(Kentucky Department of Education)
Non-voting teacher and student representatives have been named to the Kentucky Board of Education.
According to a Kentucky Department of Education press release, the members will begin their terms next month on July 1. Their terms will expire on June 30, 2024.
The student member is Ronald “R.J.” Osborne, a junior at Whitley County High School. The teacher member is Alissa Riley, a 9th-12th-grade teacher at Gateway Academy to Innovation and Technology in Christian County.
KBE Chairwoman Lu Young said in a statment the board is “excited to have Alissa and R.J. join us and we welcome their voices as an active teacher and current student. They will be instrumental as we make decisions that impact the future of education in the Commonwealth.”
Riley was selected from a pool of eight applicants from the 1st Congressional District and recommended by the KBE Application Review Special Committee for the teacher position. Riley is a 15-year teaching veteran. She will fill the seat to be vacated by Garrard County teacher Joanna Stevens.
“I knew from a very young age that I wanted to be a teacher,” Riley said. “I have never wanted to be in any other field or pursue any other career. When people talk about their dream jobs, I can proudly say that I am living my dream.”
Osborne, 17, was selected after seven students from the 5th Congressional District successfully completed an application and met other criteria for the 2023-24 year. The KDE Commissioner’s Student Advisory Council Application Review Special Committee then recommended three candidates to the KBE for consideration.
A special committee of KBE members selected Osborne to serve on the KBE. Osborne will replace Joud Dahleh, a senior from Boone County.
In the press release, Osborne called it an honor to be selected as the third public school student to hold a position on the KBE. He hopes to use this opportunity to bring attention to the rise in college dropouts and to show appreciation for the Commonwealth’s educators.
“There are so many challenges that our high school graduates face when they enter college,” he said, before adding he believes the best way to ensure student success is to ensure educator success.
Fifteen members are on the KBE. The governor can appoint 11 voting members. Additional members, which are the president of the Council on Postsecondary Education, the secretary of the Kentucky Education and Labor Cabinet, a high school student and an active elementary or secondary school teacher, are non-voting members.
Gov. Andy Beshear recently appointed Julia “Julie” Pile of Florence and Diana Woods of Lexington to the board as voting members. They will serve until April 2026.
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