Benjamin Gies hired to lead early childhood focus for the Prichard Committee – Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence
Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence

Benjamin Gies hired to lead early childhood focus for the Prichard Committee

Benjamin Gies hired to lead early childhood focus for the Prichard Committee

April 14, 2021

For More Information Contact:
Jessica Fletcher, Senior Director, Communications & External Affairs
(cell) 859-539-0511

LEXINGTON, KY – The Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence has hired Benjamin Gies to lead its long-standing early childhood policy work and coalition, Strong Start KY, and to develop a new focus on helping communities design high-quality early childhood ecosystems. The community-level systems-building work will begin in Owensboro and is supported by a generous grant from the Public Life Foundation of Owensboro.

Gies is a James Madison Memorial Fellow, a graduate of Bellarmine University and the University of Louisville. He is a former member of the Jefferson County Board of Education and has been recognized as a champion in advocacy by the Child Care Advocates of Kentucky and numerous other statewide coalitions. He currently is earning his Doctorate in Leadership and Policy from Vanderbilt University.

Benjamin Gies, Director, Early Childhood Policy and Practice

“A strong early childhood system at the state and local level is the foundation for later success in school and life. I’m excited to welcome Ben on board,” said Brigitte Blom Ramsey, Prichard Committee President and CEO,  “to begin more tightly connecting our state policy progress to exceptional local practice that leads to better outcomes for kids and our communities. We know true innovation for a Big Bold Future starts at the local level and I’m excited to have Ben leading this innovation in the Prichard Committee’s work.”

Gies will serve as Director of Early Childhood Policy and Practice at the Prichard Committee beginning April 19. He will lead the Committee’s Strong Start KY coalition, work with national organizations providing thought leadership in early childhood, and support the community of Owensboro/Daviess County in designing a high-quality early childhood ecosystem that supports stronger kindergarten readiness and proficiency in 3rd grade reading and mathematics for each and every student.

“Through direct engagement with parents, educators, and community members at the grassroots level, our commonwealth can ensure that it prioritizes early learning in the lives of its youth. By investing a little today, we can impact the lives of thousands of children who are only now taking their first steps onto life’s stage. I am thrilled to continue in my life’s mission to advance education in our commonwealth in such a critical area of focus.”

Gies previously served as the Policy and Advocacy Director for Kentucky Youth Advocates (KYA) where he worked closely with Kentucky’s Congressional delegation helping to ensure greater federal resources for childcare.

“This kind of innovative initiative has a chance to positively impact the ecosystem of childcare in Owensboro and across the commonwealth,” said Dr. Terry Brooks, Executive Director of KYA.

The Public Life Foundation’s grant to the Prichard Committee is part of a $4-million early childhood education initiative. Bruce Hager, chair of the foundation, said he hopes the project will enable opportunities that bring together the community through civic engagement.

“The Prichard Committee has a long-standing commitment to improving education outcomes for students in the commonwealth,” Hager said. “We are thrilled to support them in work that will have roots in Owensboro but will expand throughout the state to benefit early learners from Pikeville to Paducah.”

Bruce Hager, Chair, Public Life Foundation of Owensboro


The Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence is an independent, nonpartisan, citizen-led organization working to improve education in Kentucky – early childhood through postsecondary.

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