By Kentucky Teacher Staff
Sarah Murphy Ford of Owensboro was sworn in as the Kentucky Board of Education’s newest member at its Oct. 6 meeting.
Gov. Steve Beshear appointed Ford to the board to fill the at-large seat vacated by Trevor Bonnstetter, who resigned earlier this year. She will serve the remainder of Bonnstetter’s term, which ends April 14, 2016.
Ford is vice president of Scott and Murphy Inc./Hartz Contracting. She is a graduate of Bowling Green High School, the University of Kentucky and Western Kentucky University. She serves on the Owensboro Health Foundation Board of Directors, Riverpark Center Board of Directors, Daniel Pitino Shelter Board of Directors and the Diocese of Owensboro Finance Council.
Kentucky Teacher staff had a chance recently to ask Ford about her priorities while serving on the Kentucky Board of Education. Here’s what she had to say.
Why were you interested in serving on the Kentucky Board of Education?
“As a mother of a 2-year-old and a 9-month-old, I have a great interest in the future of education in Kentucky. I received an excellent education here and I want to make sure that the same is available for all the children of Kentucky.”
What impact do you hope to have on the board?
“I hope to contribute to the board’s efforts to improve the education system and student success across Kentucky.”
What personal trait will serve you best as a board member?
“The ability to be open minded and willingness to work through conflict.”
Why is what you do as a board member important to teachers?
“As a board, we lead and serve the schools of Kentucky, which includes our teachers. The decisions that we make impact the way that they teach our children.”
Other than more money, what do Kentucky schools need most?
“Other than money, Kentucky schools need better collaboration with community stakeholders to create more opportunities for our students.”
What are the biggest obstacles facing Kentucky’s schools?
“The biggest obstacle is lack of funding. The most important thing we can do for the students of Kentucky is invest more in our educational system. We cannot do more with less. Education is the greatest asset we can provide across the state, so it should be a priority when it comes to funding.”
What small change would have the greatest impact on Kentucky’s schools?
“If Kentucky schools could find a way to encourage parents to be more engaged, it would help not only the individual student, but also the entire school.”
Who was your favorite teacher and why?
“I was blessed to have many great teachers during my educational career. There are several that stick out in my mind and each of them kept me engaged in learning. They encouraged me to continually strive to better myself and achieve my goals.”
Other than parents and teachers, what has had the biggest impact on Kentucky students’ education in the past few years?
“When Kentucky adopted higher academic standards. The impact that it had on Kentucky students better prepares them for the future and allows them to be globally competitive.”
What else would you like Kentucky’s educators to know about you?
“I am a HUGE fan of teachers. It is incredible the impact that teachers make on the lives of their students. I have family members and friends that teach in the school system and I see and hear the differences you are making for the future of our students.”