August 8, 2022

KSVT Adds Students & Adult Allies to Board

Thirteen students and two adult allies were appointed Directors of the Kentucky Student Voice Team on Friday. The intergenerational Board of Directors reflects KSVT’s mission to promote more democratic schools and communities.

The newly appointed adult Directors include:

  • Beth Malcom, the outgoing President & CEO of the Kentucky YMCA Youth Association

  • Cindy Baumert, the Manager of Seed Projects for the National Center for Families Learning

The newly appointed student Directors include:

  • Abraham Garcia-Romero, a first year at Berea College first year from Fordsville

  • Arivumani Srivastava, a first year at Pomona College from Bowling Green

  • Audrey Gilbert, a senior at Frankfort High School

  • Cadence Brown, a senior at Marshall County High School

  • Connor Flick, a first year at Brown University from Boone County

  • Emanuelle Sippy, a sophomore at Princeton University from Lexington

  • Esha Bajwa, a first year at the University of Louisville from Louisville

  • Hayden Watkins, a junior at Rowan County High School

  • Krasimir Staykov, a sophomore at the University of Louisville from Lexington

  • Raima Dutt, a junior at DuPont Manual High School in Louisville

  • Sara Falluji, a senior at Paul Laurence Dunbar High School in Lexington

  • Solyana Mesfin, a first year at the University of Louisville from Louisville

  • Spandana Pavuluri, a senior at DuPont Manual High School in Louisville

The student directors will serve one-year terms and adult directors will serve five year terms, both with the opportunity to serve successive terms.

Andrew Brennen and Hiatt Allen, both co-founders of the organization, are currently serving five-year terms as Directors that will expire in 2026. Rachel Belin, who is the Managing Partner, resigned her position as a Director, which she held from the incorporation of the organization in 2021.

The appointment of new directors is the culmination of a year-long process to determine what governance model would work best for the organization. “As we continue to grow as an independent organization, we are adopting a nonprofit governance model that prioritizes the input of the students who are doing the work and the adult allies that are strong supporters,” said Brennen on Friday. “We’re making the decision to empower young people in our governance, something we have called for in our school system over the past decade. Young people are rarely appointed as corporate directors; we’re eager to pioneer this model.”

“KSVT is the living and breathing example of how a partnership among teens, young adults, and older adults can create a dynamic synergy and intersectionality that breeds innovation,” said Malcom. “I am excited to be a small part of pushing forward and evolving the power and efficacy of KSVT, for our communities and state.”

“I have been drawn to the people that are the Kentucky Student Voice Team since day one,” said Baumert, who was a staff member at the Prichard Committee when KSVT was founded. “I love the business model and the inclusive, diverse group of brilliant individuals involved in this organization.”

The Board also elected new officers on Friday. Cadence Brown was elected President, Andrew Brennen was reelected Chair & Treasurer, and Hiatt Allen was reelected Secretary. Brown is the first student to serve as President of the Kentucky Student Voice Team. In that capacity, she will work closely with Brennen and Belin to lead the organization’s strategy, direction, and long-range planning.

“Serving on the board of directors is just one more enormous opportunity to lead and grow that KSVT has given me,” said Garcia-Romero. “I am just so happy and excited to be a bigger part of creating a better education system not only for ourselves, but for many generations to come!”

The Kentucky Student Voice Team is a statewide organization of young people who are co-creating more just, democratic Kentucky schools & communities as research, policy & advocacy partners.