Posts Tagged ‘Kentucky Educational Television’

A Formal Education

Businessman-turned-advocate champions education

Louisville’s Sam Corbett is a problem solver. A former executive, finding creative solutions is a must when your formalwear business revolves around immovable deadlines like wedding dates and proms.

Sam Corbett

When he decided to leave his family business, Sam Meyers Formalwear, he followed a yen that had been building in him for years: to continue his involvement in education, where he’d served on the Jefferson County Public Schools board, on the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence, and with the University of Louisville.

“I left the business at the end of 2011. It was the only thing I’d done since I was 15 years old,” said Corbett, whose defining feature is the energy he brings to whatever task is at hand.

“I spent 21 years in the tuxedo business and there was something that was just pulling on me,” said Corbett, whose grandfather founded Sam Meyers in 1905.

“There was a part of me that said, ‘I want to try something else.’ And I knew that I would end up doing something that was related to education, because I had spent a lot of time as a volunteer.”

His first taste was through a school/business partnership Sam Meyers had with the Youth Performing Arts School in Louisville — a natural fit, he said, given the formal nature of orchestra attire.

“That’s how I became exposed to leadership in education,” he remembered — and it lit a fire. Next he threw his hat into the ring to be considered for an unexpired school board seat in Jefferson County in the early 1990s. He went on to run and sat on the board for eight years.

“It was the best experience I ever had — and it’s the hardest job in the United States,” he laughed. “You don’t get paid, it’s a full-time job, and someone is always upset.”

KET is one of the few vehicles, from a statewide perspective, that you can hear viewpoints and ideas related to education.

That experience, which he calls “the purest form of public service,” galvanized him to make a difference to public schools, where he is particularly gripped by its mission to serve all students.

“Two of my three children went to public school, and I think the great part about public education is that your child is sitting in the classroom with kids where some are like them and some are totally unlike them,” he said. “And the city today has become so diverse! Something like 100-plus languages are spoken, and it’s really become a kind of melting pot.”

Today, Corbett is executive director of the Jefferson County Public Education Foundation, a non-profit organization that exists to create, strengthen, and connect the dots between needs in the public schools and the businesses and individuals who want to help them.

“There are a lot of caring, concerned people who are willing to help,” he said. “So the challenge is, how do we find ways to get them engaged — through their business, their church, their clubs. There is a lot of expertise we could tap into.”

That idea man, forged in formalwear, now comes to the fore in his new ventures.

“I think I’m very creative in solving problems. I try to take the skillset that I used for many years and try to do the same thing as it relates to public education. You can’t run schools like you run a business, but there are principles that are applicable.”

Corbett’s ideas, and his deep understanding of the issues, are enhanced by his attentive viewing of KET’s public affairs and educational issue programs — such as Kentucky Tonight and Education Matters.

“KET is one of the few vehicles, from a statewide perspective, that you can hear viewpoints and ideas related to education,” he said.

“Just this week [on Kentucky Tonight], the panel included the co-chairs of the House Education Committee, the new executive director for the Prichard Committee, and education analyst for the Bluegrass Institute for Public Policy Solutions. So there’s a great opportunity right there.

“What other opportunity is there,” he added, “other than KET, to get that kind of statewide perspective of what’s happening related to education?”

Meet more Champions of Education and find out how you can nominate someone at



The envelope please …

KET productions and programs receive three Emmys

KET programs — including the long-running instructional current events series News Quiz — received three Regional Emmy Awards at the 51st Ohio Valley Regional Emmy Awards ceremony Saturday at Keeneland in Lexington.

The winning News Quiz, episode, which received an Emmy in the informational/instructional program category, featured stories on President Obama’s meetings with China on reducing greenhouse gases, the Rosetta Mission comet landing, and a prototype hoverboard. The series is produced by Brandon Wickey.

KET’s A History of Kentucky in 25 Objects, produced and written by Barry Bernson, received an Emmy in the writer-program category. The film tells more than 1,000 years of history, through Bill Monroe’s mandolin, Col. Harland Sanders’ original pressure cooker, and more.

Amy Hess, host of KET’s Kentucky Collectibles and a contributing producer for Kentucky Life, received a program-hosting Emmy for her hosting roles with KET as well as her Beloved Productions program The Local Traveler, which airs on other Kentucky media outlets.

