Archive for the Winchester Sun 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.

Facility Plan – What Are We Made Of?

Posted in Ashley Ritchie, Beth Griffith, BJ Swope, Board Meetings, Board Members, Board of Education (General), Deanna Wolfe, Debbie Fatkin, Encouragement, In The News, Judy Hicks, Michael Kuduk, Michael McGowan, Point of View, School Board Election 2012, Winchester Sun, WKYT with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 17, 2014 by Joan Graves

the-future Tomorrow night the Clark County School Board will vote on which facilities plan to accept.  Each plan has its strength and its weaknesses.  Each plan will make some pleased and leave others mad.  That can be said of any facility plan in any school board room in any town USA.  Clark County will no doubt have double the emotions simply because of all we have been through prior to this point.

Our facility plan drama began years ago with a highly controversial plan cloaked in accusations of wrongdoing and corruption.  From the moment the ink was quietly placed on the contract, the deal immediately began treading water in a pool of innuendo that immediately divided the community.

It had been quite some time since several of those school board members had been challenged so apparently they were under the misguided notion they could do as they pleased.  They simply did what they had always done.  They counted on the community’s outrage to play itself out and citizens to lose their steam.  When instead the community rallied together to fight for the common good of everybody then things changed.

behind clouds  The previous board’s inability then and even now to consider that they made terrible mistakes, disregarded community opinion, failed to weigh all the options or even begin to have the courage to stand up for the least of us, proves how grossly inadequate they were to represent the greatest of us.  Therefore, they brought shame and suspect upon all of their actions most notably the notorious facilities plan.  In an outrageous show of unification, the community made clear their disgust of being muted and voted out the old and in the new.  Now, we turn to a new era.  It’s a new time and opportunity.

This is the first time that any board member, with the exception of Judy Hicks, in this entire facilities plan drama, has taken time to consider all angles.  This board heard the community loud and clear.  They fought the state.  They have labored, sweat, prayed, talked, lost sleep over and contemplated beyond the realms any of us wish to consider.  This board has taken on what everyone wanted changed but few dared to tackle.  This board, with the exception of Judy Hicks, stepped up to the mound in the last inning with everything lined up against them and nothing going for them but an overwhelming desire to take one for the team because it’s the right thing to do.  Could you do it?  I couldn’t.  That’s why I didn’t run for the board.  images (18)

So, on this eve that changes everything I am asking you, Clark County, what are we made of?  This facilities plan is more than about a mere vote on metal and steel.  It’s a vote on the kind of people we are.  Are we selfish people willing to turn on one another if we don’t get our way?  Are we weak people willing to flaunt that our vote won over the plan that didn’t?  Or are we people with backbone, people who reach deep and know that regardless of what tomorrow holds it is a new era?  It’s a time of when we say all that is gone before, matters no more.  We have a board that will never again put our kids or their own reputations on the market to the highest bidder.  There is no more secret meetings, over-paid bureaucrats, over inflated egos or nauseating misuse of the media.

Life has shown us that more often than not to find what is keeping we must first sift through the rubbish.  To find a hidden treasure we must get dirty digging it from the dirt.  To find a diamond we have to travel the blackest coal shafts.  And if we want real gold then we have to spend hours on our knees shaking it from the imposters and fool’s gold surrounding it.  Finding what is real is important but what becomes more important is how do we treat what is authentic when we are not accustom to seeing it?  Now, is our time Clark County.  Stand up for your school board and say we respect your effort you have put into this decision making process – thank you for having the courage to do the job no one else wanted.



Your Help Urgently Needed

Posted in In The News, National Stories, Winchester Sun, WKYT with tags , , , , , , on November 18, 2013 by Joan Graves

The mission of Stand Up Clark County has always been that of good and that has never been more true than today. A community is known by it’s backbone and our backbone is strong in both giving and receiving through STRIDE. For those that don’t know STRIDE serves individuals with intellectual disabilities by providing them the opportunity to serve the community by volunteering and by being better educated in order to live independently. STRIDE participants learn social skills, how to take care of themselves and participate in Special Olympics. But the greatest thing STRIDE gives to those in the program is what we all take for granted – friendship. This video shows that.

Today STRIDE has the opportunity to win a much needed van from the Toyota 100 Cars For Good program but it can’t be done without you. Please go to and vote for STRIDE. This is the only day of voting so don’t hesitate a moment longer. On behalf of all of STRIDE participants, thank you for Standing Up and being a friend.


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.

Dear Deatra Newell: Love God – Love People

Posted in In The News, Lawsuit, Point of View, Winchester Sun with tags , , , , , , , on March 31, 2013 by Joan Graves
President Lyndon B. Johnson meets with Martin ...

