The Board

Jamie Link Photo

Jamie Link, Chair

Secretary of the Kentucky Education & Labor Cabinet

Jamie Link was appointed Secretary of the Kentucky Education & Labor Cabinet effective July 1, 2021.

Link has been tapped to lead several successful public-sector initiatives throughout his career.

Most recently, in January 2020 Gov. Andy Beshear asked him to serve as executive director of the Kentucky Communications Network Authority – the agency responsible for overseeing the completion of the KentuckyWired broadband expansion project. The project is slated for completion in October.

Link has previously served as deputy secretary of both the Kentucky Finance & Administration and Tourism, Arts and Heritage cabinets. He was appointed to serve as CEO of the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in 2010 before becoming executive director of the Kentucky Horse Park.

Additionally, he has served as deputy chief of staff for former Kentucky Gov. Steven L. Beshear, commissioner of the Kentucky Department for Facilities Management, and has worked as a finance director and as a project coordinator at the University of Kentucky.

Robin Kinney Photo

Robin Fields Kinney

Interim Commissioner for Kentucky Department of Education

The Kentucky Board of Education named Robin Fields Kinney as interim state commissioner of education during a special meeting on Sept. 14.

Kinney has served as an associate commissioner in the Office of Finance and Operations for the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE). She assumed her role as interim commissioner on Sept. 30, 2023.

Kinney first joined KDE from 2003 to 2008, and then rejoined in 2015. She previously served as interim commissioner for a short period in December of 2019 following the departure of former Commissioner Wayne Lewis.

Kinney's prior work experience also includes legal practice in Kentucky and Florida, and public service as general counsel of the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development and deputy secretary of the Kentucky Finance and Administration Cabinet.

Kinney received a bachelor's degree in political science from the University of Kentucky (UK) and a juris doctorate from UK's College of Law. She is a licensed attorney in Kentucky and Florida.

Kinney and her husband, Scott, reside in Frankfort. Her daughter, Megan, is a teacher in Shelby County Public Schools.

Aaron Thompson Photo

Dr. Aaron Thompson

President of the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education

Aaron Thompson is a nationally recognized leader in higher education with a focus on policy, student success and organizational leadership and design. He serves as Executive Vice President and Chief Academic Officer for the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education and as Professor of Sociology in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at Eastern Kentucky University. He recently served as Interim President of Kentucky State University. Dr. Thompson holds a Ph.D. in Sociology in areas of Organizational Behavior and Race and Gender Relations.

His leadership experience spans 27 years across higher education, business and numerous non-profit boards. Thompson has researched, taught and consulted in areas of diversity, leadership, ethics, multicultural families, race and ethnic relations, student success, first-year students, retention, cultural competence and organizational design throughout his career.

As a highly sought after national speaker, Thompson has presented more than 800 workshops, seminars and invited lectures in areas of race and gender diversity, living an unbiased life, overcoming obstacles to gain success, creating a school environment for academic success, cultural competence, workplace interaction, leadership, organizational goal setting, building relationships, the first-year seminar, and a variety of other topics. He continues to serve as a consultant to educational institutions (elementary, secondary and postsecondary), corporations, non-profit organizations, police departments and other governmental agencies.

Diana Barber Photo

Diana Barber

Executive Vice President and COO, Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority

Diana currently is serving as Interim Executive Director and CEO for the Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority (KHEAA) and its sister organization the Kentucky Higher Education Student Loan Corporation (KHESLC), the Asset Resolution Corporation (ARC) and Kentucky’s Affordable Prepaid Tuition (KAPT). Diana Barber has been General Counsel for KHEAA/KHESLC since 2008.

Prior to her current position, Diana served as Assistant General Counsel for KHEAA/KHESLC from 1993 to 2008. Before coming to KHEAA/KHESLC, Diana worked for the Appalachian Research and Defense Fund. Diana received her J.D. from the University of Kentucky and a B.A in Economics from Indiana University.

Eric Friedlander Photo

Eric Friedlander

Secretary for Cabinet for Health and Family Services

Eric Friedlander was the Chief of Resilience and Community Services for Louisville Metro Government. In April 2017, Mayor Greg Fischer appointed Eric Friedlander as Louisville Metro’s first Chief Resilience Officer. Friedlander led the city’s efforts to help prepare for, withstand, and bounce back from chronic stresses and acute shocks. He also led the agency responsible for anti-poverty programs for Metro Louisville like Neighborhood Place, Meals on Wheels and other collaborative programs with partners ranging from Metro Untied Way to the Coalition on the Homeless.

Prior to his work in Louisville Metro Government, Friedlander served for over 30 years in Kentucky State Government most recently as the Deputy Secretary of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services. During his tenure with the Cabinet, Friedlander served in a wide variety of roles, both acting and appointed. These roles ranged from leading the Commission for Children with Special Health Care needs, to Family Resource and Youth Services Centers to the Department for Behavioral Health, Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities, the Office of the Inspector General and several others.

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