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September 30, 2016

Forward in the Fifth welcomes new chair and board members

Dr. Dessie Bowling, Chairman

Forward in the Fifth welcomes a new board chair and four new members to its board starting in January.

Dr. Dessie Bowling of Hyden, director of Safe Schools program for Kentucky Valley Education Cooperative, will take over the reins of Forward in the Fifth as board chair. She will serve a one-year term, replacing Dr. Jay Box, chancellor of Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS).

“I want to be a board chair who can renew the passion about raising the education levels in our region—the passion that caused Forward in the Fifth to be created more than 20 years ago,” Bowling said. “When Congressman Hal Rogers and the first group of board members began Forward in the Fifth, I believe they recognized that educating our youth was one of the most important issues facing Southern and Eastern Kentucky.”

Joining her on the board will be new board members: Frances Begley, also of Hyden, agency manager for Kentucky Farm Bureau office in Leslie County; Deborah Clemons of Jackson, regional program manager for Family Resource Youth Services Center, a division of Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services; Deborah Watts of Jenkins, superintendent of Jenkins Independent School District; and Michael Cornett of Somerset, director of marketing and public relations for The Center for Rural Development. Each will serve a three-year term on the board.

“Forward in the Fifth is fortunate to have all of these individuals serve on the board and lend their experience and leadership in helping to improve education across our region,” executive director Jim Tackett said in making the board announcements. “Each one has a vision and passion for Southern and Eastern Kentucky and will be instrumental in assisting the organization to be a catalyst for educational change and progress.”

In addition to Bowling, serving as 2011 officers on the Forward in the Fifth board will be Dr. Cathy Gunn, of Morehead, vice chair; and Deborah Watts of Jenkins, secretary/treasurer.

Board members Ann Hacker of Whitley County and Jeff Hawkins of Letcher County also will begin new three-year terms on the board.

Forward in the Fifth, a non-profit organization and an affiliate of The Center for Rural Development, was formed in 1986 by U.S. Congressman Harold “Hal” Rogers (KY-05) and other leaders to work to reverse low educational attainment levels in the Fifth Congressional District. The organization strives to engage community stakeholders to advance the value of education; serves as advocates to advance all education systems to improve educational attainment; and supports schools and stakeholders to secure needed resources to improve the quality of education within their local communities.

Michael Cornett

Deborah Watts

Frances Begley

Deborah Clemons

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