African American Educational Leadership Institute
Governor Patton's Remarks
July 1, 1999

Thank you Secretary Helm, and thank you all very much.

I see Senator Gerald Neal and Commissioner Cody, and I’d like to recognize’em.

It’s really a great day to be a Kentuckian, as we’re making history in the educational field.

What we’re celebrating today is a first for the Commonwealth.

We’re here to recognize the first class of African American educators who’ve been identified, selected, and trained specifically to become principals for Kentucky public schools.

In this state we know "Education Pays," and these highly qualified minorities have demonstrated their skills and talents, and have pressed beyond the mark to become effective leaders in our school system.

The leadership challenges in our schools have increased dramatically.

Schools are charged with educating all children toward higher levels of achievement.

The minority student population in Kentucky’s rapidly increasing.

Currently students of color constitute 14 percent of the total student population, while only 4 percent of administrators are people of color.

As the number of students of color across the state continues to increase, these students need to see themselves reflected at all levels of school.

 The Kentucky Department of Education, the Kentucky Alliance of Black School Educators, and Western Kentucky University are aware of these challenges, and have implemented a program to prepare and certify instructional leaders of color for Kentucky schools.

And today we want to take this time to recognize this distinguished group of individuals.

 These individuals have taught in the public school system, have proven their leadership skills, and with the assistance of this unique partnership are now prepared to hold administrative leadership positions in any of the Commonwealth’s public schools.

In addition to the individuals we’re recognizing for completing the principals training, we have five candidates in training to become superintendents.

I’m honored to be a part of this exceptional day and I congratulate each of you as you continue striving towards educational excellence.

Thank you all so much for sharing this wonderful opportunity with me.