Student Ex Officio Member
Solyana Mesfin of
Louisville is the first student to serve on the Kentucky Board of Education.
She plans to use her position as a bridge between students and policymakers in
Mesfin, 16, is a
junior at Eastern High School (Jefferson County) in the Family and Consumer
Management career pathway. Within the school, she has engaged in many
conversations with her peers on topics ranging from racial bias and equity to
distinctions between upper and lower classmen.
Her mission for her two-year term is to provide
students across the state with the courage and opportunity to lead a successful
“I am eager to take on this role because
I've seen and heard some of the struggles and hardships of my peers. I have
also seen and heard their successes and what they think is beneficial. This position
will allow me to bring up impactful information to the board, so together we
can work to improve the overall educational experience for all students across
“My biggest desire is to improve something
so valuable that is most of the time taken for granted by many.”
Mesfin was born in
Virginia to Almaz G. Hagos and Mesfin G. Nigussie, both immigrants from
Ethiopia. She has two younger brothers, Samuel, a freshman at the J Graham
Brown School, and Heyab, an 8th-grader at Crosby Middle School.
When she was 11, Mesfin
moved to Ethiopia for middle school and attended Greek Community School in
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, a school based on the Cambridge School system and
“After my middle
school years, my mother, two brothers and I moved to Louisville because of our
extended family and the better education provided,” she said. “We found a
community in Louisville and the educational advantages were essential for me
emerging into high school and creating a foundation for my future. My father
remains in Ethiopia for his job.”
Mesfin is a
second-year member of the Kentucky Department of Education’s (KDE)
Commissioner’s Student Advisory Council. On that council, she works alongside
other student members to advise the commissioner and the KDE leadership team on
issues relevant to high school students across the Commonwealth.
She is a member of the
Prichard Committee Student Voice Team, the Muhammad Ali Center Council of
Students, the National Alliance on Mental Illness Louisville Youth Advisory
Council and the National Honor Society. Mesfin also is secretary for the Black
Student Union, vice president of finance for FCCLA (Family, Career and
Community Leaders of America), an academic tutor at Hite Elementary school, a Sources
of Strength facilitator, a Science Olympiad competitor and is an honorary volunteer
for the Tigray Community of Kentucky (Ethiopian Community Center).
Mesfin's term on the
KBE expires on June 30, 2022.