Kentucky School Advocate
By Brenna R. Kelly
KSBA staff writer
This school year, at least 23 of Kentucky’s 171 school districts will start the school year with new leaders at the helm. Some new superintendents had been in leadership at other Kentucky districts and some are moving up at their current district.
The Bellevue Independent school board selected Misty Middleton out of 22 applicants to be the district’s new superintendent. Middleton was previously superintendent of Williamstown Independent Schools where she had worked for 19 years including as elementary teacher, head start/preschool director, instructional supervisor and assistant superintendent.
Prior to her career at Williamstown, Middleton was a teacher at Grant County Schools for eight years.
“We are thrilled to welcome Ms. Middleton to the Bellevue family,” said board chairwoman Jenn Owens. “Her passion for public education and infectious positivity are a natural fit for our district, allowing us to launch The Bellevue Classroom to the next level.”
Middleton holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Northern Kentucky University, a master’s degree in education from Georgetown College, a Rank 1 teaching certification from Eastern Kentucky University, and a superintendent’s certificate from Eastern Kentucky University. She is the incoming president of the Northern Kentucky Cooperative for Educational Services (NKCES).
Casey Henderson has been hired by the board as the superintendent of Carlisle County Schools. Henderson was previously the superintendent of Hickman County Schools. This isn’t Henderson’s first time serving in Carlisle County schools; he was assistant superintendent for five years and taught in the district for seven years. Henderson worked in Hickman County for 13 years, the last eight years as superintendent.
“The board and Casey both are excited about next year and continue to seek the community’s support,” the district said in a release.
Henderson has both master’s and bachelor’s degrees from Murray State University.
After serving as interim superintendent since this past fall when Tim Parson resigned, Paula Little is now the superintendent of Clinton County Schools.
Little had applied to be superintendent two years ago when Parson was hired. This time she was chosen from seven applicants. A search committee, assisted by KSBA consultant Tim Eaton, reviewed the seven applicants and narrowed the field to three. The board interviewed two applicants, as one of the three had already accepted another position.
At a meeting in May, the board voted unanimously to hire Little as superintendent. Little began her career as a teacher in Clinton County Schools, before moving into administration, where she has held the positions of instructional supervisor and assistant superintendent before being named interim superintendent.
The Frankfort Independent Board of Education has hired Sheri Satterly as the district’s superintendent. Satterly had been the assistant superintendent and chief academic officer of Danville Independent Schools. During her 18 years in Danville she also served as elementary school music teacher, reading interventionist, a middle school counselor, principal and high school guidance counselor.
As an administrator overseeing the district’s instructional programs and services, Satterly also developed expertise in financial management, federal programs such as Title I and ESSER, and comprehensive school/district improvement planning.
“My love rests in the value of a small independent district where everyone is family, all students are held to high expectations, and where diversity is not only valued, but embraced,” she said in a letter to families. “This is what I have seen in the Frankfort Independent Schools, and the biggest part of what drew me to the FIS.”
Board Chairwoman Jina Greathouse praised Satterly’s depth of experience and reputation as a servant-leader.
“We look forward to introducing Ms. Satterly to our students, staff, families and community. It was clear from the outset that she has done her homework on our district, and she is ready and eager to join the Panther family as our next superintendent.”
The Jackson Independent School board has selected Wayne Sizemore as the district’s superintendent, making permanent the position Sizemore held in an interim capacity since January.
Sizemore, who has 24 years of experience in public education, began his career as a speech/language pathologist at Leslie County Schools. He served as director of Special Education for both Carroll County Schools and Breathitt County Schools. Sizemore is a graduate of the University of Kentucky, where he studied communication disorders. He earned a master’s degree in communication disorders from East Tennessee State University and his director of special education degree from the University of the Cumberlands. Sizemore obtained his superintendent certification from the University of Kentucky. He is past president of the Kentucky Council of Administrators of Special Education and a member of the executive board of the Kentucky Council of Exceptional Children.
“I am extremely honored to be part of the Jackson Independent School District family,” Sizemore said. “The district has a great tradition of academic excellence, and I am excited to begin my journey with the incredible staff, students, families, board members and community.”
