Multiple people standing in a room talking to one another in two different groups.

Kentucky Board of Education Chair Sharon Porter Robinson and Vice Chair Lu S. Young talking with students about their culinary program at the CTE showcase. Photo by Crystal Sicard, Kentucky Department of Education

Members of the Kentucky Board of Education (KBE) discussed career and technical education (CTE) during their meeting on Feb. 7.

February marks CTE Month across the country, an effort to raise awareness of the role that CTE has in readying learners for college and career success.

“We have so many great things going on across the state and we are so excited about this,” said Beth Hargis, associate commissioner in the Kentucky Department of Education’s (KDE’s) Office of Career and Technical Education.

Kentucky has more than 135 state-approved career pathways in 13 CTE program areas. KDE also collaborates with local districts to develop region-specific, locally approved pathways. In addition, KDE operates 50 area technology centers (ATCs) that serve 115 local school districts.

Hargis said the CTE pathways allow students to pursue postsecondary opportunities, including dual credit options and industry certifications, all while working in conjunction with the traditional academic work a student would do in the public school system.

“We want students to enjoy rewarding careers that they’re interested in, not one that they’ve been pushed into, and we want them to have that livable wage,” said Hargis.

Regan Satterwhite, executive advisor in the Office of Career and Technical Education, introduced the board to three new pathways that will be added to Kentucky’s CTE offerings in the next school year: supply chain management, additive manufacturing and data science.

“We know all of those are emerging career fields that will continue to be for years to come,” she said.

Satterwhite also presented some data showing the growth of CTE in Kentucky. During the 2022-2023 school year:

  • Kentucky experienced an 11% increase in CTE enrollment compared to 2021-2022;
  • 8 out of every 10 Kentucky students were engaged in at least one CTE class in high school;
  • More than 4,500 students participated in a CTE cooperative internship or registered apprenticeship;
  • More than 25,000 Kentucky students graduated with at least one postsecondary credential; and
  • 63,425 Kentucky students participated in a CTE student organization.

Hargis said funding for CTE programs has increased significantly since 2022 as well, and all CTE programs in Kentucky high schools are now funded.

Once the meeting concluded, board members visited the Career and Technical Education Showcase at the KDE building, where students from 13 different pathways demonstrated what they’re learning at school.

Commissioner Search
The board heard an update on the search for Kentucky’s next education commissioner. The application window for the position closes on Feb. 16, and so far, the search firm McPherson and Jacobson has received five applications.

In the submitted report, McPherson and Jacobson indicated that in prior nationwide searches the majority of qualified applicants appear in the days preceding the closing.

K-12 Insight has been collecting stakeholder feedback and will continue to do so until applications close. To date, they have received:

  • 15 responses from the Kentucky General Assembly;
  • 198 responses from educators and administrators; and
  • 172 responses from stakeholders in the community.

KBE Chair Sharon Porter Robinson said once the surveys close, K-12 Insight will issue a full report to the KBE members on the findings.

More information about the commissioner search can be found on the 2023-2024 Commissioner Search website.

Kevin Dailey and GlyptusAnn Grider Jones

Kevin Dailey (left), the 2024 Kentucky Teacher of the Year, speaks about his ambassadorship during the Kentucky Board of Education meeting. Photo by Joe Ragusa, Kentucky Department of Education, Feb. 7, 2024

Kentucky Teacher of the Year
Kevin Dailey, the 2024 Kentucky Teacher of the Year, provided an update on his ambassadorship with KDE.

Dailey began a six-month ambassadorship with KDE in January, where he plans to work on a project studying the idea of the perfect classroom, or as he puts it, the imperfect classroom.

“I believe that the teacher is the most important part of the classroom,” said Dailey.

Part of Dailey’s work includes traveling to school districts across the Commonwealth and observing classrooms and the teachers that run them; celebrating the work that they do.

“To be clear, I’m not looking for the best at anything,” he said. “This isn’t an award; this isn’t some career thing; I want teachers who have made a classroom where people want to be.”

Dailey plans to visit a classroom in each district, observe them, and publicize his observations for current and prospective educators.

“You have magic as an educator, all you have to do is find it within yourself and make it your classroom,” said Dailey.

He said the project will help address teacher retention issues by making educators feel valued and trusted.

“Do you want to know the times where I’ve wanted to be a teacher more than anything else? It’s when I know what I’m doing matters,” said Dailey.

Board members expressed excitement about Dailey’s work.

“There is important clinical preparation that has to happen. You’ve got to have that skill set,” said KBE Vice Chair Lu S. Young. Educators need “a quiver full of good, solid pedagogical strategies, … but I really do believe that your message will resonate with so many people who are looking to be reinspired in our profession and to be re-attracted to our profession.”

KBE member Patrice McCrary said she believes the work will have a significant and positive ripple effect on education in Kentucky.

“I also love that you are highlighting individuals who may be frustrated and feeling devalued at this point in time in their career,” she said. “So, thank you for doing that and I hope it becomes contagious.”

In other business, the board: