Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education

Council Members

The Council is composed of 13 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. If you would like to be considered for a seat on the board, please contact Kentucky's Boards and Commissions at (502) 564-2611 or by visiting their website.

 

Lucas Mentzer
Mentzer
High-resolution photo

Lucas Mentzer, chair

Lucas Mentzer of Lexington is the Director of Software Engineering Strategy at PuttShack, an upscale, tech-infused mini golf experience based in the UK. He has nearly 20 years of experience in information technology, program management, and customer operations at the state, national and global level. Mentzer was actively involved in the Lexmark mentoring program for high school students across Kentucky who are interested in STEM fields, and he has also served as the technical adviser for the Wilderness Trace Child Development Center, a charity organization focused on providing early education to developmentally delayed children, and enjoys. He is a proud Centre College graduate with a bachelor’s degree in computer science, and his top three areas of focus for Kentucky’s postsecondary students are financial literacy, affordability and equity.

Appointed: July 5, 2016 (EO 2016-499); Mar 28, 2017 (EO 2017-200)
Term Expires: Dec 31, 2022

Leadership: Council Chair (May 2021-current)
Committee Membership: Executive Committee (chair), Finance Committee (chair), Academic & Strategic Initiatives Committee, Commonwealth Education Continuum

Eric Farris
Farris

Eric G. Farris, vice chair

Eric Farris of Shepherdsville is a partner at Dinsmore & Shohl, LLP. He’s a graduate of the University of Louisville with a Bachelor of Science in police administration and a Juris Doctorate from the UK College of Law. He was a member of Governor Beshear’s transition team for economic development and currently serves on the Kentucky Governors Scholars Board and the Bullitt County Foundation for Excellence in Public Education.

Appointed: Sept 15, 2020 (EO 2020-764)
Term Expires: Dec 31, 2025

Leadership: Council Vice Chair (May 2021-current)
Committee Membership: Executive Committee, Finance Committee

CB Akins
Akins

Clyde B. Akins

Dr. CB Akins Sr., of Lexington, is a retired pastor from the First Baptist Church Bracktown and author of the book, “From Burden to Blessing.”  Dr. Akins served in the United States Air Force from 1969-73 and taught foreign languages in the Military Intelligence Division of the U.S. Army Reserves from 1973-80.  Following his service, he earned a bachelor of arts in social work from the University of Kentucky, and both a master of divinity and doctor of ministry from the Lexington Theological Seminary. Dr. Akins’ leadership in the community has also given him the opportunity to serve on numerous boards, including those at the Kentucky Board of Education, Midway College, Simmons College of Kentucky, and the University of Kentucky.

Appointed: May 17, 2022 (EO 2022-271)
Term Expires: Dec 31, 2027

Muhammad Babar
Babar

Muhammad Babar

Muhammad Babar of Louisville is an attending physician at St. Mary and Elizabeth Hospital and the medical director at six other health care and rehab centers. He is a M.D. graduate of Allama Iqbal Medical College in Pakistan and also has Master of Business Administration from the University of Massachusetts and a Master of Science degree from the University of Louisville. He currently serves on numerous boards including Fund for the Arts, Metro United Way and the Speed Art Museum.

Appointed: Sept 15, 2020 (EO 2020-764)
Term Expires: Dec 31, 2024

Jacob Brown
Brown

Jacob L. Brown

Jacob Brown, of Louisville, is the founder and principal of Marian Development Group, LLC,  formed in 2001, to provide development, architectural, and construction services to urban infill, market rate, and affordable housing projects. Mr. Brown has been involved in construction for over 40 years, with experience in single family, multi-family and commercial construction.   He studied Finance at the University of Louisville and is a member of several industry groups including the Urban Land Institute, CCIM Institute, Building Industry Association of Greater Louisville, and the National Association of Homebuilders.

Appointed: May 17, 2022 (EO 2022-271)
Term Expires: Dec 31, 2027

Kellie Ellis
Ellis

Kellie C. Ellis

Kellie C. Ellis, Ph.D. of Richmond, is the faculty representative to the Council. She is an Associate Professor and the Chair of the Department of Clinical Therapeutic Programs at Eastern Kentucky University; and teaches undergraduate and graduate coursework in child language disorders, speech sound disorders, and research methods.  Dr. Ellis is a former Chair of the Kentucky Board of Speech Language Pathology and Audiology, former President of the Kentucky Speech Language Hearing Association, and former Chair of the American Speech-Language Hearing Association’s Governmental Relations and Public Policy Board. She currently serves as the Governmental Relations Chair of the Kentucky Speech Language Hearing Association.

Appointment Date:  Sept. 17, 2021(EO 2021-702)
Current Term Expires: June 30, 2025

Committee Membership: Finance Committee, Academic & Strategic Initiatives Committee, Committee on Equal Opportunities

Karyn Hoover
Hoover

Karyn Hoover

Karyn Hoover of Jamestown recently retired after 27 years as an elementary education teacher in the Russell County school district. Among teaching grade levels preschool through second grade, she focused her efforts on closing achievement gaps, mentoring new teachers and building relationships with students and their families. She received a bachelor's degree in elementary education from Eastern Kentucky University and completed a 5th year degree at Western Kentucky University. Mrs. Hoover is an active member of the Kentucky Education Association and she serves as Encourager Team Leader for Celebrate Recovery, a Christ-centered recovery program that supports adults in finding a purpose in life and overcoming ongoing challenges.

