Archive for the Herald-Leader Category

Proficient & Ready To Work

Posted in Board of Education (General), Herald-Leader, In The News, Winchester Sun with tags , , , , , , on November 5, 2014 by Joan Graves

grad_class_2014It has been an extremely difficult two years for our school administration. The redistricting alone would have put an extraordinary strain on average school systems. Add to that the mess created by having Elaine Farris as our superintendent and it’s a recipe for disaster. Yet, that’s not what happened at all.

By now, you’ve seen the numbers and know that Clark County Schools are proficient. George Rogers Clark is no longer a focus school. Superintendent Paul Christy accomplished in only two years what Elaine Farris never could in nearly four years. AND….he did it while redistricting, rebuilding and revitalizing. He managed to get better test scores even while testing more students.

There has been a lot of focus placed on college and career ready students. Several years ago, the previous administration even adopted the motto of having every student college or career ready. Yet, they never could hit the mark. In 2012, 167 students were college ready. A 166 were in 2013. But in 2014 the number swelled to 186! Even more staggering was the jump in career ready students. From 2013 (a year attributed to Elaine Farris in the testing world) to 2014 the number of career ready students more than doubled. That is a tremendous accomplishment considering in past years the number of career ready students has increased/decreased by only one or two points.

Several things can impact these numbers, not the least of which is the overall morale of employees and students. It is impossible to ignore what a huge increase came with the change of superintendent and board members. Leadership will clearly make or break a system. This county has undergone changes most schools systems would find unimaginable and could cause a significant setback to students and staff. But Clark County weathered the storm and came out stronger than ever.

Our students are reaping the rewards of a united community and school system with improved leadership. Students who are career ready, leave school, enter the workforce and improve our community. Students who are college ready, go on to higher education, return and improve our community. We are at last in a situation where we all win. Stand Up Clark County and applaud the superintendent, board of education, employees and students of Clark County Schools.

Holliday Needs To Reevaluate & Learn From What We’ve Already Done

Posted in Herald-Leader, In The News, Point of View, Winchester Sun with tags , , , , , , on May 22, 2013 by Joan Graves

ImageIt is beyond ridiculous that the state leader in education launches an attack on the last day of school. Clark County has an opportunity to start fresh. We have a new board and will soon have a new superintendent. You did that Clark County. You took a stand and said enough is enough. YOU brought change. YOU were doing something when Frankfort was ignoring us.

If Terry Holliday had actually been paying attention to Clark County he would know that we are a community that fights back against bullies. We are a community that cares. We are a community united and committed. And when a strong community comes together as we have people like Holliday don’t stand a chance.

We have come too far and achieved too much to have someone who doesn’t have the first inkling of what is going on here to threaten and bully us. There is absolutely NO reason to think that we cannot succeed on the state level as we have locally. We’re smarter, more experienced, organized and we’ve got the power of the people.

Stand Up Clark County and show Terry Holliday he picked the wrong community at the right time.

Trying To Answer Your Questions On Today’s Fast Breaking Events

Posted in Board of Education (General), Herald-Leader, In The News, Lawsuit, National Stories, Winchester Sun with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 13, 2013 by Joan Graves
Downtown Winchester, KY

Downtown Winchester, KY (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There have been some important events today. I’m always amazed at how quickly information travels. As you all know, I am restricted from discussing specifics of the lawsuit filed against the Columbias and me. I can confirm that yes there have been new developments today but I can elaborate no further. However, be assured that the moment we have secured our victory you will hear about it first right here.

The middle school merger is getting some long overdue attention. In addition to the previous post regarding Herald-Leader coverage you can follow this link to my CNN iReport.

Speaking of media attention, I will be interviewed tomorrow by Casey Castle of the Winchester Sun. I know many of you have been frustrated with the Sun coverage which is why I think it’s important you know about the interview. I have been very pleased with recent conversations with Mr. Castle and am thrilled he has taken on the endeavor of writing an in-depth report of the entire school issue.

I know many of you want answers and you will have them as soon as I am able to release them to you. Until then be pleased with the changes your commitment has brought about and look forward to the fantastic days ahead.

Stand Up Clark County and stay tuned.

Herald-Leader Reports on Failing Facilities Plan

Posted in Board of Education (General), Herald-Leader, In The News with tags , , , , on May 13, 2013 by Joan Graves

Herald-Leader Reports on Failing Facilities Plan

This link will connect you to where you can read Lexington Herald-Leader educational reporter Jim Warren’s article regarding the upcoming Frankfort meeting for the Clark County facilities plan.


