To celebrate our 50th anniversary, we are going to feature important people and events from our history. And there is only one person to start with; Dr. Don Butler, Bowling Green – Warren County Community Education’s first director!
Originally from Mason County, KY Dr. Butler was hired in July of 1973 after completing his Ph.D. in Community Education and Educational Administration at Michigan State University. Dr. Butler was the first full-time Community Education director in Kentucky and was the Founding Charter President of the Kentucky Community Education Association in 1974. Dr. Butler went on the become the “Father of Community Education” throughout the Commonwealth.
Looking back on our 50th anniversary, Dr. Butler reflected, “Did we achieve all our goals back then? No, but we did create a vision for the future of Community Education here and across Kentucky. So many people worked tirelessly to achieve where Community Education Bowling Green and Warren County is in 2023 – still evolving to changes, and making a difference in the lives of children, families, adults, and seniors.”
Dr. Butler still drops by our offices to share stories and encourage our staff. Thank you, Dr. Butler, for all you have done for our community!
Our next Community Education alumni profile is Ryan Dearbone. After leaving Community Education, Ryan worked in Philanthropy at WKU for several years and is now an Assistant Professor of Broadcasting. Originally from Hopkinsville, Ryan has his Broadcasting degree and Master’s degree in Communications from WKU. Ryan, his wife Bonita, and daughters Echo and Legacy live in Bowling Green.
Ryan’s roots with Community Education go back over 16 years. “While I was on staff I ran Camp Extreme, the before-school program, and helped with media, marketing and fundraising.” Prior to working at Community Ed, Ryan worked as a Multimedia Journalist in Bowling Green, Hopkinsville, KY/Clarksville, TN, and Lexington, KY. When he left to work at WKU Ryan found a new way to be involved with our mission. “I have been an Advisory Council member and currently serve on the Board where I was the Chair for the past two years.”
Ryan’s outside interests include his family, watching and playing sports (Go Raiders!), running, music, TV, and relaxing. Ryan also currently serves as President of the Bowling Green-Warren County Chapter of the NAACP.