What We Do

Our Mission

We are young people co-creating more just, democratic Kentucky schools and communities as research, policy and advocacy partners.

How it Started

Our History

2012
Researching the Possibilities

We spent a year researching and then pitching a proposal to the Prichard Committee to engage students as education advocacy partners.

2013-15
Making the Case & Building Capacity

We promoted the value of student voice in Kentucky and developed a community and culture of support around it.

2016-17
Amplifying Student Voice on Climate & College

We trained and supported students as school improvement partners, conducted school climate audits, listened to students about college affordability & access barriers.

2018
Mobilizing Around School Safety

Rallied students to advocate for more school counselors in the wake of school shootings in Marshall County, Kentucky & Parkland, Florida

2020
Informing on Covid-19

We created the Coping with COVID-19 Student-to-Student Survey, which reached almost 10,000 students in all 120 counties during the early months of the pandemic and released a report, which was later published in a scientific journal.

2021
Advancing Youth Agency

We became an independent youth-led nonprofit and successfully advocated for the permanent inclusion of student and teacher seats on the Kentucky Board of Education.

2022
Democratizing Education Research & Reporting

We led a statewide study of students on race, ethnicity and belonging in school and launched The New Edu education journalism site.

a few things we're proud of

Some of our Accomplishments

Courthouse Icon

CHANGED LAW

Made Kentucky colleges more affordable for 8,000 low-income students with our “Powerball Promise” campaign

Book Icon

WROTE BOOK

Solicited stories from thousands of Kentucky students about college affordability leading to the publication of a book, Ready Or Not: Stories From the Students Behind the Statistics

Papers Icon

LAUNCHED SITE

Launched the first youth-run education newsroom in Kentucky, The New Edu, centering student perspectives within Kentucky’s education system

People Icon

made space

Advocated for the inclusion of student representatives on the Kentucky Board of Education, district school boards, and School Based Decision Making Councils

Our Squad

Leadership Team

Adult allies and students partner to support youth-led work as an intergenerational team.

team member headshot

Rachel Burg Belin

Managing Partner & Co-Founder

Rachel (she/her) is the Managing Partner and, with young people, a co-founder of the Kentucky Student Voice Team.

read bio
team member headshot

Rainesford Stauffer

The New Edu Managing Editor

Rainesford Stauffer is the Kentucky Student Voice Team's Managing Editor, co-designing its education journalism news service with students from across the state. She is an author, journalist, and native Kentuckian.

read bio
team member headshot

Ian Coon

Operations Partner

Ian is a born and raised Iowan with over a decade of organizing, operations and communications experience in the education justice space, both locally and nationally. When not at work, you’ll find Ian constantly in motion traveling, cycling, practicing yoga or exploring local restaurants and shops near and far.

read bio
team member headshot

Cadence Brown

Cross-Org Coordinator & Board President

Cadence joined KSVT when she saw a climate audit being conducted at her own school and quickly jumped in to help with other school climate audits across the state. She now coordinates strategic projects and initiatives across KSVT.

read bio
team member headshot

Andrew Brennen

Senior Advisor, Board Chair, & Co-Founder

Andrew is lifelong Kentuckian and a co-founder, senior advisor, and board chair & treasurer of the Kentucky Student Voice Team.

read bio
team member headshot

Hiatt Allen

Senior Advisor, Board Secretary, & Co-Founder

A native of Lexington, Hiatt co-founded the team as a junior in high school, drawn to the idea that students should have a say in their learning.

read bio
team member headshot

Ana Despa

School Governance Coordinator & New Edu Fellowship Advisor

Ana leads the KSVT's school governance work and serves as an advisor to the team's journalism fellowship program. She is a senior at Paul Laurence Dunbar High School in Lexington who has been with the Kentucky Student Voice Team since her sophomore year.

read bio
team member headshot

Audrey Gilbert

School Climate Audits Co-Coordinator, MAA Project Coordinator, & Board Member

Audrey Gilbert (she/her) is the Kentucky Student Voice Team's School Climate Audit co-lead and the Measurement, Assessment, and Accountability lead. She is also a KSVT Board Member. Audrey is a senior at Frankfort High School who has been with the KSVT her entire high school career.

read bio
team member headshot

Esha Bajwa

Student Action Network for Equity Liaison & Board Member

Esha Bajwa (she/her) is the Kentucky Student Voice Team's Representative to the Student Action Network for Equity and a member of the board.

read bio
team member headshot

Francis Musoni

Get Schooled Production Coordinator

Francis Musoni is the Kentucky Student Voice Team's podcast production coordinator.

