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Forum Panelists

  • Christie Biggerstaff, Ed.S. is the Director of Early Literacy for the Kentucky Department of Education in the Office of Teaching and Learning. She oversees the implementation of the Read to Succeed Act, the development of statewide professional learning on early literacy and is helping to build the statewide literacy coaching model. Christie spent 20 years in the Monroe County School District before joining KDE. She served as the Instructional Supervisor and Federal and State Programs Director. As part of this role, she also led the district’s early childhood literacy initiatives. Prior to serving as instructional supervisor, she was a teacher, assistant principal, and principal for the district. Biggerstaff received a bachelor’s degree in elementary education, a master’s degree in library media education and a Rank 1 in educational leadership and instructional supervision from Western Kentucky University. She also has an educational specialist degree for advanced coursework in instructional supervision from the University of the Cumberlands.

  • Lindsay Brooks is a first-grade teacher at Chancey Elementary in Jefferson County Public Schools, which was a pilot program for implementing the ‘science of reading’ curriculum. She has 15 years of teaching experience in first and second grade, teaching knowledge-based literacy for five years and is coming into year three of teaching skills-based literacy.

  • Phil Howell, the Associate Head of The de Paul School, has dedicated his career to teaching and guiding students with learning differences and self-regulation difficulties. He has been an elementary and middle school teacher, has published curriculum in reading and mathematics, and has served as a school administrator for elementary and middle school grades. He is a regular speaker and teacher trainer in schools and universities.

  • Micki Ray is the Kentucky Department of Education Chief Academic Officer where she serves as a leader for policy development (legislative and regulatory) for improving instruction and learning in K-12 schools. She leads the Office of Teaching and Learning (OTL) staff and provides oversight and direction for statewide initiatives in standards development and implementation, professional learning, instructional resources, instructional practices related to scaling highly effective teaching, assessment practices, early learning, grant programs and Title II, Part A. Ray previously served as a literacy consultant for program standards and as a policy advisor for OTL prior to her work as director of the Division of Program Standards. Ray has an additional 15 years of service in Kentucky public education as a high school English teacher. She also was an adjunct English instructor at Hocking College in Ohio. Ray earned her master’s degree in education from the University of Kentucky and graduated from Georgetown College with a bachelor’s degree in English.

  • Representative James Tipton is a Republican who represents District 53 in Kentucky’s House of Representatives. He represents constituents in Anderson and Spencer Counties. He is the Chair of the House Education Committee and a sponsor of Senate Bill 9 the Read to Succeed Act in the 2022 Regular Session.

  • Senator Steve West serves constituents of Kentucky’s 27th Senate District. His district includes the counties of Bourbon, Fleming, Harrison, Mason, Nicholas, Robertson, Rowan and part of Fayette. He serves as Senate Education Committee chair and Administrative Regulation Review Subcommittee chair. West is also a member of the Senate Standing Committee