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Polly Lusk Page to retire from Northern Kentucky Education Council after 46 years of dedicated service

After 46 years in education and 10 years of service as Executive Director of the Northern Kentucky Education Council, Polly Lusk Page will retire at the end of June.


She has been instrumental in creating opportunities for education, business and community leaders to collaboratively align and create impactful programs that change the odds for children and youth in Northern Kentucky.

The Northern Kentucky Education Council is the region’s backbone organization for the alignment of education initiatives that support youth from birth to career and serves as a catalyst for collaboration, change and progress to attain regional education goals. The Council is a nonpartisan, not-for-profit organization comprised of education, business and community members.

Under Page’s leadership, the Council has focused on three priority goals for the region: Every child on grade level in reading and math by the end of 3rd grade; increase the number of youth who are hopeful, engaged and thriving; and increase the number of youth and young adults that are prepared for college, career and life.

Significant progress has been made over the last 10 years:

* 53 percent of 3rd grade students are proficient in reading; an increase from 48 percent

* 21,000 youth participate in the Resiliency Poll each year, which measures hope, engagement and well-being,

* 66 percent of high school graduates are College and Career/Transition Ready; an increase from 51 percent in 2010-11, and

* 94 percent of students in NKY are graduating on time; an increase from 81 percent in 2010-2011.

Page at the 2019 NKYEC Excellence in Education Dinner with NKY Chamber President Brent Cooper, left and St. Elizabeth Healthcare CEO Garren Colvin (provided photos).

Page attributes her success and that of the Council to the collective work and wisdom of the more than 600 cross-sector volunteers and partners, the forward-thinking Board of Directors and the remarkable Council staff.

Page is often quoted as saying that the Council’s Coalitions are in large part the “heartbeat” of the Council.

“That this model of collective impact chaired by steadfast business, education and community leaders is yet another example of the reason the Council has been successful,” Page said.

Page’s most recent work includes the development of the Resilient and Ready by Design Initiative.

This program includes the Resiliency Poll and the Resilient and Ready by Design Teacher Leader Institute.

The Poll, developed in collaboration with Children’s Hospital, UC Medical, and delivered by Terrace Metrics, assesses student hope, engagement, and well-being.

Page with a group of teachers from the Resilient and Ready by Design Institute.

Annually 21,000 youth complete the Poll.

The Institute, funded by a $200,000 grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, deepens teacher knowledge of social-emotional learning strategies and trauma-informed classroom practices that can boost well-being and academic achievement.

To date, 50 teachers have participated in the Institute.

In addition, the successful One to One: Practicing Reading and Math with Students that coaches children in first through third grade has recently expanded to include the Parents as Partners initiative. This program, created by Page and generously funded by United Way of Greater Cincinnati, equips parents with best practice reading strategies that will promote and increase their child’s growth in reading achievement.

Additional Career Highlights

Northern Kentucky was awarded the Ready by 21 Community designation and received more than $200,000 in financial and technical support.

Page and Duke Energy’s Rhonda Whitaker hold the “big check” at one of the utility’s donation events. Among Page’s many contributions has been her ability to garner support for the NKYEC, and Duke Energy has been a frequent supporter of the organization.

Northern Kentucky was selected to host the Ready by 21 national meeting with representation from more than 38 states.

The region was selected by Gallup to pilot the individualized student poll measuring hope, engagement and well-being for the nation.

The importance of literacy was elevated through One to One reaching more than 3,430 children in 36 different elementary schools.

National attention and support were garnered from the Forum for Youth Investment, Gallup, SAS Worldwide Analytics, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

In 2017, the Council hosted a Summit for thought leaders to find solutions that would create additional support for youth in NKY and ensure that they have equitable access and opportunity to participate in innovative initiatives.

Under Page’s leadership the Council used data collected at the Summit in addition to stakeholder feedback to determine; how do we bring even more precision to our practice?

As a result, 4 Coalitions emerged from the original 6 Action Teams and as a region documented results continue that are proof of concept.

Page’s consistent focus on efficiency and the alignment of partners is what distinguishes the Council’s value and impact for the region. Page firmly believes that, “It is the power of all of us working together that maximizes success for each and every one of our youth in NKY.”

Prior to her role at the Council, Page was the Director for Community Engagement and Education Initiatives in NKY with the Partnership for Successful Schools where she developed sustainable school and community partnerships that focused on accelerating student achievement.

Page with her husband, Ken Page, and her family, which she says is her most important accomplishment.

She also served as the literacy specialist for the Kentucky Department of Education and taught at both the elementary and post-secondary levels for more than thirty years.

She has been recognized for leadership,engagement and outstanding contributions by The Congressional Conference on Civic Education.

She was the recipient of the 2013 Kenton County Public Library Foundation’s Mary Ann Mongan Literacy Award, the 2014 Outstanding Women of Northern Kentucky Helen Carroll Lifetime Leader in Education Award, the 2015 Imagining Tomorrow Award for Leadership and Vision from Children, Inc.

She has been inducted into the Lloyd Memorial High School Alumni Hall of Fame, 2017 and most recently, the Covington Foundation announced Page as their 2019 Person of the Year.

According to Page, her most important accomplishment is her family. Polly and her husband, artist Ken Page have three children, three grandchildren and reside in Villa Hills.

The Council’s Board of Directors has announced the appointment of Randy Poe, Ed.D. as Interim Executive Director.

Dr. Poe

Dr. Poe has served as a member of the Board for the past 6 years, and most recently as the Board Chair. He is deeply committed to supporting the organization’s mission and enhancing advocacy efforts in Northern Kentucky.

“I want to thank the Northern Kentucky Education Council Board of Directors for their trust in me and the Boone County Board of Education and my wife Melinda for allowing me the opportunity to serve our great education and business community,” said Dr. Poe. The partnership between education and business is stronger than ever, and it is critical to student success in this global economy. With the help and support of our partners, funders and steadfast volunteers, the future opportunities for our youth are endless.”

Dr. Poe is the Superintendent of Boone County School District. As Superintendent his emphasis is placed on academic rigor, real world relevance and focused partnerships with students, parents and the community.

For more information about the Council, click here, or call (859) 282-9214.

Northern Kentucky Education Council

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