Our Answers Only Hours Away

Posted in Elaine Farris, Encouragement, Herald-Leader, In The News, Lawsuit, Point of View, Winchester Sun, WKYT with tags , , , , , , , , on February 3, 2013 by Joan Graves

2012 teacher of yr Rebecca Mieliwoki

For over a year the citizens of Clark County have searched for answers for what has been described as burning questions. Yet, we have been repeatedly denied what we believe is our right to know. Despite a rigorous legal campaign launched by Elaine Farris to avoid giving a deposition in the lawsuit she filed, that deposition will take place in a little over 12 hours. At long last many questions that have echoed in our minds will now be asked and In a peculiar twist it’s Elaine that we can thank for our impending revelations.

The lawsuit Farris filed against the Columbias and me was ambiguous at best. Though rich in shock-value adjectives, the suit provides not a single shred of evidence or specific allegations.  It basically says we said things about her she doesn’t like so she is suing. Only in a civil case could someone have others hauled into court with a list of baseless allegations and not even a smidgen of circumstantial evidence. The only requirement for a civil lawsuit is money for an attorney. It’s a shocking revelation of American “justice” of which, I could have lived my entire life without knowing,  It’s an an insult to the integrity our forefathers thought they were creating in America and disgusting waste of tax-payer money that could be invested in our schools.

In her deposition Farris will either defend herself and her actions or she will be as evasive as she’s been in the past. I am expecting the latter but Farris’s supporters are excitedly spreading  word that Elaine will rigorously defend herself in great detail. . According to them, Elaine will provide evidence and details that will be a logical explanation for everything and prove us to be liars. And I’m saying that’s not even possible. But one thing is for absolute certain, this time tomorrow we can all stop speculating.

To be fair, we should note that after Farris’s deposition the Columbias and I will also give a deposition. Don’t expect any new information from us. Lord, knows we’ve not only been an open book but we’ve provided sketches, maps and Cliff Notes. But regardless of whether you are interested in information from Farris, the Columbias or me you will have it tomorrow.

Having never gone through the process before, I am uncertain how long it will take tomorrow. But I will provide an update to this blog as soon as possible. It’s impossible to face tomorrow and not thank all of you. It has been one of the greatest privileges of my life to serve my community in this fashion. Thank you for your overwhelming support, perseverance and grace to correct any mistakes I have made. Together we are marching toward truth and justice.

Stand Up Clark County – our time is at hand.

My Email To WKYT General Manager Wayne Martin Regarding Lawsuit Report

Posted in Emails, Herald-Leader, In The News, Winchester Sun, WKYT, WKYT on November 16, 2012 by Joan Graves

Dear Mr. Martin;

It has come to my attention that your news station WKYT and/or Fox 56 aired a story regarding a lawsuit filed against me by the superintendent of Clark County Schools, Elaine Farris. Statements in that report have led viewers to believe that I was in hiding, which reflects poorly upon my character, when in actuality WKYT made no attempt to contact me.
I have contacted WKYT numerous times regarding the issues in Clark County but failed to get a response. A few weeks ago a Fayette County Public Schools employee, who is the niece of Elaine Farris, was charged with harassment. She lives in Lexington and was served on her job but WKYT did not report on it. Yet, you report nearly the same charges filed against me in Clark County by Elaine Farris when I have never been served documents supporting your report. And you did so only a week after your executive administrative assistant, Deanna Wolfe, lost her board seat to a candidate backed by Stand Up Clark County.
Given these circumstances, I am sure an intelligent man, such as yourself, can understand why viewers may be questioning the integrity of WKYT. I am equally certain, that you would want to correct that perception and restore the good reputation of WKYT and its parent company Gray Television.Therefore, to create balance I am requesting a one on one interview in which I am allowed to present my facts. It will of course be without disruption or input by Elaine Farris as she has already had her side presented.
Thank you so much for your time. I look forward to the interview and swift resolution of this matter so we may all move forward and enjoy our Thanksgiving holiday .
Joan Graves

When Life Gives You Lemons Make Lemonade

Posted in Herald-Leader, In The News, Winchester Sun with tags , , , , on November 16, 2012 by Joan Graves

I knew when the Lexington Herald-Leader identified Stand Up Clark County as a powerful educational force that would shape the future of our schools, the superintendent wouldn’t like it. So, it was no surprise to hear I’ve been sued. If you’re not making a difference in life no one pays attention. But when you become effective people notice.

At this time, I do not have any paperwork regarding the suit filed by Elaine Farris, so my information is second-hand. As you all know, Stand Up Clark County has always required hard evidence before making a statement but in this case I will make an exception. I have no doubt that Elaine Farris has committed career suicide by suing  parents and an employee. But I suppose when you live by the sword of sue them or fire them, it’s only a matter of time until you swipe yourself.

