Home » Business leaders push for Kentucky school improvement, tougher standards

Business leaders push for Kentucky school improvement, tougher standards

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Aug. 8, 2012) — Dozens of business leaders from across Kentucky have come together to push for dramatic school improvement and to support educators and students as they work toward that goal.

The Business Leader Champions for Education is chaired by James R. Allen of Louisville, CEO of Hilliard Lyons, and is a joint initiative of the Kentucky Chamber Foundation and the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence. The group is made up of corporate executives and other business leaders from across the commonwealth who will serve as the employer voice in urging the state to provide an education of the highest possible quality for Kentucky’s citizens.

The group’s initial focus will be support for the new, tougher academic standards now being taught in Kentucky’s classrooms. These internationally benchmarked standards are focused on better preparing students for college and the workplace, something of critical importance to the state’s employers.

Business Leader Champions for Education will communicate to educators, students, parents, policy leaders and other Kentuckians about the vital importance of staying the course with the new standards – and the challenging work they require – to build a world-class education system in the state.

Business support for education has always been essential for Kentucky, Allen noted, citing the 1990 Kentucky Education Reform Act and the postsecondary education reforms of 1997.

“The state is once again at a critical place in its quest for educational excellence, and the need for a strong employer voice is greater than ever,” he said. “Kentucky’s business leaders can make a positive difference for schools, students and the state’s future if we join together and share our expectations for Kentucky education and our support for the people and institutions that make the right things happen.”

The Business Leader Champions effort is part of an initiative of the Chamber Foundation, working in partnership with the Prichard Committee, to raise employer awareness of and support for the new standards. The initiative has the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

“The changes now under way in Kentucky’s schools hold great promise for creating a more highly skilled workforce that is better equipped to meet the needs of employers,” said Dave Adkisson, president and CEO of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce. “To compete in a knowledge-based, global economy, we must improve the academic performance of our students.”

“Employer support for the new standards is critical to ensuring they guide the state toward achieving its goals for better schools,” said Stu Silberman, executive director of the Prichard Committee. “This is hard and challenging work, but it is work that must be done if we are to make significant and sustainable progress.”

The Business Leader Champions group plans to speak up publicly about developments in Kentucky’s schools that it believes will help, or hinder, the progression toward excellence, Allen added.

“We believe it is time for Kentucky’s employers to make ourselves heard, in an organized, positive and constructive way, about what we need our schools to be to ensure a prosperous future for the state and all of its citizens,” he said. “We plan to be vocal in our support for schools, students and teachers as they work to make that stronger future a reality.”

Business Leader Champions for Education

Dave Adkisson, President & CEO, Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, Frankfort

James R. Allen, CEO, Hilliard Lyons, Louisville

Bobby Arnold, Chief Operating Officer Commercial Lending, Republic Bancorp Inc., Louisville

Rodney Bohannon, Plant Manager, Briggs & Stratton, Murray

Tony Bohn, Systems Vice President, Chief Human Resources Officer, Norton Healthcare Inc., Louisville

Jeff Bringardner, President, Humana Inc., Louisville

Dave Calzi, Managing Partner, Ernst & Young, Louisville

Kevin Canafax, Vice President Midwest Public Affairs, Fidelity Investments, Covington

Sam Corbett, Partner, Sam Meyers, Louisville

Paul Costel, Kentucky President, Chase Kentucky, Louisville

John Crockett, Chairman, Frost Brown Todd, Louisville

Charles Denny, Kentucky President, PNC Bank, Louisville

Vince Gabbert, Vice President & Chief Operating Officer, Keeneland Association, Lexington

John Gant, General Manager, Carbide Industries, Louisville

Ed Glasscock, Chairman Emeritus, Frost Brown Todd, Louisville

Jean Hale, Chairman, President & CEO, Community Trust Bancorp, Inc., Pikeville

Paula Hanson, Director of Tax Services, Dean Dorton Allen Ford, PLLC, Lexington

Billy Harper, CEO, Harper Industries, Paducah

Dennis Heishman, Regional CEO, Old National Bancorp, Evansville, IN

Audwin Helton, President, Spatial Data Integrations, Inc., Louisville

Henry Heuser, CEO, Unistar/Vogt, Louisville

Debra Hoffer, President, Junior Achievement of Kentuckiana, Inc., Louisville

Bill Hollander, Managing Partner, Wyatt Tarrant & Combs LLP, Louisville

Joel Hopper, President, Brenntag Mid-South, Inc., Henderson

Alice Houston, President, Houston-Johnson, Inc., Louisville

Franklin Jelsma, Partner, Wyatt Tarrant & Combs LLP, Louisville

David Jones Jr., Chairman, Chrysalis Venures, LLC, Louisville

Jeff Kosse, Chief Financial Officer, Fifth Third Bank, Kentucky

Pete Mahurin, Senior Vice President/Financial Consultant, Hilliard Lyons, Bowling Green

Deb Moessner, President & General Manager, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kentucky, Louisville

Jerry Morris, President & CEO, Southern Star Central Gas Pipeline, Inc., Owensboro

Michael Mountjoy, Partner, Mountjoy Chilton Medley LLP, Louisville

Pat Mulloy, President & CEO, Elmcroft Senior Living, Louisville

Nick Nicholson, President, Keeneland Association, Lexington

Cheryl Norton, President, Kentucky American Water, Lexington

Tom Partridge, President & CEO of Louisville/Lexington, Fifth Third Bank, Lexington

Eileen Pickett, Executive Vice President, Greater Louisville Inc., Louisville

Mary Pat Regan, President, AT&T Kentucky, Louisville

Kevin Riddett, President, Invensys Rail, Louisville

Paul Rooke, Chairman of the Board & CEO, Lexmark International Inc., Lexington

Steve  Rudolf, Vice President/Human Resources, Baptist Hospital East, Louisville

Ken Selvaggi, Vice President & General Manager, WAVE 3-TV, Louisville

Mark Shirkness, General Manager of Distribution Services, General Electric, Louisville

Stu Silberman, Executive Director, Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence, Lexington

Barbara Sexton Smith, President & CEO, Fund for the Arts, Louisville

Victor Staffieri, President & CEO, LG&E and KU Energy LLC, Louisville

Steve Tarver, President/CEO, YMCA of Greater Louisville, Louisville

Carl Thomas, President/Treasurer, Gheens Foundation, Louisville

Jeff Uligian, Director/Site Manager, Genentech, Louisville

Tina Walters, Vice President, JPMorgan Chase Foundation, Louisville

John Williams, Chairman, CSI, Paducah

Stephen Williams, President & CEO, Norton Healthcare Inc., Louisville

Kathy Zandona, Vice President Education, Greater Louisville Inc., Louisville