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Shelby County Selected as Awardee for the Prichard Committee’s Kentucky Community Schools Initiative

The Prichard Committee will channel nearly $1.5 million to the district over five years

What makes a school a great school? What makes a school district a great school district? 

Great schools and school districts emerge when a school district cares for the whole child, expands learning opportunities, builds relationships with families, and works with the community toward a shared vision. Kentucky has embraced these pillars of community schools. Shelby County recently received a transformative grant from the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence called the Kentucky Community Schools Initiative. 

Shelby County will join twenty other districts across the state in implementing the full-service community schools model. With the joint efforts of these districts and the resources provided through the grant, the Prichard Committee is supporting a community-centered approach to education, tailored to the unique needs of each district.

"This is a pivotal moment for education in Kentucky. Our expansion to include new districts in the Kentucky Community Schools Initiative underscores our commitment to improving student futures through community-driven solutions,” said Brigitte Blom, President/CEO of the Prichard Committee. "Each selected district shows promise and shares our vision. We are eager to see the positive change in these communities."

The Prichard Committee was awarded a $47 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education last year, and it will channel $30 million of the grant directly into the Kentucky education system through the implementation of full-service community schools, known as the Kentucky Community School Initiative.

"Joining the Kentucky Community Schools Initiative marks not just a new chapter for our district, but a renewed commitment to every student's future. Together, we're paving the way for holistic education, ensuring that every child, regardless of their background, has the tools, support, and environment they need to thrive, said Dr. Sally Sugg, Superintendent of Shelby County Public Schools. 

The Kentucky Community Schools Initiative champions community-led educational solutions tailored to Kentucky students and their families. When implemented effectively, the community schools model has been proven to boost student outcomes, increase college enrollments, and contribute to students' overall well-being, especially in high-poverty schools. 

Leading the effort for Shelby County Public Schools will be Mr. Joshua Rhodes who will serve as the Director of Community Schools. Mr. Rhodes has served as the Principal at East Middle School. He led his staff to achieve Family Friendly Schools Certification from the Prichard Committee. He has served in the classroom, as an Educational Recovery Specialist with KDE, and as Assistant Principal at East Middle School, and at Marnel C. Moorman School. Before entering public Education, Mr. Rhodes had ten years of experience in management and sales in the private sector. In the past six years at East Middle School, Josh and his team have worked to grow community relationships and involvement through school events, establishing a PTSA, and a community mentoring program. 

Mr. Rhodes discussed his goal in this new position. “My goal as Director is to provide schools, students, and our community in Shelby County with opportunities to engage in their schools, participate in expanded and enriched learning opportunities, and continue to provide integrated support for our students. The vision of a community school is rooted in the belief that education is not just about academic instruction but also about promoting the overall well-being and development of students within the context of their communities.”

“The Community Schools Initiative realizes that no one size fits all. To help students achieve academically, remove barriers to learning, and engage a community to wrap around students and families, each district and each school will have different needs,” said Dr. Adam Hicks, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment.


The grant from the Prichard Committee which funds this new position will help Shelby County Public Schools tailor solutions to the needs of a particular school and the expectations of our community. Mr. Rhodes will officially begin on July 1st.