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2019 Dupree Award

Laurel County School’s Dr. Doug Bennett receives top superintendent award at state gathering of education leaders

Kentucky School Advocate
March 2019
Dupree Award winner
In 1970, the family of the late London Independent board member F.L. Dupree Sr. partnered with the Kentucky School Boards Association in honoring an exemplary school leader by sponsoring the first Dupree Outstanding Superintendent Award. Each year, the winner of the annual award is selected by a panel of previous recipients. With the presentation of the 50th Dupree Award this year, the honor returned to the hometown of its namesake. 
 
KSBA Executive Director Kerri Schelling (left) and KSBA President David Webster (right)
present the 2019 Dupree Award to Laurel County Schools Superintendent Dr. Doug Bennett.

Dr. Doug Bennett of Laurel County Schools received the top superintendent award from KSBA during its annual conference Feb. 22-24 in Louisville. Described as having a “laser-like focus” on student engagement and instructional programs, Bennett is responsible for overseeing considerable improvements to operations and outcomes since stepping into his role in 2012.

Bennett’s nomination noted his knowledge of school finance and operational efficiency as well as a strong reliance on empirical research in driving decision making. Dr. David Johnson, executive director of the SESC Educational Cooperative and a retired superintendent, said of Bennett, “His is a voice of deliberate and careful thought with a long-term perspective. He shows great courage in his willingness to speak to controversial or sensitive issues for the purpose of expressing what he believes to be best for schools and students, even if contrary to the popular flow of ideas.”

District programs and initiatives attributed to Bennett include the formation of a Superintendent’s Student Advisory Committee, district eLearning Academy, Aspiring Administrator program and a new principal academy. During his tenure, Bennett has made community engagement a priority by creating a district public information officer position, a district mobile app and a district newspaper. 

In accepting the award, Bennett pointed to the collective effort required of district success. 

“I think most superintendents would agree that great things don’t happen by accident,” he said. “It takes a great team of teachers, support staff, administrators and board members who are all focused and driven to do what’s best for kids.” 

Laurel County Board of Education’s longest-serving member, Ed Jones, pointed to Bennett’s character as a driving force behind his success as a superintendent.  

“His morals, values and focus are on point and I can count on him whenever adversity lands upon us,” Jones said. “As the demands of educational priorities continue to evolve and change, Dr. Bennett will be able to lead the way for the best future for our students, staff and community.”
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