Elisabeth Jensen, President and Executive Director
President and Executive Director Elisabeth Jensen established The Race For Education with the support of Mr. and Mrs. Bill Casner of WinStar Farm. She went to Aiglon College in Villars, Switzerland, graduated from the Tobe-Coburn School and attended F.I.T. City University of New York, Ms. Jensen has served in an executive management capacity for several Fortune 500 companies, including The Walt Disney Company, where she received a leadership award in 1998. In 2009 Elisabeth founded the Starting Gate, and afterschool literacy program, currently serving students in Kentucky and New York. She is a graduate of the 2011 Emerge program and has been appointed by Governor Steve Beshear to State Advisory Panel for Exceptional Children. Her home base is in Lexington, KY, with son, Will.
Melanie Hopkins, Controller
Mandy Otis, Starting Gate Executive Director
Mandy has a varied background which includes experience in both the public and private sectors. Most recently in her career she performed constituent services for Congressman Ben Chandler and outreach for the Kentucky Office of Homeland Security. She is a graduate of Georgetown College as well as The Patterson School at the University of Kentucky. She has extensive experience in grant writing, research, and federal funds administration. She lives in Lexington with her husband Jason and her sons Isaac and Landon.
Jacqueline McNaughton, Starting Gate Program Coordinator, Kentucky
Jacqueline is originally from Chile and lived in Venezuela for five years. She is bilingual and moved to the United States in 1980. She has lived in Lexington since 1996 and worked as a paraeducator for six years at Maxwell Elementary School’s Spanish Immersion Program. Jacqueline fell in love with the teaching profession and returned to school to earn her B.A. in Elementary Education from the University of Kentucky and continue working with Fayette County Public Schools. She has two sons, both high school graduates living in Lexington.
Board of Directors
Selection Committee Chairman
John Ward, Vice President Emeritus and Professor of English Emeritus, Centre College
Gail Peters Beitz
Johnny T.L. Jones III