Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education

CPE policy advisor tapped to lead Rhode Island higher education system

January 07, 2021

Shannon Gilkey
Shannon Gilkey

Shannon Gilkey, a senior policy advisor for the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education and vice chancellor at the Kentucky Community and Technical College System, has been appointed as the new Rhode Island commissioner on postsecondary education.

Gilkey has worked more than 15 years in education – including 10 in higher education – developing and leading institutional, state and national initiatives. Career highlights include spearheading a team of experts to develop Rhode Island's postsecondary attainment plan. He also co-founded Higher Ed for Higher Standards, a national policy and advocacy initiative comprised of 500+ university presidents, trustees and chief executives of national higher education organizations.

In Kentucky, Gilkey has provided policy leadership on economic and workforce development issues at CPE and focused on academics and workforce development at KCTCS. He has also overseen Kentucky's career and technical programs, workforce training, and professional development and innovation for the state's 16 colleges, serving 100,000 students.

"Ensuring that Rhode Islanders have access to high-quality, affordable higher education has long been one of my top priorities, and is especially critical in this moment of great economic uncertainty, said Rhode Island Governor Gina M. Raimondo. "I'm confident that Commissioner Gilkey's wealth of experience will be an asset as we work to support our state's workforce."

Gilkey earned an education doctoral degree in leadership, higher education from Western Kentucky University and an education master's degree in higher and postsecondary education from Teachers College, Columbia University. He also holds a master's in education studies and higher education from University of Oxford, St. Peters College, Oxford and a bachelor's in agricultural science from Murray State University. A frequent lecturer and speaker, he has addressed the Lumina State Policy Convening, the College Promise Campaign and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, among others.

He will begin in his new role on February 1.

Last Updated: 7/23/2021