Appointed: April 9, 2021 (EO 2021-220)
Term Expires: Dec 31, 2025

Committee Membership: Executive Committee (2022), Academic & Strategic Initiatives Committee, Kentucky Authority for Educational Television Board (representing University of Kentucky)

Laura Harper
Harper

Lori Harper

Laura Harper (Lori) is the Western Kentucky Vice President for Rogers Group, Inc., a nine-state company specializing in crushed stone, asphalt paving, sand, gravel and road construction. From Cadiz, she is a graduate from Transylvania University. In addition to her role on the Council, Harper is also a member of the executive committee at the Kentucky Commission of Military Affairs, the chair of the Pennyrile Area Development District and a trustee of Transylvania University’s board.

Appointed: April 17, 2018 (EO 2018-255)
Term Expires: Dec 31, 2022

Committee Membership: Executive Committee, Academic & Strategic Initiatives Committee (chair)

Faith Kemper
Kemper

Faith Kemper

Faith L. Kemper of Fort Wright retired after 37 years in various technology-related roles at Procter & Gamble.  Since that time, she has dedicated her time to community service and political endeavors and activism. Kemper earned a bachelor of arts degree in Religious Pastoral Ministry from the University of Mount St. Joseph in 2012 and has served as a team member of the re-elect Rep. Buddy Wheatley campaign and as chair of the Northern Kentucky Women's Network branch. 

Appointed: June 10, 2022 (EO 2022-324)
Term Expires: Dec 31, 2024

 

Richard Nelson
Nelson

Richard Nelson

Richard Nelson of Cadiz is the executive director of the Commonwealth Policy Center. He has a bachelor of science with triple majors of biology, wildlife management and resource management from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and a Master of Arts in public policy from Regent University. He is certified by the Wildlife Society as a wildlife biologist and certified by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction as a secondary education teacher in environmental science. He currently serves on the Pennyrile Christian Community Board and Hopkinsville Community College Board. He previously served on the Trigg County Hospital Corporation Board and also the Trigg County Fiscal Court as magistrate.

Appointed: Aug 16, 2019 (EO 2019-637)
Term Expires: Dec 31, 2022

Committee Membership: Finance Committee, Academic and Strategic Initiatives Committee

Garrison Reed
Reed

Garrison Reed

Garrison Reed of Bowling Green serves as the student representative of the Council and is a junior at Western Kentucky University. He is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Business Data Analytics, and currently serves as SGA Executive Vice President as well as Student Ambassador for the WKU Alumni Association.  Reed's focus as the student member is ensuring that all students receive a quality education that sets them up for success. 

Appointment Date: August 10, 2022 (EO 2022-493)
Current Term Expires: June 30, 2023

Madison Silvert
Silvert

Madison Silvert

Madison Silvert of Owensboro is the president of The Malcolm Bryant Corporation, a community-oriented and full-service real estate development firm. Prior to this, he served as president and executive vice president of the Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corporation. Silvert earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Centre College and a juris doctorate from the University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law. He is currently a member of the Advisory Council for the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis and has served on numerous boards over the years, including SACS Committee on Colleges, the Kentucky Association for Economic Development and the Kentucky Workforce Innovation Board.

Appointed: April 9, 2021 (EO 2021-220)
Term Expires: Dec 31, 2025

Committee Membership: Executive Committee, Finance Committee

Connie Smith
Smith

Connie Smith

Connie Smith of Bowling Green is the President and Chief Executive Officer at Med Center Health. She has served in the healthcare field for over 40 years. Mrs. Smith earned both associates and bachelor's degrees in nursing from Western Kentucky University, and masters of science in nursing (administration) from the University of Louisville. She is a Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives and serves in leadership capacities in other healthcare organizations including the Kentucky Health Collaborative Executive Committee and the UK College of Medicine-Bowling Green Joint Executive Oversight Committee. In 2021, Mrs. Smith was named one of the Top Women in Business by the Lane Report and also inducted into the Junior Achievement of South Central Kentucky Business Hall of Fame.

Appointed: June 10, 2022 (EO 2022-324)
Term Expires: Dec 31, 2023

Elaine Walker
Walker

Elaine N. Walker

Elaine Walker of Bowling Green is a former Kentucky Secretary of State, Commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Parks, and served as the 29th mayor of Bowling Green. Mrs. Walker attended the University of Maryland and majored in Speech Pathology. She is co-owner with her husband, Dorian Walker, of Peridot Pictures Corporation, a motion picture and television production company, and serves on numerous boards including Emerge Kentucky, Lost River Cave, and the College Hill Historic Neighborhood Board.

Appointed: July 30, 2021 (EO 2021-534)
Term Expires: Dec 31, 2026
Committee Membership: Finance Committee, Committee on Equal Opportunities (chair)

Kevin Weaver
Weaver

Kevin W. Weaver

Kevin W. Weaver of Lexington is an attorney at Sturgill, Turner, Barker and Moloney, PLLC. A graduate of the University of Kentucky, he has a bachelor's degree in political science and juris doctorate from the College of Law. Weaver has served on countless boards in the last 20 years, the most recent being four years on the Kentucky Public Employees Deferred Compensation Authority.

Appointed: Sept 15, 2020 (EO 2020-764)
Term Expires: Dec 31, 2023

Committee Membership: Academic & Strategic Initiatives Committee, Kentucky Authority for Educational Television Board (representing state universities)

Jason Glass
Glass

Jason Glass (ex-officio)

Jason Glass, a third-generation Kentucky educator, is a native of Brandenburg and serves as the Kentucky Commissioner of Education. He is a graduate of the University of Kentucky, where he obtained a bachelor’s degree in political science and history, a master’s degree in political science, and a master’s degree in education. He received a doctorate in education leadership from Seton Hall University, and holds a certificate in advanced education leadership from Harvard University. Visit the Kentucky Department of Education's website for more about Glass.

Last Updated: 8/17/2022