Education Accountability Steering Committee members announced

Staff Report

FRANKFORT – Commissioner of Education Stephen Pruitt has named a steering committee to advise him on the development of a new education accountability system for Kentucky.

“This work is about 650,000 young people sitting in classrooms across the state and making sure they get the best education possible,” Pruitt told the committee at its first meeting on June 2. “We have to get out of a mentality of compliance with accountability and focus on quality, if we want to make progress on closing achievement and opportunity gaps and make the gains we need for the benefit of our children. Every one of them needs to be prepared to pursue college, postsecondary training, military service or a job upon high school graduation.”

The federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which replaces No Child Left Behind (NCLB), was signed into law last December and gives states an opportunity to redesign public school accountability to better reflect state values as long as certain federal requirements are still met.

“The Accountability Steering Committee will play a major role in what Kentucky’s new system will look like,” Pruitt said. “The steering committee will consider input gathered to date as well as recommendations from several work groups. The goal is to design a system that will improve the education and readiness of ALL Kentucky students and to have one that is fair, reliable, valid and easier to understand than the current system.”

Members of the Accountability Steering Committee include (in alphabetical order): Jimmy Adams, executive director, Education Professional Standards Board; Tatiana Adams, director of gifted services, Marshall Co. Schools; Dave Adkisson, president and CEO, Kentucky Chamber of Commerce; Mike Armstrong, executive director, Kentucky School Boards Association; Jay Brewer, superintendent, Dayton Ind.; Emmanuel Caulk, superintendent, Fayette Co.; Rep. John “Bam” Carney, Taylor Co.; Skip Clevenger, director of English learner programs, Warren County; Annie Conner, special education liaison, Pulaski Co. High School; Cherie Dimar, president, Kentucky Parent Teacher Association; Sam Evans, dean, College of Education and Behavioral Sciences, Western Kentucky University; Bill Farmer, president and CEO, United Way of the Bluegrass; Rob Fletcher, superintendent, Lawrence Co.; Cathy Gibbs, principal, Knight Middle School, Jefferson Co.; Rep. Derrick Graham, chair, House Education Committee; Tiffany Gruen, teacher, John G. Carlisle Elementary School, Covington Ind.; Donna Hargens, superintendent, Jefferson Co.; Ronda Harmon, executive director, Kentucky Association of School Councils; Donna House, paralegal, Kentucky Association of Professional Educators; Carolyn Witt Jones, executive director, Partnership for Successful Schools; Bob King, president, Council on Postsecondary Education; Ann Larson, vice dean, College of Education and Human Development, University of Louisville; Wendy Madden-Rutherford, principal, Letcher Co. Elementary School; Jami Martinez-Reynolds, instructional specialist, Bluegrass Middle School, Hardin Co.; Leon Mooneyhan, iLead Academy; Mary John O’Hair, dean, College of Education, University of Kentucky Department of Education; Brigitte Blom Ramsey, executive director, Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence; Alan Reed, superintendent, Adair Co.; Sadiqa Reynolds, president and CEO, Louisville Urban League; Josh Santana, founding partner, Santana and Fay, LLC, Lexington; Tim Schlosser, principal, Franklin-Simpson High School, Simpson Co.; Tom Shelton, executive director, Kentucky Association of School Superintendents; Chris Thomas, agriculture teacher, Larue Co. High School; Jackie Thompson, former choral director, Perry Co.; curriculum specialist, Knox Co.; Stephanie Winkler, president, Kentucky Education Association; Rachael Yarborough, superintendent, Webster Co. and Wayne Young, executive director, Kentucky Association of School Administrators.

The steering committee will be supported by five working groups that will focus on specific elements of the accountability system: college and career readiness, assessment, opportunity and access, school improvement and educational innovations.

Some issues, such as closing the achievement gap, will be overarching and will be addressed by multiple work groups. The membership of these groups will be announced soon.

The public will have an opportunity for input on the proposed accountability system before it is finalized and approved by the Kentucky Board of Education. The current timeline calls for the new system to be in place for the 2017-18 school year.

Video and audio recordings of the steering committee’s first meeting are available online. A copy of the PowerPoint that was used is available here.

The next meeting of the Accountability Steering Committee is scheduled for July 25 in Frankfort.

More information on ESSA and Kentucky’s accountability efforts may be found on the ESSA page of the Kentucky Department of Education website (

Staff Report


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