Mike Hesketh, president and owner of Superb IPC, was presented with the Kentucky Board of Education’s (KBE’s) Kelly Award for Business and Education Partnership at its Oct. 12 meeting.
The Kelly Award honors Joseph W. Kelly, who served as a member of KBE from 1989 until 1998 and provided exceptional leadership as its chair for seven years. He was a strong leader in the fundamental early years of implementing Kentucky’s nationally recognized school improvement efforts.
The award is given in the fall of each year to a Kentucky businessperson or business who has partnered with a public school or district to provide outstanding leadership that promotes school improvement and student success.
“I’m very honored and I can’t begin to say how I could be singled out like this amongst the many people in the state that I know are working hard on these things,” said Hesketh. “So, to be singly recognized like this is an incredible honor. I wish I could do more to help other business leaders experience what I’ve experienced. I have no doubt that if they did, they too would be eager to participate.”
As president of Superb IPC since 2010, Hesketh has been instrumental in creating connections between the Shelby County business community and Shelby County Public Schools (SCPS) with the goal of fulfilling the competencies set forth in the district’s Profile of a Graduate.
He also participates on the Kentucky Board of Education’s (KBE’s) Portrait of a Learner/Graduate subcommittee, which was created to evaluate what should be in KBE’s portrait of a learner/graduate and how that can support and enhance the profiles that Kentucky public school districts already have adopted.
“He carries a copy of the SCPS Profile of a Graduate wherever he goes,” said his nominator, Susan Dugle, SCPS chief academic officer.
In December of 2016, Hesketh was the lead presenter of Shelby County’s Work Ready Skills Initiative application to the state of Kentucky. He coordinated the efforts of 26 corporations, industries and educational entities, and secured more than $3.2 million in funding to provide an advanced manufacturing facility with equipment to train young people and adults for the job needs in and around Shelby County.
“The thing that amazes me about Mike is that when you listen to him, he sounds like an educator. And he is an educator. He educates our students, but he also educates his colleagues,” said Dugle at the presentation of the award. “He’s a great advocate in the business and industry community. Because of him we are able to reach the community in ways we weren’t able to before. We are very proud of his work.”
Over the past six years, Hesketh has established himself as a strong advocate for the Shelby County educational community. As a Shelby County business owner, he serves as the community co-leader of Shelby County’s Local Laboratory of Learning (L3), the Shelby County representative on the KentuckianaWorks regional workforce board and has joined the advisory board for the Ohio Valley Educational Cooperative Head Start program.
Hesketh wrote an article for Kentucky Teacher about his participation in the Shelby County L3, which he said is “working on creating and testing a model that gives students learning and growth opportunities – in both our schools and our community – that supplement their formal education with broader learning and personal development that is within their unique interests and abilities.”
He also has been involved in working with the Student Achievement team from the SCPS central office, where he helped create a work-based learning program for students.
“He eliminated all obstacles to employment and welcomed SCPS students into his facility so they could continue their learning in a non-traditional classroom setting,” said Dugle. “As their mentor, he requires our students to reflect and elaborate on their experiences and how it is leading to proficiency in the six competencies of the SCPS Profile of a Graduate.”
“He is an integral part of everything we do,” said Shelby County Superintendent Sally Sugg.
Hesketh said he is glad to be working with such a strong group of educators and leaders in the Shelby County schools.
“The most significant thing from my perspective is how in awe I am, truly am, with the professionals in SCPS,” he said. “The interaction with the many people that have committed themselves to making education more inclusive and making outcomes more effective is an absolute pleasure for me to participate in.”