Highly Skilled Educator

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The Highly Skilled Educator program was introduced by the Kentucky Department of Education in 2004 as a way to aid underperforming schools by sending educators of a higher skill set into the schools to help teachers and administration. The program grew out of the Distinguished Educator Program that was established in 1992. This program saw its origins in the Kentucky Education Reform Act of 1990. [1]


According to the Kentucky Department of Education website, eligibility for becoming a Highly Skilled Educator involves...[2]

  • Kentucky certification as an educator
  • a minimum of five years of successful experience as a teacher or educational administrator
  • involvement in teaching or administration within the last three years
  • current full-time employment with a Kentucky school district


Highly skilled educators are placed in underperforming schools to work with school teachers and administration in hopes of improving practices that will make the school successful. HSE's are eligible to work for up to three consecutive years in their position. [3]


After an applicant is selected, they are required to attend three to four weeks of training intended to verify that they possess the skill set needed to perform their job function. This training takes place between July and August. Additional training is held every 6-8 weeks.


Highly Skilled Educators (HSE) receive 135% of their current salary. As of 2008, the salary for a first year HSE caps out at $100,000. HSE's are compensated out of their home district, regardless of what district they are working in after certification. The extra 35% of salary is not calculated into retirement benefits.

How Effective Is The Highly Skilled Educator Program?

A study was conducted in 2006 by the General Assembly's Program Review and Investigations Committee. The study followed 7 Highly Skilled Educators and observed them as well as analyzed statistical data and test results. The study concluded that schools with a HSE on site outperformed schools without. [4]



  1. KDE staff note accessed September 9, 2008
  2. KDE Highly Skilled Educator Press Release accessed September 9, 2008
  3. Highly Skilled Educator Program Review, LRC websiteaccessed September 10, 2008
  4. Highly Skilled Educator Program Review, LRC websiteaccessed September 10, 2008