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Forward in the Fifth, in partnership with The Center for Rural Development, is planning a special event on Monday, May 21, to recognize individuals in Southern and Eastern Kentucky who have gone above and beyond the call of duty to advance education in the region.

Education Leadership Day, to be held at The Center in Somerset, will feature the announcement of the winners of the 2012 Appalachian Leaders in Education (AppLE) Awards, according to Jim Tackett, executive director of Forward in the Fifth.

Set to begin at 10 a.m., the event will honor the work that educators, community leaders, parents, and students are doing across the region to further education.

U.S. Congressman Harold “Hal” Rogers (KY-05)—the visionary behind the creation of Forward in the Fifth—is scheduled to make a special guest appearance at the event and share in the achievements of the AppLE recipients.

“Forward in the Fifth is excited to recognize the commitment and dedication of individuals across our region in our first round of AppLE Awards. Each nominee’s actions demonstrate a strong passion for improving education and their actions are to be commended.”
Jim Tackett, executive director of Forward in the Fifth

AppLE Awards will be presented to recipients in each of the four award categories of educator, community leader, student/student group, and parent/parent group.

Forward in the Fifth accepted nominations from within its 42-county primary service area of Southern and Eastern Kentucky and selected award recipients based on their work in helping to advance education in the region.

In addition to the AppLE award presentations, representatives from each of the nine area school or college systems participating in Forward in the Fifth’s Local Educational Affiliate Program (LEAP) grant program will lead a series of breakout sessions on the impact their grant-funded efforts have had in tackling educational issues in their areas.

The LEAP presentations will be delivered by school systems in Pulaski, Monroe, Clay, Bath and Wayne counties; Jenkins Independent in Letcher County, Jackson Independent in Breathitt County, and Monticello Independent in Wayne County; and Big Sandy Community and Technical College, serving Floyd and Johnson counties.

Chuck Coldiron at 2012 "Read Pulaski County" literacy event

Somerset businessman Chuck Coldiron, who organized the successful “Read Pulaski County” literacy event at The Center the last two years, will also deliver a presentation on the success of that endeavor. At the events, nearly 1,000 Pulaski County fourth graders have gotten a free pizza lunch and children’s book, and had the opportunity to hear Kentucky First Lady Jane Beshear speak about the importance of reading.

“Communities across our Appalachian region are doing some amazing things to raise educational expectations and outcomes,” Tackett said. “This grassroots approach is paying great dividends for our young people, families, and some communities.”

Forward in the Fifth, a non-profit organization and affiliate of The Center, was formed in 1986 by Congressman Rogers and other leaders to work to reverse low educational attainment levels in the Fifth Congressional District.

For more information about the AppLE Awards or Education Leadership Day, contact Jim Tackett, executive director of Forward in the Fifth, at 606-677-6000 or email