read bio
team member headshot

Hayden Watkins

Legislative & Policy Co-Coordinator & Board Member

Hayden Watkins (he/him) serves as the Kentucky Student Voice Team's Legislative and Policy Co-Coordinator, helps produce KSVT’s podcast, and is a student researcher. He is also a member of KSVT's Board.

read bio
team member headshot

Kira Pusateri

Get Schooled Executive Director

Kira Pusateri (she/her) is the Executive Producer of the “Get Schooled” Podcast.

read bio
team member headshot

Minhal Nazeer

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Research Co-Coordinator & Board Member

Minhal Nazeer is the co-lead of the Kentucky Student Voice Team's Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Research and Policy work and a KSVT Board Member.

read bio
team member headshot

Norah Laughter

The New Edu Associate Editor & Senior Advisor

Norah Laughter is an Associate Editor of The New Edu education journalism news service, a senior advisor to the KSVT, a 2022 graduate of Warren County High School and an undergraduate at Yale University.

read bio
team member headshot

Raima Dutt

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Research Co-Coordinator & Board Member

Raima Dutt (she/her) is a co-lead for the team's Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Research and Policy work, a member of the Board, and an analyst for the KSVT's Race to Learn Study, based on over 10,000 Kentucky middle and high school students' responses to a survey on race, ethnicity, and school climate.

read bio
team member headshot

Ramona Pierce

The New Edu Submissions Editor and Student Action Network for Equity Liaison

Ramona Pierce works with storytelling facilitators and student writers to edit submitted pieces for The New Edu newsroom and serves as a connection between the overlapping work of KSVT and the Student Action Network for Equity, where she helps review funding requests from student-led organizations across the country.

read bio
team member headshot

Sara Falluji

Associate Editor, The New Edu; School Climate Audit Co-Coordinator; Board Member

Sara Falluji (any pronouns) is an associate editor of The New Edu, the Kentucky Student Voice Team's education journalism service, a producer for the “Get Schooled” Podcast, a school climate audit coordinator and coach, and on the board of the KSVT.

read bio
team member headshot

Spandana Pavuluri

Research Coordinator & Board Member

Spandana Pavuluri (she/her) is the Kentucky Student Voice Team's General Research Coordinator and a member of the board of directors.

read bio
team member headshot

Tala Saad

Legislative & Policy Co-Coordinator, Student Action Network for Equity Liaison, & Board Member

Tala Saad (she/her) is the Policy Coordinator and Student Action Network for Educational Equity (SANE) Liaison for the Kentucky Student Voice Team and a member of the board.

read bio
team member headshot

Lauren Hill

Teaching and Learning Partner

Lauren Hill is an English teacher at Leestown Middle School, working to support student voices for The New EDU

read bio
team member headshot

Abraham Garcia-Romero

Board Member & Senior Advisor

Abraham Garcia-Romero (he/him) serves on the Kentucky Student Voice Team's board of directors.

read bio
team member headshot

Arivumani Srivastava

Development Partner

Arivumani Srivastava (he/him) is the Development Partner, a KSVT Board Member, and a recent graduate of the Gatton Academy and Greenwood High School from Warren County and an undergraduate at Pomona College.

read bio
team member headshot

Beth Malcom

Board Member

Beth Malcom is a KSVT Board Member and the outgoing President & CEO of the Kentucky YMCA Youth Association.

read bio
team member headshot

Cindy Baumert

Board Member

Cindy Baumert (she/her) is a Kentucky Student Voice Team Board Member and long-time champion of its work.

read bio
team member headshot

Connor Flick

Board Member & Senior Advisor

Connor is a Board Member and worked on the KSVT Coping With Covid project conducting quantitative and qualitative analysis.

read bio
team member headshot

Emanuelle Sippy

Board Member

Emanuelle Sippy (she/her) is a board member of the Kentucky Student Voice Team and formerly co-directed the organization for three years.

read bio
team member headshot

Krasimir Staykov

Board Member & Senior Advisor

Krasimir Staykov (he/him) is a senior advisor of the Kentucky Student Voice Team.

read bio
team member headshot

Solyana Mesfin

Board Member & Senior Advisor

Solyana Mesfin (she/her) is a board member of the Kentucky Student Voice Team.

read bio
team member headshot

Emma Nesmith

Senior Advisor

Emma Nesmith is a Senior Advisor to the Kentucky Student Voice Team and former Get Schooled podcast Executive Director.

