Solyana Mesfin

Published: 8/2/2022 3:57 AM

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 the Commonwealth.

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 future.

“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 Kentucky.

“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 curriculum.

“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.

​Stacy Ball
Office of the Commissioner 
300 Sower Blvd., 5th Floor
Frankfort, KY 40601
(502) 892-6154 Ext. 4802

Sloyana Mesfin Picture
  • Normal Font Size