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KSBA News Article

School boards hire new leaders

Mark Martin

Kentucky School Advocate
June 2020
By Brenna R. Kelly
Staff writer

Kentucky school boards have been busy deciding on new superintendents who will lead their districts when students return to classrooms, whether it be late summer or fall or later. Here are some of the recent hires as of
May 15.

Boone County
The Boone County school board has hired Ryle High School Principal Matt Turner as its next superintendent.

Turner, who been an educator for 29 years, has served the last 14 as principal of Ryle, northern Kentucky’s largest high school with 2000 students. Boone County is Kentucky’s third-largest district with more than 21,000 students.

Turner has also been assistant principal at Lloyd Memorial High in Erlanger-Elsmere and principal at Williamstown High School.  

“Matt is known as a gifted leader and administrator throughout Kentucky,” school board chairman Matt McIntire said. “We are excited to announce Mr. Turner as our next Superintendent of Boone County Schools and to partner with him on behalf of our students. Matt’s ability to lead teams centered on a shared vision will be vital as we build on the foundation of Achieving Excellence Together in our schools.” 

Turner succeeds Randy Poe who is retiring.

Butler County
Robert Tuck, Butler County Schools assistant superintendent, has been chosen to lead the district. Tuck has held teaching and coaching positions at Butler County High School and has served as principal and assistant principal at Butler County Middle School.

“I take this honor as a privilege to lead our students, staff, and community with a servant’s heart and transformational mindset,” Tuck told the Beechtree News. “As superintendent, my goal will be to be visible throughout our district, building relationships and capacity that will support the whole educational experience.”

Tuck also noted that the experience and background of the school board members are assets to the district.

“We’ve got experience in education, business owners, people who work in business, and we’ve got people that work in service. They are able to bring a different lens to help develop that skill and vision of what we want to do to move our district forward,” he said. 

Tuck replaces Scott Howard who retired.

Christian County
Christopher Bentzel, principal of Christian County High School, has become the district’s new superintendent. The Christian County school board unanimously chose Bentzel, who has also served as principal of Lacy Elementary School and Christian County Middle School.

“I look forward to working with Mr. Bentzel,” board member Tom Bell told the Kentucky New Era. “He has a proven track record in the Christian County Public School system.”

Bentzel told the paper that he’s nervous to take on the new role.

“Nerves should come with it,” he said. “It’s a great responsibility. But one that I’m very grateful and humbled to have.”

Bentzel added that he understands times are tough for parents, students and staff due to COVID-19.

“I know this is a difficult time … but it’s necessary and we’ll get back to our feet soon and get back to normal operations soon. And when that day comes, I’m really, really looking forward to it.”

Bentzel succeeds Mary Ann Gemmill who is retiring.

Edmonson County
Brian Alexander has been named the next superintendent of Edmonson County Schools.

Board Chair Mickey Johnson told the Edmonson Voice that the board interviewed five outstanding candidates and “felt the board made the best decision for the Edmonson County School District moving forward by selecting Brian Alexander as the next superintendent.” 

Alexander, who had been the district’s high school principal, began his career at Warren Central High School before joining Edmonson County. Alexander left Edmonson County in 2003 to become a principal in Grayson County but returned to Edmonson County in 2005 where he spent time as director of pupil personnel and then as high school principal.

“My career working with the children of Edmonson County has been very rewarding, and I look forward to the future of Edmonson County schools in this new role. I appreciate the opportunity to lead the school district, and I am very excited where we will be going forward.”

Erlanger-Elsmere Independent
The Erlanger-Elsmere school board has hired Chad Molley as superintendent. Molley, who had been assistant superintendent, is following in the footsteps of his father, James Molley who also led the district. Molly replaces Kathy Burkhardt who retired after 11 years as superintendent.

Molley has also served as principal of Lloyd Memorial High School and as the district’s instructional coordinator. 

“With my deep ties to the community – having been a student here and having lived in this community for almost 48 years now – it really means a lot to me to be able to serve this school district, its students, our staff, and the cities of Erlanger and Elsmere,” Molley said. 

Robin Cooper, board vice chairwoman, said there were several good candidates.

“As a board we feel that Mr. Molley’s experience – coming from within the school system and working closely with Dr. Burkhardt – will be great assets. Chad cares about this community and our kids and he will work hard to do his best for our families.”

Meade County
The Meade County school board selected Mark Martin (pictured at top), the district’s director of special education, as the next superintendent. Martin succeeds John Millay who retired in February. 

A graduate of Western Kentucky University, where he earned his doctorate in education leadership, Martin has been an educator for 12 years and was a special education teacher in Daviess County. He joined Meade County Schools in 2014.  

The selection committee reviewed 12 applications before recommending Meade. In a Facebook post, Martin thanked the school board for “their commitment to our community and their support during this transition for our district. These individuals care deeply about the success of our students.” 

The board of education members and I will honor our past successes with future innovation that will grow our students and community,” Martin said. “I will partner with community and regional stakeholders to best position our growth. Our team will sell the vision of Meade County Schools and we will follow through to ensure these dreams come to fruition.”

Rockcastle County
The Rockcastle County school board has selected one of its former board members as superintendent. Carrie Ballinger, who served on the board from 2013 to 2019, will now lead the district.

Ballinger, the district’s director of student services, began her teaching career in Madison County and has more than 14 years of teaching and administrative experience. She also served as elementary director of Model Laboratory School. Ballinger left the board in 2019 when she was hired by the district. 

“I am humbled and honored to have been given the opportunity to serve the students, families and staff of Rockcastle County Schools. I look forward to continuing our district’s current academic success, while leading us to even greater levels of academic achievement,” Ballinger said. “I am 100 percent devoted to working for the community that I love to provide all students in Rockcastle County an education that will inspire and prepare them to be lifelong learners and citizens of our community, state and world.”

Todd County
The Todd County school board has chosen Mark Thomas, who had been director of operations for Spencer County Schools, as superintendent.

“I will work tirelessly to promote student achievement along with success for the district and community,” Thomas said. “I believe that together we can build a positive, cohesive climate to ensure that the Todd County School District will continue to be considered as a pacesetter in the Commonwealth. I look forward to the opportunity to become a member of this school district and a part of a wonderful community.” 

Thomas began his career in Shelby County as a middle school teacher in 1996. He also has served in various school administrator and district administrator roles in Franklin, Nelson, Clark and Spencer county school districts. 

The board received 11 applications and interviewed four finalists in their search to replace former superintendent, Edwin Oyler who resigned last year.
Photo 1: Mark Martin, who presented a session at KSBA’s 2020 Annual Conference, was hired as Meade County's new superintendent.
Photo 2: Robert Tuck signs his contract to become Butler County superintendent. (Photo provided by Beechtreenews.com)

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