Friday, August 27, 2010

Bob Sexton

Statement from the Prichard Committee
for Academic Excellence
August 27, 2010

It is with great sadness that the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence announces the passing of its executive director, Dr. Robert F. Sexton of Lexington.

Bob had led the Prichard Committee since its creation in 1983, building the grassroots organization into a nationally recognized model of citizen engagement on behalf of improving education at all levels. The committee will honor his legacy by continuing the important work that framed his career of public service.

A Louisville native, Bob held a bachelor's degree from Yale University and a Ph.D. in history from the University of Washington. He was a Visiting Scholar at Harvard University and at the Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University and had been awarded honorary degrees from Berea College, Georgetown College, Bellarmine University and Eastern Kentucky University.

His many civic contributions included serving as a member of the board that created the Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning in Lexington and on the boards of the Kentucky Long-Term Policy Research Center and the New Opportunity School for Women. He also was a founder of Kentucky's Governor's Scholars Program and of the Kentucky Center for Public Issues.

His national board service included Editorial Projects in Education (publishers of Education Week and Teacher Magazine), the Education Trust, the Center for Teaching Quality, the Education Commission of the States and the American Association for Higher Education. He also served on advisory groups for several national foundations.

Bob, 68, died Thursday night, August 26, 2010, at the University of Kentucky Medical Center following a long battle with cancer. He is survived by his wife, Pam, and children Rebecka Sexton, Robert Sexton, Ouita Michel (Chris), Paige Papka Richardson, Perry Papka, granddaughters Willa Dru and Lily Kathryn and the Prichard Committee staff. Memorial plans are pending.


  1. Bob has been a true inspiration for those who advocate for public education. He did it the right way - passionate words based on facts. His efforts will be felt for generations, and his work will continue to live on through the others he influenced. God bless him for the courage and the fight. He will truly be missed.

  2. Fannie Louise MadduxAugust 28, 2010 at 10:46 AM

    There is no way to estimate Bob's influence on the lives of Kentucky's children. His death leaves a void which means all of us must redouble our efforts to improve public education in Kentucky.

  3. While I was a graduate student and early professional at the University of Kentucky, Bob was a mentor and a colleague. His inspirational work in helping move the Commonwealth's educational system toward and through real reform is a testament to his strong will, sincere heart, and good nature.


Updates and data on Kentucky education!