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MODEL: Many great students, ONE great school!




            RICHMOND, Ky. – An award-winning educator who was inducted four years ago into the Eastern Kentucky University Hall of Distinguished Alumni is returning to campus to lead Model Laboratory School.

John Williamson      John Williamson, a 1990 EKU graduate, has been selected to serve as superintendent of the

Commonwealth’s only laboratory school. He will transition into the post over the next several weeks.       For the past six years, Williamson has held leadership positions with The College Board, a notfor-profit organization that connects students to college success and opportunity. Most recently he served as vice president of AP (Advanced Placement) curriculum, instruction and assessment. From 2007 until 2012, the Pikeville native served as superintendent of Fort Thomas Independent Schools in northern Kentucky after serving as assistant

superintendent for teaching and learning there from 1999 to 2007.

            During his tenure as superintendent, Fort Thomas was the highest performing K-12 school district in the Commonwealth and completed a $20 million high school renovation project and a $15 million elementary school construction project. In 2006, he was one of just 13 nationally to receive the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development Emerging Leader Award. Two years later, he was recognized as one of 40 Up and Coming Leaders Under

40 by the Business Courier of Greater Cincinnati. He was inducted into EKU’s Hall of Distinguished Alumni in 2014.

            “A great school deserves a great leader, and John Williamson has the broad experience and the passion for excellence that will take Model Laboratory School to even greater heights,” said EKU President Michael Benson. “Having watched with pride as his career blossomed, we are delighted to welcome such a distinguished educator to our leadership team, and confident that the best days are ahead for Model.”  

            Williamson is excited to return to his home state, his alma mater and a school that has earned national recognition for excellence, ranking among the top 2 percent of high schools nationwide, according to Newsweek, and always among the state leaders on various measures.         He said his first priority would be to listen to Model teachers, staff, parents and students.

            “We’re about teaching students in our care and providing a world-class education,” Williamson said, “but at the same time, making Model a center of innovation for the region, state and even the nation. This should be a place people come from all over the country to learn about best teaching practices and strategies. I look forward to helping lead educational innovation at EKU and Model Lab in these challenging, yet exciting times by identifying and implementing practices and programs that provide even greater opportunities for student success and professional learning.”

            Williamson said he would work to better integrate Model with every academic college of the University and strengthen partnerships between the school and the K-12 educational community throughout the region and Commonwealth.

            Model’s new superintendent earned a bachelor’s degree in English from EKU before going on to earn a master’s degree in English and Rank I in superintendent, supervisor of K-12 instruction and principal from Morehead State University. He later added an Ed.M. degree in educational leadership from Columbia University.

            After graduating from EKU, Williamson joined the faculty at Johnson Central (Kentucky) High School, where he served as an English and language arts teacher and as coordinator of public relations, writing resource teacher, assistant principal and curriculum director. Before moving to Fort Thomas, he also served as a curriculum specialist with the

Kentucky Department of Education and director of instruction, teaching and learning with Montgomery County Schools.

            “I was only able to have the career that I’ve had because of the quality of education I received at EKU and elsewhere,” Williamson said. “Now, I want to give back to the region, and share what I have learned.

            “It’s good to be home.”

            Established more than a century ago on the Eastern campus, Model Laboratory School educates 725 students from pre-K through 12th grade while providing field experiences for EKU students and demonstrating evidence-based strategies. Laura Dedic serves as director of the secondary level and Carrie Ballinger of the elementary level (N-5).



Genuine engagement of communities and families is essential to driving continuous improvement in our schools. In order to gather data for school improvement, we are asking all Model Laboratory School parents to complete a very short survey about their child’s school. The survey takes about 5 minutes.

Please click on the link below to provide us with your feedback. If you have children at different levels of our school (Elementary, Middle & High - combined), please complete a survey for each. The survey window is open now and will close on November 14.

Elementary Parent Surveys

Climate & Culture Parent Survey Elementary


Middle & High Parent Surveys

Climate & Culture Parent Survey Middle/High School

Thank you for your time and support!


