Commonwealth Education Continuum announces members, kicks off work
February 03, 2021
Dozens of state policy leaders have kicked off the first meeting of the Commonwealth Education Continuum, a new effort to help students successfully progress through each level of Kentucky's education system and into the workforce.
Gov. Andy Beshear announced the initiative in December, aiming to strengthen partnerships in the system and ease the transition points for students as they move from preschool to college and into careers. In total, 30 representatives have been named to the effort, drawing expertise from every stage of the education and workforce pipeline.
Education and Workforce Development Cabinet Secretary Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman, Council on Postsecondary Education President Aaron Thompson and Commissioner of Education Jason Glass are co-chairing the continuum.
"I am excited to work with this group of talented professionals who are passionate about education. Every child in Kentucky has the right to quality education and job training. The members of this continuum will help make that a reality," said Lt. Gov. Coleman.
President Thompson said members have several urgent priorities to address -- improved access to postsecondary opportunities, more resources to help families plan and pay for college and greater teacher diversity.
"The knowledge and resolve of this group is unparalleled, and we look forward to leveraging that capacity into meaningful and aligned improvements across our systems," Thompson said. "Kentucky has made substantial gains in educational attainment in recent years, and smoothing out these transition points will only increase our momentum."
Additional members include:
- OJ Oleka, president of the Association of Kentucky Independent Colleges and Universities
- Lisa Rudzinski, Education Professional Standards Board
- Amy Neal, executive director of the Kentucky Governor's Office of Early Childhood
- Rhonda Caldwell, executive director of the Kentucky Association of School Administrators
- Jim Flynn, executive director of the Kentucky Association of School Superintendents
- Lu Young, board chair of the Kentucky Board of Education
- Ashli Watts, president and CEO of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce
- Dallas Kratzer, grant program manager of the Cyber Security and Workforce Development Outreach, Kentucky Commission on Military Affairs
- Paul Czarpata, interim president of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System
- Ben Brandstetter, board chair of the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education
- David Horseman, associate commissioner of the Office of Career and Technical Education, Kentucky Department of Education
- Eddie Campbell, president of the Kentucky Education Association
- Gene Hutchins, executive director of the Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority
- James Tipton, Kentucky House of Representatives
- Kerri Schelling, executive director of the Kentucky School Boards Association
- Kyle Thomas, board president of the Kentucky School Counselor Association
- David Givens, Kentucky Senate
- Max Wise, Kentucky Senate
- John Lyons, interim executive director of the Kentucky Workforce Innovation Board
- Logan Justice, P-12 student representative
- Kathleen Christian, president of the 16th District Parent Teacher Association
- Priyadarshini Chandrashekhar, postsecondary student representative
- Jenny Sawyer, executive director of admissions, University of Louisville
- Corinne Murphy, dean of Western Kentucky University
- Robert Jackson, president of Murray State University
- Robert Hayes, director of the Student Transitions and Family Programs, University of Kentucky
- One member to be named from Adult Education, Education and Workforce Development Cabinet
The group will focus on providing equitable access to opportunities, more support for students and families at every level, and a diverse and high-quality teacher workforce – critical to closing outcome gaps related to race and income. The initiative will also seek to strengthen career readiness and success as students enter the workforce, as well as improve awareness of postsecondary opportunities.
"We at the KDE are excited about the opportunity to look at the educational system as a whole and see how all of us can work together to provide the best experience possible for the Commonwealth's students," said Commissioner Glass. "We each have an important part to play and by working together, we can help our students achieve great things."
Last Updated: 7/23/2021