Apparently, the lawsuit names Paul and Patti Columbia and myself, Joan Graves. But make no mistake about it; this lawsuit is against the community of Clark County, our students and our schools. This lawsuit is an assault on civil rights, leadership conduct, integrity and the American life that far too much blood has been poured out to preserve.

At the beginning of this school year numerous employees contacted us wanting to know if we really thought we could change things. Our answer became theirs as they labored between staying in their job here or pursuing another. Teachers have a strong devotion to this community and their students. They wanted to stay and stick it out, but they needed hope. Stand Up Clark County became that hope. We ARE that hope.

Once hope rises up it must be joined or crushed under foot. This lawsuit is an attempt to do the latter. It is the same tactic that has been employed all along. If Elaine can keep people from saying anything negative about her then she can fool people into believing things are good. The goal is to once again make you mute by silencing us. I am here to tell you that will NEVER happen. This is the land of the free. And we, my friend, shall be free because the truth will demand it.

We began this quest seeking answers and change. The change happened on November 6, when a new board came to town. By filing this lawsuit Elaine Farris has set the answers on their way. Now, she has no choice but to answer us. In order to prove her case she must give an accounting for her actions. She must look at the monumental, black and white, documented evidence against her and explain it. We don’t have to prove that what we are saying is truth. She must prove that it is not.

We were shocked to learn that Elaine could sit in a board room and legally not be required to answer our concerns. We were outraged that she’d snicker and dismiss us. But by filing this lawsuit Elaine removed the only thing protecting her silence. Now, she will answer to us and do so in a very public way. The evidence we have already published and that we have not, will all be laid before her. And at long last we will hear directly from her an accounting of her actions and/or in-actions. There’s much to be said about making lemonade from lemons. But watching our opposition squeeze those lemons for us is priceless.

Stand Up Clark County and grab a tall glass of freshly squeezed lemonade for we’ve been noticed.

Trapp Elementary Gets Blue Ribbon & Demonstrates CCPS Potential

Posted in Encouragement, Herald-Leader, In The News, National Stories, School Board Election 2012, Winchester Sun with tags , , , , , , on October 15, 2012 by Joan Graves
The logo for the Natonal Blue Ribbon Schools p...

The logo for the Natonal Blue Ribbon Schools program, awarded to JP2 in 2008. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This evening parents and citizens are meeting to discuss the district’s plan to merge Conkwright and Clark Middle Schools. An overwhelming number of community members are against the proposal with very good reason. The Clark County Board of Education also seeks to close Trapp and other Elementary Schools for the same purpose. Yet, it is the smaller elementary schools that are the highest achieving in the district, state and nation.

Trapp Elementary leaders are currently preparing for a trip to Washington D.C. to collect a high honor. The U.S. Department of Education announced in September that Trapp Elementary will receive the coveted Blue Ribbon Award. Private schools are often touted as top schools and are considered in the running for the Blue Ribbon Award. Despite the competition it was a little public school in Winchester, KY that caught the eye of  U.S Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.

“Our nation has no greater responsibility than helping all children realize their full potential,” Duncan said. “Schools honored with the National Blue Ribbon Schools award are committed to accelerating student achievement and preparing students for success in college and careers. Their work reflects the conviction that every child has promise and that education is the surest pathway to a strong, secure future.”

In a time of educational turmoil our little schools are getting the job done. Time and again they rise to the challenge and meet the goals that our board and superintendent say can not be met. Every teacher, worker, administrator and student at Trapp deserves recognition. On behalf of the community we say thank you Trapp for breaking the mold and demonstrating the capabilities of our students and teachers. We are so pleased to be a part of the community you have chosen to serve and improve.

Stand Up Clark County for Trapp Elementary!

Herald-Leader Reports On School Board Election

Posted in Herald-Leader, In The News on August 17, 2012 by Joan Graves


Once again Stand Up Clark County is in the news. The Herald-Leader gave a brief blurb on our school board candidates and acknowledged Stand Up Clark County’s part in challenging every incumbent board member. You can read the article at

It is remarkable what we’ve done. Like many citizens groups that have gone before us, such as Occupy Wall Street and the Bluegrass Institute, our voices began as a whisper but have exploded into a roar. You are making a difference. You are displaying democracy. You are protecting schools and everyone in them. Keep Standing Up Clark County.

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Herald-Leader Report About Threats & Board Seats

Posted in Herald-Leader, In The News on June 22, 2012 by Joan Graves

Herald-Leader Report About Threats & Board Seats

Those against Stand Up Clark County have not taken their massive loss well. They’ve resorted to threats of physical harm. An investigation has been launched into the matter. Clearly, they’re not very bright. To the loser behind the threats I say; “Just because you use a fake name doesn’t mean your identity can’t be discovered. Ever heard of IP addresses you dimwit?” See, this is why we need better education.