Morehead set to open second state dual-credit academy

Mackenzie Mathews

Plans are underway at Morehead State University to establish Craft Academy, a dual-credit residential high school similar to WKU’s Gatton Academy.

The academy served as a model for Craft due to Gatton’s designation as one of the most successful high schools in the U.S., Morehead president Wayne Andrews said during the announcement of the academy.

“We look at Gatton Academy as a marvelous example of a specialized school that really gives students their full potential,” Roger McNeil, dean of Morehead’s College of Science and Technology, said.

Kentucky Senate President Robert Stivers had firsthand experience at Gatton through his daughter’s enrollment. He said at the announcement he wants to expand the experiences students receive at Gatton to students across the state. 

The state is also hitting a milestone by being the first to have two state residential schools that focus on science technology, engineering and mathematics, according to Julia Roberts, the director of Gatton Academy.

Though plans may be too new to tell if Craft will offer competition for the academy, Roberts said it is still important to maintain strong marketing techniques.

“What I am hoping is that it simply is a way to offer more opportunities for advanced students with a high interest in science technology, engineering and mathematics,” Roberts said. “I think Kentucky has lots of students who could thrive in such a school.”

Morehead hopes to mold Craft into an academic success comparable to Gatton and other dual-credit schools across the nation. Staff members are traveling around the country to similar schools, including Gatton, in order to find successful models for the institution.

McNeil worked with a school of similar stature in Louisiana and taught several students from Gatton at Morehead.

“These are extraordinary individuals–highly motivated, gifted and possess a lot of skills that we all are challenged to help them reach that full potential,” he said.

Like Gatton, Craft will be dedicated to meeting the challenges that come with bringing gifted Kentucky students up to their complete potential. Morehead is looking for aspects to set Craft apart from Gatton and other dual-credit schools.

Creativity will be a major piece of Craft’s program. The faculty wants to build an environment that will foster students’ development of individual abilities and promote entrepreneurial experiences, McNeil said.

“In eastern Kentucky, we particularly need to help develop our economy, so this might be a way for us to grow our entrepreneurs,” he said.

Craft Academy will open in August 2015 with 60 high school juniors. The school received $2.3 million from state legislators to establish the institution.