read bio
team member headshot

Krupa Hegde

Senior Advisor

Krupa advanced the geographic reach of KSVT, specifically in Western Kentucky, along with conducting school climate research and presenting to statewide organizations.

read bio
team member headshot

Pragya Upreti

Senior Advisor

Pragya Upreti (she/her) is a senior advisor at the Kentucky Student Voice Team and an undergraduate at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill who has been leading various projects and initiatives at the state and national levels since she was a sophomore at Lafayette High School in Lexington, Kentucky.

read bio
team member headshot

Sadie Bograd

Senior Advisor

Sadie Bograd (she/her) is a senior advisor of the Kentucky Student Voice Team and formerly served as the Editor-In-Chief of the Student Voice Forum. She is a 2021 graduate of Paul Laurence Dunbar High School in Lexington and an undergraduate at Yale University. She joined the Team in middle school and has been deeply involved ever since.

read bio
team member headshot

Zoë Jenkins

Senior Advisor

Zoë Jenkins (she/her) is a board member of the Kentucky Student Voice Team.

read bio
team member headshot

Daniela DiGiacomo

Senior Research Partner

Daniela Kruel DiGiacomo is an Assistant Professor at the University of Kentucky.

read bio

Cumulative Donors

*Donor list includes cumulative amounts since the Kentucky Student Voice Team became independent in January 2021.

The Kentucky Student Voice Team is honored to be fiscally sponsored by the Blue Grass Community Foundation.​

$100,000 and Above

$100,000 and Above

$50,000 and Above

$50,000 and Above

$25,000 and Above

$25,000 and Above

$10,000 and Above

$10,000 and Above

$5,000 and Above

$5,000 and Above

$1,000 and Above

$1,000 and Above

$250 and Above

$250 and Above

Up to $250

Up to $250
Lisa Adkins

Lisa Adkins

Hiatt Allen

Hiatt Allen

Kay Augustine

Kay Augustine

Justin Bathon

Justin Bathon

Cynthia Baumert

Cynthia Baumert

Rachel and Bruce Belin

Rachel and Bruce Belin

Ruth Belin

Ruth Belin

Rania Belmadani

Rania Belmadani

Ben & Jerry's Foundation

Ben & Jerry's Foundation

Brigitte Blom

Brigitte Blom

Judith Bradley

Judith Bradley

Andrew Brennen

Andrew Brennen

Melody Brooks

Melody Brooks

Harvey and Sondy Burg

Harvey and Sondy Burg

Lydia Burns

Lydia Burns

Sandra Noble Canon

Sandra Noble Canon

Chan Zuckerberg Initiative

Chan Zuckerberg Initiative

Colorectal Surgical and Gastroenterology Associates

Colorectal Surgical and Gastroenterology Associates

Sarah Dewberry

Sarah Dewberry

William Earp

William Earp

Education 21C Foundation

Education 21C Foundation

Education Justice Research & Organizing Collaborative

Education Justice Research & Organizing Collaborative

Raphael Finkel

Raphael Finkel

Gentry Fitch

Gentry Fitch

Sarah Ellyn Gilbert

Sarah Ellyn Gilbert

Krupa Hegde

Krupa Hegde

Institute for Citizens and Scholars

Institute for Citizens and Scholars

Kei Kawashima-Ginsberg

Kei Kawashima-Ginsberg

Kentucky Association of School Superintendents

Kentucky Association of School Superintendents

Kentucky Partnership for Families and Children

Kentucky Partnership for Families and Children

Joshua Komarek

Joshua Komarek

Lift a Life

Lift a Life

National Geographic

National Geographic

National Urban League

National Urban League

Robert Nesmith

Robert Nesmith

Sharon Nesmith

Sharon Nesmith

Dominique Olbert

Dominique Olbert

Dennis Pearce

Dennis Pearce

Project AWARE

Project AWARE

Jennifer Pusateri

Jennifer Pusateri

Rice University

Rice University

Rona Roberts

Rona Roberts

STRIVE Together

STRIVE Together

Schott Foundation for Public Education

Schott Foundation for Public Education

Seek Common Ground/New Venture Fund

Seek Common Ground/New Venture Fund

Zachariah Sippy

Zachariah Sippy

Strada Fund

Strada Fund

Barbara Sutherland

Barbara Sutherland

Rita Swan

Rita Swan

Laney Taylor

Laney Taylor

Teach for America Reinvention Lab

Teach for America Reinvention Lab

Thriving Youth

Thriving Youth

William Trent

William Trent

Vela Fund

Vela Fund

Walton Family Fund

Walton Family Fund

World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh

World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh