Gov. Beshear praises innovation at Fayette’s all-male prep school
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear toured Carter G. Woodson Academy on Jan. 31, commending the all-male school’s creative and innovative approach. “I’m impressed with all the work you’re doing and even more impressed with your students,” he told Rosz Akins, the school’s founder and now dean of students at Woodson.
During the 45-minute walk-through, Akins gave the governor a brief history – noting how the school for grades 6-12 sprang up from the BMW Academy, a Saturday program for tutoring and developing young men of color. After data showed how much BMW participants improved academically, Fayette County Public Schools invested in the state’s first all-male college prep school and opened Woodson Academy eight years ago.
“Watching this grow and what it’s become shows what can happen when you take a good program, a good idea and bring it to life,” Beshear said. “In these classrooms, we have Kentucky’s leaders of the future. Carter G. Woodson shows us that innovation can and should happen in public schools. As a Fayette County graduate, I’m excited to see where we’re going. I hope we can see more schools like this all across Kentucky.”
“Public education is key to breaking cycles of poverty and building up the workforce of the future. I’m hoping our investment can help,” added Beshear, who this week unveiled his state budget. “We have to do better. Here there’s a new model, and you can feel the success.”
Superintendent Manny Caulk noted that the Fayette County Board of Education tries to ensure that every student in the district has what they deserve and what they need to be successful. “We use innovation here to drive equity,” Caulk said in the brief news conference. “What makes a school great is student outcomes and where education takes them in life.”
Jarvis Byrd, president of Woodson’s Student Government Association, helped lead the tour along with fellow SGA officers, Akins, and Caulk. They gave Beshear a broad sampling of English, math, agriculture classes along with a dual-credit course on African American Heritage. “What impressed him was that most of our classes are student-led. We’ve been prepared to lead since sixth grade,” Jarvis said.
He called the positive attention from the governor’s office “a steppingstone to getting our name out there” and suggested that education leaders across the Commonwealth take note of Woodson’s model. “Others should emulate the brotherhood here,” Jarvis said. “It’s the culture. We all care about each other – the teachers, too.”