President Lyndon B. Johnson meets with Martin Luther King, Jr. in the White House Cabinet Room (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Martin Luther King Jr. created much needed equality, but he would be greatly saddened by your letter to the editor in the Winchester Sun. You were absolutely correct when you said; “People who really don’t like a people because of their skin color, gender, national origin or religious preference use untruthful flaws about that person to cause others to react negatively.” You know this because it is exactly what you are doing to me. You are making baseless accusations about me in a desperate attempt to paint me as a racist and cause others to see me that way.

I am neither unhappy nor miserable but  you and I definitely have very different definitions of equality. Do you think I should pretend to agree with someone just because they are of a different race? To me that is the epitome of racism. You are my equal and I am not afraid to tell you that I don’t agree with you. It never occurred to me that anyone would consider my stance on this matter as racism because my mind is color blind. I cannot conceive what I don’t see.

Perhaps you should stop looking at the color of my skin and accept that I’m disagreement is with actions and people not skin. Can you extend to me the same equality you want from me? If you cannot give equality to another then how will you ever recognize when it’s been given to you?

You said; “As a black American, I am proud of our school superintendent.” Why add the color? Can you not just identify yourself as an American? If color is added to a statement to make it more powerful isn’t that racism? I certainly would never refer to you in that manner because I don’t see your skin. I see you.

You also said; “The real issue is that the superintendent broke racial barriers as the first black female superintendent in Kentucky. I know this has been an adjustment for most people with different interests, but that’s just how it is. We may never see that day come in our life when we all can see and treat each other the way God intended, but it will come when Jesus returns.”

“People with different interests”? Do you mean white people? Because I’m willing to bet that if the tables were turned and I made that statement you’d be calling me racist. If you don’t want racism then why are you bringing it up? Why is it so difficult to believe that there are people who disagree with a person, not a color? Martin Luther King Jr. wanted equality all of us. He would never condone baseless accusations about race for either of us. He welcomed the opportunity to speak with those of different opinions because he loved people not color. He believed enlightment, intelligience and Christ-like love was achieved when we respectfully considered the views of our opposition.

Without knowing anything about me or having any sort of meaningful conversation with me you have jumped to the erroneous conclusion that I am a racist because I’m white. You have not discussed with me my points nor considered the possibility that I am not a racist. How exactly is that seeing me as God intended? The Bible is crystal clear on how God sees us all. “But the LORD said to Samuel, Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7  My opinions are based on Scripture, prayer, research, conversations with those I disagree with and people’s actions. On this earth that’s about as close as any of us can be to seeing the heart of a person.

You and I apparently have vastly different definitions of equality. I would never disrespect you so much as to pretend to agree with you just because you’re black. I would be a racist if I disagreed with a white person with the same views but pretended to agree with you. Not considering that I may just be a person disagreeing with another person rather than one race pitted against another says more about you than me. Are you so perfect that I can never disagree with your thoughts or actions? Do you find yourself above the remarks of Christ who said all fall short of the Glory of God?  Because if you do in fact believe in Christ, then you must believe all He said.  And He said we are all are sinners. As a Christian I can’t agree with your sins nor should you agree with mine. Yet, somehow my disagreements with you are not Christian, moral, ethical or opinion; they are racial to you. There is nothing Christ like in that.

Which brings us to another statement by Jesus. “You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” Matthew 7:5.

Stand Up Clark County for the removal of all forms of racism and the God-like attitude of hating the sin but loving the sinner.

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.

Winchester Sun Reports On Board Changes

Posted in Board Meetings, Board of Education (General), In The News, School Board Election 2012, Winchester Sun with tags , , , , , on January 9, 2013 by Joan Graves

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Winchester Sun Reports On Board Changes

Casey Castle with the Winchester Sun reported on events from last night’s board of education meeting.  His report is the latest in the accolades being heaped upon new board members. Expectations for the board were high but  after only one meeting, the praises are higher.  Control of the board is now in the very capable hands of Dr. Michael Kuduk who made it clear that the community-board relationship a priority.  Stand Up Clark County for Dr. Kuduk as he stands for us.

Winchester Sun Reports On Legal Drama

Posted in In The News, Lawsuit, Point of View, Winchester Sun with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on January 8, 2013 by Joan Graves

images (7)

Winchester Sun Reports On Legal Drama

Click the link below the “rethinking education” banner to be connected directly to the Winchester Sun’s report. 

Stand Up Clark County continues to be the central focus in education. Although, we would like to say the central focus is purchasing backpacks for students, improving test scores and retaining our teachers, we accept the attention to our cause and the students of this great county. As the Sun’s report made crystal clear, Stand Up Clark County has done nothing but speak the truth. Which is exactly what we will continue to do.

Stand Up Clark County for truth.

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