State policy leader to head higher ed programs at CPE

Ellis brings more than 20 years of experience in policy, administration and teaching
Amanda Ellis
Amanda Ellis

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Amanda Ellis, a former teacher and accomplished leader in state education policy, will serve as the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education’s new associate vice president for P-20 policy and programs, the council announced Tuesday.

Ellis joins CPE with more than two decades of experience, including 14 years of service in Kentucky middle and elementary schools. She most recently worked as the chief academic officer and associate commissioner of the Office of Teaching and Learning at the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE), where she has held various positions in senior leadership since 2013.

“Amanda brings a tremendous passion for students along with a commitment to innovation and a high degree of policy expertise,” said CPE President Aaron Thompson. “Providing a seamless transition from P-12 to higher education is a high priority for CPE, and Amanda commands the perfect skill set to lead this effort. We are eager to harness both her perspective and experience.”

In her role with the council, Ellis will help direct policy and programs that focus on the transition from high school to college, college readiness and teacher quality. She will serve as a staff liaison with key stakeholders in Kentucky education, working to strengthen strategic partnerships, student success, teaching and school leadership. In addition, Ellis will help lead efforts to improve dual credit opportunities for Kentucky students.

“I’m both honored and excited to join the team at CPE,” Ellis said. “Kentucky faces some steep challenges in education, but the council is undertaking incredible efforts to improve outcomes for students and prepare our workforce for the changing economy. I’m thankful for an opportunity to advance the work and continue to support our students in these critical areas.”

During her tenure at the state education department, Ellis led efforts around improved student access and outcomes. That included expanding the number of teachers and educational leaders to better provide standards-aligned instruction and establishing a coordinator for school counselors to emphasize the need for wrap-around support as students transition into postsecondary opportunities.

Ellis also collaborated with school districts and education partners at the state and national level, working to ensure all students have access to a high-quality educational experience.

Earlier in her career, Ellis served as the principal of Emma B. Ward Elementary School in Lawrenceburg for eight years. She also taught seventh-grade science at Anderson County Middle School from 1999-2003 and later served as the curriculum resource teacher for two years at Saffell Street Elementary School in Lawrenceburg.

Ellis earned her undergraduate degree at Indiana University, her master’s degree at Georgetown College, and her Ed.D. in educational leadership at the University of Kentucky.

“Throughout Dr. Ellis’ 6.5 years of service at the Kentucky Department of Education, she has always put the children of the commonwealth first in every decision made and initiative created,” said Kevin C. Brown, the department’s interim commissioner. “During my interim, I’ve been particularly grateful for her willingness to restart the Office of Teaching and Learning (OTL). Her efforts have resulted in OTL regaining its rightful prominence in KDE’s programmatic offerings to districts. While Dr. Ellis’ departure is an immediate loss to KDE, it is a huge gain overall as she will hone and strengthen the connections between P-12 and higher education.”