(FRANKFORT, KY) – Kiley Whitaker, assistant director of the Division of Technical Schools and Continuous Improvement at the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE), received the 2019 Kevin M. Noland-Mary Ann Miller Award Dec. 4 from Kentucky Education Commissioner Wayne Lewis.

Whitaker was given the award at the Kentucky Board of Education (KBE) meeting in Frankfort. The award recognizes a KDE employee for significant service to Kentucky’s public schools and for providing inspiration for education. The KDE staff submits nominations for the award.

“Kiley has had an unusual career path at KDE. He started as an administrative assistant and has worked in nearly every office and worked his way up to assistant director,” said David Horseman, associate commissioner in KDE’s Office of Career and Technical Education and Student Transition (OCTEST). “He’s become one of the more valuable folks in terms of policy and data knowledge – and in historical knowledge from his path through the agency. He knows everybody and everybody knows him, and he’s trusted by everybody.”

Whitaker has helped collect, manage and interpret data that has been used to make decisions at all levels of career and technical education. He has worked closely with the Kentucky Center for Statistics in the collection, analysis and application of employment trend and demand data that has helped strengthen critical partnerships between schools, the Kentucky Workforce Innovation Board and other groups.

Whitaker also has played a critical role in the acquisition and implementation of the New Skills for Youth Grant that KDE is using to help connect Kentucky’s students to in-demand careers.

“Kiley has played a critical role in the implementation of various accountability measures and data collection related to career and technical education,” Matt Chaliff, a program consultant in OCTEST, wrote in his nomination of Whitaker.

Chaliff also noted that Whitaker has traveled thousands of miles across Kentucky to present trainings for career and technical education coordinators and teachers related to collecting, recording and using data.

“Kiley Whitaker has worked tirelessly to help schools and districts provide world-class career and technical education opportunities to students,” Chaliff said. “His work has impacted hundreds of schools, thousands of teachers and tens of thousands of students across the Commonwealth.”

“He’s a great asset to not only our office, but the department,” Horseman said.

The award, established in 2009, recognizes Noland, who served as KDE’s deputy commissioner and general counsel and served as interim commissioner on four occasions, and Miller, who served KDE as a program consultant, staff assistant, policy adviser, director of KBE and chief of staff, and who won the award previously known as the Kevin M. Noland Award in 2013. The award was 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.

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, the Kentucky Department of Education and Kentucky’s schools
  • an individual who is knowledgeable and productive
  • 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 are:

    • 2018 – Amanda Ellis, chief academic office and deputy commissioner
    • 2017 – Jonathon Bogar, welding instructor, Belfry Area Technology Center
    • 2016 – Laura Arnold, associate commissioner, Office of Career and Technical Education
    • 2015 – No award presented
    • 2014 – Rhonda Sims, director, Division of Assessment Support and Research
    • 2013 – Mary Ann Miller, policy adviser for the commissioner and the Kentucky Board of Education
    • 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