Kentucky Chamber members commit $1 million to train school principals

More donations needed to cover specific counties

On Wednesday, the Kentucky Chamber Foundation announced it will invest more than $1 million toward creating a Leadership Institute for School Principals. Over the next five years, the Institute will offer new principals from public and private schools across Kentucky the opportunity to receive executive-level leadership training from the internationally acclaimed Center for Creative Leadership (CCL).

Businesses large and small have stepped up to support this program that has been called a “game changer” for Kentucky education. Member companies such as LG&E and KU, UPS, Makers Mark, Alliance Resources, Booth Energy (of Inez), Computer Services, Inc. (of Paducah), and Toyota – along with dozens of small companies like English Lucas Priest and Owsley (of Bowling Green), Harper Industries (of Paducah) and Planters Bank (of Hopkinsville) have recognized the value of the Institute and pledged their support.

The Leadership Institute trains principals to:        

  • build a high-performance culture in their schools;        
  • influence others to ensure student success;        
  • explore how knowledge of their own individual strengths and developmental needs can produce positive outcomes for students, schools and communities;        
  • practice new behaviors for positive results.

The cost to attend the institute is $9,000 per principal – but because of the donations, there are no out-of-pocket expenses for them to attend. The training includes a three-day session at the CCL campus in Greensboro, N.C., and four days of training by CCL instructors at the Kentucky Chamber’s headquarters in Frankfort.

The Chamber Foundation began the project by investing $400,000 in a pilot program in 2011. Principals who participated in the pilot were overwhelmed by the the effectiveness of the program and the generosity of the Kentucky businesses who sponsored them.

“The Leadership Institute was the single most effective professional development experience in which I have ever participated,” said Jeff Jennings, principal of Butler County Middle School. “When I left Greensboro, I had a solid plan of action that will have a positive impact on student achievement.”

Contributing businesses designate which counties they support, and only principals from those counties can be selected to attend the program. Although more than $1 million has been raised, the Chamber Foundation would still like to receive donations from all 120 counties so all principals in the Commonwealth will be eligible. Click here to see which counties still need sponsors. 

The deadline to pledge support to principals in each county is February 1. Businesses interested in supporting a principal from a specific county or from a county where the business has customers, can contact Kelly Wolf at or call (502) 695-4700.

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