FRANKFORT, Ky. — Audrey Gilbert is a Frankfort High School senior and student advocate and researcher focused on assessment and accountability policy and school climate. 

What You Need To Know

  • The council is bringing Kentuckians from all walks of life across the state together

  • The council is a mix of students, teachers, community members and business leaders

  • Audrey Gilbert is a student advocate and researcher

  • Gilbert has been named the interim chair of the council

“I have a big family of educators. Everybody’s involved somehow, whether they were teachers or working facilities superintendents, simply attended school themselves. Everyone is involved in education in my family, so I’ve grown up surrounded by education,” said Gilbert. 

The Kentucky Student Voice member believes students know best what they need in education. 

The Kentucky Department of Education’s United We Learn Council is making sure their voices are heard. 

“When I first started high school, things like this were not happening. We were fighting on our own to do things. It was something just existing in our own silo,” said Gilbert. “It’s really empowering to know that we’re valued that much that we have that many seats at the table and that we’re being taken seriously.”

Gilbert has been named the chair of the council of 70. The council is a mix of teachers, students, community members, and business leaders invested in education success. The council’s goals include creating vibrant learning experiences for every student, encouraging innovation in assessment and accountability, and collaborating closely with communities. 

“Our students are so much more capable and competent than we often give them credit for so it’s an opportunity to showcase that students’ experience but also to symbolize or hold forth that putting the students at the center is the focus of our work,” said Kentucky Commissioner of Education Dr. Jason Glass. 

Dr. Glass says the council is fulfilling a promise to hear every voice from every corner of the Commonwealth. 

“We wanted to make this council representative of Kentucky, geographically, demographically and from different roles and perspectives. We heard in our listening tours that too often decisions about education are made by a small group of people with power in an isolated setting and we really needed to work on making sure that we were hearing from all perspectives in our community,” said Glass. 

The council is showing KDE’s commitment to making students the center of change.  

“Students can be in leadership positions. Students don’t just have to be a token seat at the table. They can be there. They can be leading conversations with adults. You don’t have to have a master’s degree. You don’t have to adopt a bachelor’s degree. You can just simply be a high school student, living and using your lived experiences to influence important conversations,” explained Gilbert. 

She has a new outlet to speak up about students’ most important issues.

The United We Learn Council will meet quarterly moving forward.