hall of Fame. He will serve on the Council through December, 2015.

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Pam Miller

Pam Miller, of Lexington, served as mayor of Lexington-Fayette County from 1993 to 2003. Prior to that she served on the Urban County Council from 1974 to 1977 and 1980 to 1993. She taught history and French in Connecticut and worked for the Congressional Quarterly in Washington, D.C., and the Boston Globe. Ms. Miller is a member and former chair of the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence. She received her bachelor’s degree in history from Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts. She will serve on the Council through December, 2018. Ms. Miller served as the Council's vice chair from February 2010 until December 2011 and as the Council's chair from February 2012 through January 2015.

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Elizabeth Ruwe

Elizabeth Ruwe is a graduate student at Northern Kentucky University pursuing a Master of Public Administration with a concentration in metropolitan governance. She earned a bachelor of arts in public relations and a bachelor of arts in Spanish from NKU. As an undergraduate, Elizabeth worked as the student assistant to the vice-president of government and community relations. She also twice served as a legislative intern in Frankfort and was the public relations intern for Northern Kentucky’s Vision 2015. Additionally, Elizabeth served as the student rights chair of NKU’s Student Government Association. She currently works for the Girl Scouts of Western Ohio as a Community Engagement Manager and is a member of NKU’s Young Alumni Council.  She will serve on the Council as the student member through June, 2016.

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Marcia M. Ridings

Marcia Milby Ridings is the principal of the London law firm of Hamm, Milby & Ridings. She was president of the Kentucky Bar Association in 1995-96 and was named Outstanding Lawyer of Kentucky in 2006. Ms. Ridings currently serves on the Board of Governors of the American Bar Association. She is on the Board of the Baptist Healthcare System (chair of the audit committee) and serves as Chair of Baptist Health Corbin. She also serves on the Board of Directors of Lawyers Mutual Insurance Company and the Laurel County Public  Library. She holds a bachelor's degree from Georgetown College and Master's and Juris Doctorate degrees from the University of Kentucky. She is a former Regent of Kentucky State University and  previously served on the Board of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce. She is a former member of CPE, having been appointed in 1997 after the passage of House Bill 1.  Her current term on the Council expires December 31, 2015.

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Robert H. Staat

Robert Staat, Ph.D., of Goshen, is the faculty representative to the council. He joined the University of Louisville in 1976 as a professor of microbiology. In addition to his teaching duties and research on infectious dental diseases, he serves as a faculty senator and is the immediate past chair of the UofL Faculty Senate. Currently, he is a member of the UofL Athletic Association Board and the Coalition of Senate and Faculty Leaders. Dr. Staat's education includes a Bachelors and Master's Degree from the University of New Mexico and the Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota. In addition to his work in academia, Dr. Staat is a hobbyist and woodworker and is president of a model railroad manufacturing business. His CPE term will expire June 30, 2017.

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Sherrill B. Zimmerman

Sherrill Zimmerman is a retired educator from Louisville, Kentucky where she was a teacher, assistant principal and a magnet program coordinator for Jefferson County Public Schools. She has made numerous presentations at state and national conferences on many aspects of middle school education. She also coached cheerleading at the University of Louisville leading them to three national championships. Ms. Zimmerman has served on several boards including the Children's Hospital Foundation Board in Louisville. In addition, she holds a bachelor's degree in biology, a master's degree in education and administrative certification all from the University of Louisville. Ms. Zimmerman will serve on the Council through December, 2019.

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Stephen Pruitt

Stephen Pruitt was selected as Kentucky's sixth commissioner of education, effective October 16, 2015, and serves on the Council as an ex-officio, nonvoting member. He started his education career as a high school chemistry teacher and most recently served as senior vice president for Achieve, Inc., a national, nonpartisan, nonprofit education reform organization based in Washington, D.C. During his tenure with Achieve, he coordinated the development of the Next Generation Science Standards. For a full bio on Commissioner Pruitt, visit the Kentucky Department of Education at:


Last Updated 4/29/2016