Learn and Grow in Northern Kentucky

Cincinnati region places a high value on education, from cradle to career.

By
Emily Lansdell
On Monday, May 10, 2021 - 16:46
northern kentucky

Talent fuels a vibrant economy, and in Northern Kentucky, residents enjoy access to high-quality public and private schools and a range of higher education options.

Having those options is a benefit for both current residents and newcomers, says Gene Kirchner, a former school superintendent and now senior vice president and COO of the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce.

“You have to grow talent,” Kirchner says. “From a business perspective, it's important to know that when you’re thinking of locating to a region, high-quality educational opportunities exist there. That can definitely be said of Northern Kentucky.”

The region boasts 16 public school districts and 40 private schools that offer top-notch educational experiences.

And when it comes to higher education, students are met with numerous options in and around the area, including Northern Kentucky University (NKU), University of Cincinnati, Thomas More University, Xavier University in Cincinnati, and Gateway Community & Technical College’s three regional campus locations.

Plus, the Cincinnati region consistently ranks high for college graduates, including coming in first in SmartAsset’s 2019 and 2020 Best Cities for New College Grads lists.

Excelling Through Public, Private Schools

Products of Northern Kentucky’s schools can be seen throughout the region. For example, Carey Sanders, a vice president and commercial banking director at Fifth Third Bank, attended one of Northern Kentucky’s 38 Catholic schools available through the Diocese of Covington.

Sanders found that smaller class sizes and faith-based learning have benefited her children and supported her oldest son’s challenges with ADHD.

“I really valued and enjoyed my experience growing up and wanted to give that to my kids,” Sanders says. “It's been a real blessing to us.”

Jason Payne, managing director and senior vice president at Republic Bank, says his two teenagers have had positive  experiences in both private and public schools in the region.

The collaboration between the schools makes for highly rated and varied educational options, Payne says.

“We’re fortunate that we have had the luxury of going to a very good public school system and a very good private school,” Payne says. “For anyone who moves to this area, they will quickly notice that education is a strong suit. Schools are well  supported and work very closely together. That spreads those best practices across the education system, whether that’s public or private.”

northern kentucky
Thomas More University

Working Together in Northern Kentucky

This collaboration is furthered through organizations such as the Northern Kentucky Cooperative for Educational Services and the Northern Kentucky Education Council, Kirchner says.

Both groups strive to elevate educational attainment across the region through professional development and coordinating resources.

Schools such as the Ignite Institute located in Erlanger, KY, are born from these initiatives. This nontraditional public school focuses on careers in STEAM disciplines (science, technology, engineering, art and math) and is open to students from across the region.

“School choice is a real thing here,” Kirchner says. “If you want urban, we have schools in our urban core. If you want rural, we have large county high schools. And then, there are school districts that are smaller and tied to individual communities. If faith-based instruction is important to you, there are parochial schools in nearly every community.

"There are very few places in the country that provide such a wide array of educational choices.”

northern kentucky
Thomas More University

Colleges Offer A Bright Future

After students graduate high school, there are also outstanding post-secondary opportunities throughout the region.

As an MBA graduate of Thomas More University in Crestview Hills, KY, Payne validates the fact that regional higher education options are an attractive benefit for working professionals and business development.

In staffing, Payne says that communication skills and a strong work ethic are hallmarks of his employees who attended one of the region’s many colleges. NKU, University of Cincinnati, and Thomas More University all boast robust graduate programs.

Students can also pursue industry-specific skills at Gateway Community & Technical College’s three regional campus locations. NKU, Gateway and Thomas More also partner with local public and private schools.

“We have really strong partnerships here. We have to work together,” Kirchner says. “We want to ensure that all students have career exploration and work-based learning opportunities by connecting the business community with our schools. Those who are considering this region want to know that there will be an abundance of educational opportunities for their children and themselves.”

Want to learn more about opportunities in Northern Kentucky? Check out the latest edition of Livability Northern Kentucky.