HISTORY

Since 1983, the Prichard Committee has worked to study priority issues, inform the public and policy makers about best practices and engage citizens, business leaders, families, students, and other stakeholders in a shared mission to move Kentucky to the top tier of all states for education excellence and equity for all children, from their earliest years through postsecondary education.

Thanks to the efforts of the Committee and dedicated citizens, Kentucky has moved from the bottom of the national rankings in education to the middle and above. Our ambitious goal is to move to the top tier of all states within this generation.

The Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence emerged from the vision of Edward F. Prichard and his desire to increase the quality of Kentucky education. The Committee was an outgrowth of a state government council to improve higher education and reorganized in 1983 as a citizens’ group to champion the cause of better schools, taking the name of its first chair. When Prichard died in 1984, his friend and colleague, Bob Sexton, took over leadership of the Committee and transformed it into a nationally recognized, private, non-partisan advocacy organization. Sexton and the Committee were instrumental in ensuring the passage of 1990’s Kentucky Education Reform Act, a national model for education reform, and subsequent legislation and programs designed to elevate Kentucky to the top tier of education excellence. Although Sexton died in 2010, the Committee continues his legacy of studying, informing and engaging citizens in improving education excellence for all Kentuckians.

  • 1980
    Government-appointed Committee led by Edward F. Prichard Jr. organized to make recommendations to improve Kentucky education.
  • 1981
    Committee Publishes Their Report, In Pursuit Of Excellence
  • 1983
    Committee Re-Organizes Itself As Private, Non-Profit Advocacy Group And Expands Its Charge To Encompass All Levels Of Public Education. Re-Names Itself After The Charismatic Kentucky Schools’ Advocate, Edward F. Prichard Jr.
  • 1984
    Committee organizes Statewide Town Forum on education
  • 1989
    State Supreme Court rules Kentucky education system unconstitutional
  • 1997
    Kentucky receives Innovations in Government Award from the Ford Foundation and Harvard University
  • 1985
    Committee publishes Path to a Larger Life
  • 1990
    Kentucky Education Reform Act (KERA) enacted
  • 1997
    Kentucky higher-education reforms enacted
  • 1997
    Committee launches Commonwealth Institute for Parent Leadership to train and support parents as reform advocates in their schools
  • 2002
    Committee creates Center for Parent Leadership and spreads parent leadership program to seven states and Washington, D.C.
  • 2000
    Kentucky early-childhood education reforms enacted
  • 2007
    Partnered with Pre-K Now to promote expansion of quality pre-k through the Strong Start initiative
  • 2006
    Kentucky school reform receives the Frank Newman Award for State Innovation from the Education Commission of the States
  • 2008
    Committee celebrates its 25th anniversary & launches Top 20 by 2020, setting ambitious goal for Kentucky education by 2020 and underscoring Kentucky’s progress
  • 2009
    Kentucky adopts higher learning goals and revised testing and accountability system
  • 2010
    Founding executive director Robert F. Sexton dies
  • 2012
    Governor Steve Beshear announces Governor’s Commonwealth Institute for Parent Leadership
  • 2010
    Committee launches ReadyKentucky initiative providing information to parents, teachers and community leaders about new academic standards and other education initiatives
  • 2011
    Stu Silberman hired to lead Committee as second executive director
  • 2013
    Bev Raimondo retires and named Director Emeritus, Governor’s Commonwealth Institute for Parent Leadership
  • 2014
    Cindy Heine retires as Associate Executive Director after 31 years of service to the Committee
  • 2013
    Cindy Baumert hired as Director, Governor’s Commonwealth Institute for Parent Leadership
  • 2013
    University of Kentucky to archive papers of education advocate Robert Sexton
  • 2015
    Brigitte Blom Ramsey hired as Executive Director
  • 2016
    Committee releases report on achievement gaps in Kentucky “Excellence with Equity: It’s Everybody’s Business”