Bill Buchanan, an early learning adviser in the Kentucky Department of Education’s Office of Special Education and Early Learning (OSEEL), was named the recipient of the 2022 Kevin M. Noland-Mary Ann Miller Award at the Dec. 7 Kentucky Board of Education Meeting.
The award recognizes a Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) employee for significant service to Kentucky’s public schools and for providing inspiration for education. KDE staff submit nominations for the award.
“I’m honored and deeply grateful for every opportunity to be a part of such a fantastic team here at KDE,” said Buchanan. “We have so much more to do. Thank you.”
Buchanan, who has been with KDE for 21 years, has an extensive background in early childhood policy and state-funded preschool programs.
Over the years, he has guided consultative services and technical assistance in planning, developing and implementing evidence-based practices in early childhood. He provides ongoing monitoring of new instructional materials, research and evidence-based practices aimed at producing improved outcomes for the Commonwealth’s youngest learners.
Associate Commissioner Gretta Hylton of OSEEL said in her nomination form that Buchanan provides “excellent” project management for KDE’s deployment strategies related to school readiness. He leads and participates in cross-agency teams in support of establishing high-quality and equitable early childhood programs.
“Bill’s knowledge of preschool policy, legislation, research and practice is second to none,” said Hylton. “However, his most impressive quality is that in every conversation with Bill, he is focused on the children we serve. He’s spent his lifetime working to improve the world for our preschool students. He is quiet and intentional in his work. He seeks no flattery or praise. This only makes Bill even more special – he is a true unsung hero of public preschool education.”
Buchanan’s depth and power of his relationships with internal and external early learning partners single him out as being a highly effective leader, Hylton wrote when nominating him.
“His collaborative, creative style allows him to tend to even the smallest details while remaining committed to equitable learning opportunities for young children,” she said. “His knowledge, historical perspective and careful listening skills make him known throughout the Commonwealth as the ‘face of preschool.’ He’s known by all of our partners as a fierce advocate for young learners and a great guy to work with, regardless of the issue at hand.”
Buchanan also recently was named the OSEEL’s Director of Special Education Institute’s employee of the year for going above and beyond his required duties in contributing to KDE’s mission and vision and is a recipient of KDE’s Strategic Excellence and Achievement Award. He serves on the Kentucky Leading, Educating, Advocating for Directors of Special Education leadership team.
Education Commissioner Jason E. Glass said Buchanan “embodies everything it means to be a servant leader.”
The award is named for Kevin M. Noland, who served as KDE’s deputy commissioner and general counsel and served as interim commissioner on four occasions, and Mary Ann Miller, who served KDE as a program consultant, staff assistant, policy adviser, director of KBE and chief of staff.
Established in 2013 to recognize Noland’s 18 years of service, KBE added Miller’s name to the award in 2017 to honor her 30 years of service to KDE.
“Congratulations to Mr. Buchanan on being this year’s Kevin Noland and Mary Ann Miller Award recipient,” said Ed Miller, the husband of the late Mary Ann Miller. “His service to KDE and especially to early learning are beneficial to the Commonwealth in providing great education opportunities to children at a very young age.”
A selection committee made up of a cross-section of KDE employees reviewed and rated this year’s nominations based on the following criteria:
- An individual who focuses on the mission for student proficiency;
- An individual who is an excellent ambassador for the Commonwealth of Kentucky, KDE and Kentucky’s schools;
- An individual who is knowledgeable and productive; and
- An individual who has made an impact in one of the following areas: school districts, community partners, parents and/or co-workers through leadership, customer service, teamwork and community service.
Previous Kevin M. Noland-Mary Ann Miller Award winners include:
- 2021: Reeca Carter, state adviser for the Family Career and Community Leaders of America and an education vocational program consultant in the Office of Career and Technical Education (OCTE);
- 2020: Gretta Hylton, associate commissioner, Office of Special Education and Early Learning;
- 2019: Kiley Whitaker, assistant director of the Division of Technical Schools and Continuous Improvement;
- 2018: Amanda Ellis, chief academic officer and deputy commissioner;
- 2017: Jonathon Bogar, welding instructor, Belfry Area Technology Center;
- 2016: Laura Arnold, associate commissioner, OCTE;
- 2015: No award presented;
- 2014: Rhonda Sims, director, Division of Assessment Support and Research;
- 2013: Mary Ann Miller, policy adviser for the commissioner and KBE;
- 2012: Lisa Gross, director, Division of Communications;
- 2011: No award presented;
- 2010: Sally Sugg, director, Division of District 180;
- 2009: Linda Holbrook, state Reading First coordinator.
Buchanan’s dedication to his work and KDE every day prompted his nomination for the Noland-Miller Award.
“He is truly one of a kind and such a valuable resource to KDE, preschool programs and most importantly, students,” said Hylton.