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Pruitt returns to Kentucky, new sessions for Winter Symposium

Winter Symposium

Kentucky School Advocate
November 2021

Staff report

After being held virtually last year due to the coronavirus, KSBA’s Winter Symposium will once again be in person at the Louisville Marriott Downtown.

The conference, which will be held Dec. 3-4, is the last opportunity of the year for members to earn their state-mandated training hours.

“Our members will be able to earn more than 10 hours of credit at Winter Symposium, so for those who still need several hours of state-required training, we encourage you to sign up for the conference at KSBA.org,” said Laura Cole, KSBA’s Director of Board Team Development.

KSBA will welcome Stephen Pruitt back to Kentucky as the symposium’s keynote speaker. Pruitt was Kentucky education commissioner from 2015 to 2018 before becoming president of the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB), an Atlanta-based nonprofit made up of 16 southern member states, including Kentucky.As SREB president, Pruitt works closely with educators and policymakers throughout the south, and can offer local board members and superintendents insights on things that are working well, or not, among their peers in nearby states, some of which Kentucky competes with for economic growth.  

Two major areas of reform underway in several SREB states are literacy transformations in Mississippi and funding reforms in states from Texas to Maryland.

“The time is perfect for Dr. Pruitt to offer some insights on what these other states are doing well, and how district leaders may work to replicate some of those successes here,” said KSBA Director of Advocacy Eric Kennedy. “Coincidentally, or perhaps not, both of these areas, literacy instruction and funding, are things that district leaders and state legislators are working on now in our state.”  

In addition to the keynote address, Winter Symposium will offer many informative breakout sessions designed to help board members become more effective leaders for their districts.

The agenda includes several new sessions including one presented by Kennedy on how boards can support advocacy by their superintendents, as part of the existing superintendent evaluation framework, putting it in balance with the other aspects of the ever-changing and demanding job of the superintendent.

“There has been a lot of upheaval in education policy in Frankfort over the past five years, from charter schools to pensions, to the pandemic, and board members and superintendents have been called upon to advocate for interests of their students in Frankfort like never before,” he said.

The new class will not only develop the working relationship of board teams, but will be a new offering that qualifies for the state-mandated training hour in superintendent evaluation, a class which is always highly in-demand.

The member-favorite Tailgate Reception will return to the symposium this year. Attendees are encouraged to show your school spirit by wearing your favorite team’s colors and apparel while networking with KSBA staff, affiliate members, exhibitors and fellow board members and superintendents.

“The tailgate reception is a great opportunity to interact with your peers and unwind after a day of learning, we will also have games and prizes during the event,” Cole said.

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