Longtime broadcaster and former Comment on Kentucky host Ferrell Wellman was inducted into the chapter’s Silver Circle, which recognizes professionals who have made an enduring contribution to the vitality of the television industry and set standards of achievement. Wellman was capital bureau chief for WAVE-TV in Louisville for 18 years and taught broadcasting at Eastern Kentucky University.

“KET’s talented staff allows us to continue our mission of bringing only the highest quality, engaging educational programming into homes, classrooms, and communities throughout Kentucky,” noted KET Executive Director Shae Hopkins.

The Ohio Valley Region includes 13 television markets from a four-state region, including parts of Ohio, West Virginia, Indiana, and Kentucky.

The Art of Understanding

Chenoweth Allen gives students a window to themselves

American Graduate Champions commit their time, skills, and resources to ensure young people succeed, playing active roles in improving educational outcomes for students — and creating positive environments daily for youth in their communities.

As part of the American Graduate initiative, KET is recognizing Kentuckians who are champions of education in our communities. This month we salute Chenoweth Allen, who works to ensure the educational success of individuals in a variety of important settings.

When Chenoweth Allen was in college, she majored in art history — and then went on to a career in volunteerism, and as a stay-at-home mom. But when she returned to school, it was to pursue a career in art therapy — one which allows her to further her interest in psychology and use her art background to help people make changes in their lives.

“My job is to help people best express themselves through using art,” said Allen, whose caring demeanor and open smile invite her students’ trust.

“Different media have various therapeutic benefits,” she continued. “Pounding clay or working with finger paints is a good way to release energy whereas working with collage — or actually sculpting with the clay to create a symbol — you’re going to have a different therapeutic growth or healing.”

Allen divides her time among three institutions in Louisville: the Family Scholar House, whose four locations provide housing and support services for single parents pursuing four-year college degrees; the West End School, a public boarding school for boys from disadvantaged backgrounds; and Kentucky Refugees Ministries, which provides help and support for new arrivals to this country.

“One of the things that’s really cool about working at the Family Scholar House is the adult women I work with. They are really motivated to change, to break the cycle they have been in,” she said.

“They are wonderful to work with in art therapy because they want to know about themselves, they want to recognize all they have overcome to get where they are.”

There are three ways an art therapist helps people achieve such growth, Allen explains: through the process itself of making art, through the product that they create, and through participation in the creative process.

“That’s the verbal dialogue about the art,” she said. “Participation is that deeper questioning, or in groups, how they participate with each other. And what’s very cool is that it can be any one of those parts at any given time. Some days it might not be at all about the end product.”

Part of my role is to help them navigate those weekly adjustments between home and school, and to really figure out a sense of who they are.

— Chenoweth Allen, art therapist

When working with rambunctious adolescents at the West End School, Allen also finds that putting them to work in a medium as exciting as shaving cream can have a lot of benefits in releasing energy and frustration. And if they’re having a difficult time in the classroom, a piece of art they’re proud of can give them the confidence to boost their academic achievement as well.

“What I love about West End School is that these are really outstanding young men who may not have had opportunities that other kids would have had. Part of my role is to help them navigate those weekly adjustments between home and school, and to really figure out a sense of who they are.

“It’s about building a success identity and helping them express themselves. This particular group of boys I’ve found has really high expectations of themselves and because of that, they get really frustrated really easily. So helping them with art is a way of helping them through that.”

Underlying all her work is the message that betterment of self is possible and can be realized through art. In the case of Kentucky Refugee Ministries, the immediate barriers of language and socialization could stop immigrants in their tracks, but Allen is able to provide a safe place for them to grow in ways as simple as practicing their new language or remembering and grieving for the country they left behind.

In each of these institutions where Allen brings art and hope, her goal is the same: to open each person’s eyes to the person Allen sees, who speaks to her through their art.

“I can see possibilities through their art and through their conversation that they are not yet able to see. And then, as we work together, they are,” she said.

“By recognizing themselves as survivors, recognizing their strengths, they are able to change their paths. And the way that happens is that they see it in the art — and then they are able to see it in themselves. Their creations are what is healing.”

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