Kentucky School Advocate
Q. You were appointed to the Wolfe County School Board in 2019. Why did you want to become a school board member?
A. I now work for Fayette County Schools but I live in Wolfe County, where I’ve lived all my life. I wanted to find a way to still be a part of the Wolfe County school system. Board service has let me be a part of my community again.
Q. You’ve been the assistant director of pupil personnel in Fayette County for six years but started your career as a science teacher 25 years ago. Why did you decide to move into administration?
A. My husband was superintendent in Jackson Independent and my kids went to school there. I had been teaching in Wolfe County for 10 years and a teaching job opened up in Breathitt County, the county Jackson is in. I applied for that job to be closer to my kids and got it. Breathitt County ended up being state managed and the director of federal programs job came open in central office. I thought ‘What better time to learn what to do as an administrator,’ so I applied. We didn’t have a director of pupil personnel (DPP) in Breathitt County so I went back and got my DPP certification and did both jobs for three years.
Q. Do you miss the classroom?
A. I miss interacting with the kids, but I enjoy what I do. I enjoy being on the board and interacting with students in that role. I do as much as I can out in the community, like going to sporting events and open houses.
Q. You’ve worked in four school districts. How do those work experiences in different districts help you as a board member?
A. Circumstances in each district are different. I’ve taken some things I’ve learned in Fayette County and talked with the superintendent in Wolfe County, and they’ve adopted some things that Fayette County is doing. But I’ve also brought to Fayette County some of the things we had done in Breathitt.
Q. What is something from Breathitt County that you brought to Fayette County?
A. In Breathitt County we collaborated with the YouthBuild program and started performance-based courses for at-risk students. When I got here, Fayette County was starting the Success Academy, a performance-based program for at-risk students. So based on my previous experience, I got to have input on that.
Q. What is something Wolfe County Schools is doing now that makes you excited about the future?A. We’re working with Boom Beans, a coffee roasting company that partners with students in Appalachia to teach them skills to run their own business. A lot of our kids have side businesses. We are also building an auditorium that will sit between our high school and middle school and be used by all the schools. Our high school has a great drama department and band.
Q. Speaking of side gigs, you have a cake baking business?
A. Yes, in college I worked at the Walmart bakery and learned to make cakes. When COVID hit, I started making posts on Facebook to invite people to nominate a teacher each week and I would make and deliver a free cake to the teacher. The teachers weren’t getting to see their kids so I knew they were down in the dumps. I probably baked about 50 cakes for teachers.
It kind of snowballed. People started asking me for birthday cakes because everything was shut down. There were weekends I was doing 20 or 30 cakes. I’ve cut it down to where it’s a bit more manageable, maybe 10 a week. My husband bakes the cakes; he knows the recipes by heart. It’s our time together. We try not to talk about school during that time.
Q. But since your husband is a superintendent in Menifee County now and you work in district administration and are on the school board, there’s probably talk about education at home.
A. Yeah, that’s all we talk about. Our children aren’t in education. Our daughter is a NICU nurse; our son is going into civil engineering. I think they got tired of all the education-speak at home.
Getting to know
Family: Husband, Tim; daughter, Ally; son, Caleb
Favorite subject: Science
Hobbies: Cooking and concerts. Pearl Jam is my favorite band.
Book recommendation: “Without Trumpets: Continuous Educational Improvement, Journey to Sustainability” by Susan Allred and Kelly Foster. The book is about how to establish school systems that cause continuous improvement no matter where they are. My husband is mentioned in it. When Menifee County was under state management, he was state manager. It’s been interesting to watch him put systems in place.
Interesting fact: I have raised money for charity by auctioning off my cakes. I made an old-fashioned apple stack cake for a local animal shelter fundraiser. Two different people bid $200 for it, so I made another one and raised $400 for the shelter.