Great by 8, a statewide initiative to educate and engage local communities to improve economic growth through advocacy for early education, is hosting a statewide summit June 21-22 in Louisville.

The goal of Great by 8 is to expand and strengthen support to programs and services for Kentucky’s children from birth through age 8. The effort emphasizes building leadership capacity to increase program collaboration and coordination and help communities determine how best to meet their local needs for improving the quality of schools, programs and services for all children. The ultimate goal is to eliminate achievement gaps that exist between groups of students by giving all of them a high-quality start on learning.

At the summit, regional teams representing health, education, business, early childhood, parents, community and faith-based organizations as well as elected and civic leaders will convene to learn more from leading authorities about the urgency of this issue. Concurrent sessions include effective collaboration with businesses, media and marketing strategies, and high impact/low resource strategies and programs. Each team will receive a video – I Can Be Anything, Kentucky; I Am Your Unbridled Spirit! – that can be shared with their communities.

On Tuesday, June 21, at 4:30 p.m. ET, a press conference will be held in the Breathitt Room, featuring David Lawrence, leader of the Children’s Movement of Florida. Lawrence is a nationally known journalist and former publisher of the Miami Herald. The goal of the Children’s Movement of Florida is to influence leaders in state government, the business world and elsewhere concerning issues that impact children and families. Wayne Perkey of Wayne Perkey Speaks, Inc. will facilitate the press conference. Regional team networking begins at 5 p.m., followed by David Lawrence as the keynote speaker.

On Wednesday at 7:30 a.m. ET, Bill Scott, executive director of Kentucky School Boards Association, will host the Legislative Leadership Breakfast. At the breakfast, House Speaker Greg Stumbo and Senate President David Williams will join others for a panel discussion about the importance of high-quality programs and services for children birth through 8 and their families. Opening session begins at 9:30 a.m. with keynote speaker Helen Carroll, manager of community relations for Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing, North America, Inc.

Other featured speakers include:

  • Joe Meyer, secretary of the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet
  • Terry Holliday, Kentucky education commissioner
  • Billy Harper, chief executive officer of Harper Industries, Inc.
  • Eric Friedlander, deputy secretary of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services
  • Sherry Baber, preschool coordinator for the Owensboro Independent school district
  • Molly Sutherland, chief executive officer of Sutherland & Associates
  • Bill Scott, executive director of the Kentucky School Boards Association
  • Kevin Cosby, pastor at St. Stephen Baptist Church and president of Simmons Bible College
  • Al Rider, president and chief executive officer for North Central Education Foundation
  • Cindy Heine, associate executive director of the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence
  • Christopher Jepsen, associate director of the Center for Business and Economic Research, University of Kentucky
  • Amy Neal, manager of Success by 6, United Way of Greater Cincinnati
  • Jaime Johnson, executive director of CHILD, Inc.

Those interested in attending may contact Nancy Lovett, director of the Regional Training Center in Calloway County.