Veteran educator and Marion County native Chris Brady has been hired by the school board as the next superintendent of Marion County Schools.
Brady had been the district’s chief operating officer. Brady began his career as a mathematics teacher, before moving on to take on a variety of administrative roles. Brady has served as elementary and middle school principal and led Marion County High School for one year as an interim principal.
At the district level, Brady has provided support in human resources, technology and pupil personnel among others. He has worked in postsecondary education as an instructor in the school of education at Midway University. Brady has also filled in as a substitute bus driver for the district when needed.
A 1998 graduate of Marion County High School, Brady is moving his family to Gravel Switch in eastern Marion County.
The McCreary County board has hired John Gunn, former Hopkinsville High School principal, as superintendent.
Gunn announced in April that he would resign as principal of the school, which is being consolidated with Christian County High School. Gunn began his new role July 1.
Gunn had 33 years of experience in North Carolina and Tennessee before he came to Christian County in 2018. Gunn started an alternative school in Tennessee called New Directions Academy, which included the district’s special education behavior classes, GED and Adult High School for 17-year-olds deficient in credits. He worked there for eight years. Gunn finished his career in Tennessee as associate superintendent of schools in Lawrence County, Tenn., with responsibilities as the secondary supervisor, alternative school supervisor, discipline supervisor, and policy/procedures supervisor.
The Muhlenberg County school board has chosen Contessa Orr as the new superintendent. Orr began her teaching career at Todd County as a special education teacher 22 years ago. She went on to serve as guidance counselor, assistant principal and principal in Todd County before becoming the district’s director of Federal Programs. She then served as chief academic officer of Logan County Schools.
“I will be sad to leave Logan County Schools, but am excited to start a new adventure in an amazing district,” Orr said after the board vote. “A big thank you to the search committee and the board members for giving me this opportunity and to all the people who have already made me feel welcome. I can’t wait to meet the staff, students, families and community members of Muhlenberg County.”
The Owen County school board has hired Reggie Taylor as superintendent. Taylor has been a part of Owen County Schools for nine years overseeing teaching and learning, federal and state grant programs, school and district improvement planning, and evaluation.
Before coming to Owen County, Taylor was a teacher in Scott County Schools and LaRue County Schools where he then became an administrator at both the school and district levels. Taylor received a Bachelor of Science degree in marketing from Northern Kentucky University and a Master of Arts in secondary business education from the University of Kentucky. He received his Rank I in Administration from Northern Kentucky University and received endorsements for instructional supervisor, director of pupil personnel, and Superintendent from Xavier University.
He received his doctorate in educational leadership from Northern Kentucky University.
“I am humbled and honored that the Owen County Board of Education has the confidence in me to be the next superintendent of Owen County Schools, and I would like to thank them for the opportunity to serve our students, parents, staff and community in this new role,” he said. “In addition, I am excited to begin this new journey alongside each one of our stakeholders as we work together to serve our students, families and community.”
The Owsley County school board has selected Gary Cornett as the district’s new superintendent. Cornett was previously the director of pupil personnel and chief academic officer for the district where he has worked since 2004.
Cornett has been a middle and high school science teacher, girls basketball coach and athletic director. He was assistant principal and principal of Owsley County High School, where he graduated in 1999.
Cornett has a bachelor's degree from Eastern Kentucky University and a master’s degree from Morehead State University. He achieved his Rank I from Union college and both his director of pupil personnel and superintendent certification from Morehead.
“I look forward to working with stakeholders to ensure that all students in Owsley County are prepared for future success,” he said.
The Webster County board has selected Aaron Harrell as superintendent. Harrell, who had been the district’s assistant superintendent, personnel director and director of secondary education, has been with the district for the past 17 years and has also served as an English teacher and principal at Webster County High School. He is also a retired United States Marine. Harrell replaces Rhonda Callaway, who retired.
After the board voted, board member Venita Murphy expressed her confidence in the board’s decision.
“It was a tough decision,” she said according to the Journal Enterprise. “We had three great candidates. But you won. I’m confident you’ll do a wonderful job.”