Model Taskforce: Themes & FAQs

Model Taskforce website

See the Original September Letter Here. Link

Model Loboratory Taskforce Townhall Presentation 

Announcement of Model Laboratory School Steering and Drafing Committees

Wednesday, November 15, 2017 the EKU Board of Regents heard the Model Task Force recommendations and authorized the University to further explore a public charter school application. The approved recommendation included the appointment of Steering and Drafting Committees to produce and initiate a plan for a thriving, stable Model Laboratory School. The primary charge for these committees is to:

  • develop the mission, vision, and strategic plan,
  • implement a comprehensive fundraising campaign, and
  • draft the charter application.

Although there is a timeline in place which calls for all tasks to be completed by April 1, 2017, we recognize that this timeline is very ambitious. The possibility exists that a charter application could be submitted within the current fiscal year; however, we are mindful that the timeline is subject to change. Most likely, an approved charter contract would go into effect in Fall 2019. 

With that in mind:

  • Current Model students will remain enrolled.  The current population of Model have protected enrollment per the Board of Regents resolution, whether or not the charter application is approved.  However, the impact for out of district students is still not clear. 
  • For Fall 2018, screening and enrollment for Pre-K and Kindergarten will follow the same timeline as previous years. New students in all grades will be added according to the enrollment lists as has been the long-standing practice at Model. 
  • The after-school program will continue as it has in previous years.

The Steering and Drafting Committees are made up of a combination of parents, Model faculty and administration, and EKU faculty and administration, several of whom are alumni of Model Laboratory School. This group will work diligently to represent the perspectives of all members of the Model community.  You can provide direct feedback to the committees through email to or by reaching out to committee members directly. We are committed to communicating our progress throughout the coming weeks. Please visit the Model Taskforce Website,, for information presented at town hall meetings and at the Board of Regents meeting in November.  

Committee members are:


Laura Dedic, Model alumna

Travis Marcum

Rodney Rhodus

Betina Gardner, Chair

Brooke Bowman Mitchel, Model alumna

Scott Johnson

Bethany Miller, Model alumna

Tanlee Wasson



John Williamson (Model Lab Administration)

Laura Dedic (Model Lab Administration)

Carrie Ballinger (Model Lab Administration), Model alumna

Travis Marcum (Model Faculty, Middle School)

Rodney Rhodus (Model Faculty, High School)

Charlotte Smith (Model Faculty, Elementary)


Sherry Powers (Dean)

Richard Day (College of Education)

Ann Burns (College of Education)

April Blakely (College of Education)

Betina Gardner (Dean, Parent), Chair

Dana Bush (Chair, Early Childhood Education Rep)

Emily Watters (Finance & Budget)

Bethany Miller (Institutional Effectiveness & Research)

Tanlee Wasson (Institutional Effectiveness & Research)


David McFaddin (Regional Engagement, Stewardship, & Government Relations)


Model Laboratory School Mission Statement

To teach, to learn, to help others teach and learn.

The mission of Model Laboratory School in collaboration with Eastern Kentucky University’s education programs is to provide an environment where faculty and staff can inspire students by challenging them through traditional and innovative strategies.  Consistent with that mission, Model Laboratory School, a department of the College of Education, fulfills several purposes including:  (1) demonstrating and implementing best practices in Pre-K through grade 12 education; (2) offering clinical experiences for pre and in-service educators and related professionals; (3) providing a setting for research and curriculum development; and (4) providing quality professional development for school practitioners.

The Exemplar is now on SALE!

Download Yearbook Order Forms for Check orders Here

Purchase with Credit Card HERE

  • 2013-14/2014-15 Yearbook is $60
  • 2015-16/2016-17 Yearbook is $75

Thank you for supporting Model      Model Friends Club

Please click here if unable to view video.

2017-18 HS Course Catalogue295.84 KB
2017-2018 Elementary Supply List2.02 MB
Model Taskforce: Themes & FAQs366.29 KB
Model Taskforce Townhall Presentation (11-27-17)247 KB
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