Voice Recognition

KSBA News Article

Beyond the Board

Carrie Truitt

Carrie Truitt, Marion County Schools

Kentucky School Advocate
June 2024

Q. You have a Facebook page for your board service where you post information about what’s happening in the district. Why is it important to communicate with your constituents? 

A. Communication is a way to make sure people know what is actually happening. In the absence of it, people can make up their own narrative. I’m reinforcing what we are sharing as a district, so they see that the district and the board are on the same page, and they receive open communications from the leader they have put in place. I use social media because that is where our community seems to get its information. I post agendas, links to the board meeting, a rundown on what we voted on. It is important for people to understand what is happening. People know that I might not tell them what they want to hear but that I will be truthful and explain why we made the decision.

Q. You follow the legislature closely and actively advocate for your district and public education with state lawmakers. Why should board members engage with legislators? 

A. I have learned by being on the board that we can’t make decisions if we don’t know what is truly happening. So, there is no way legislators can understand what is happening in schools unless we tell them. It is our responsibility to tell them how a decision will affect schools. In Marion County, we have strong relationships with legislators and can pick up the phone and tell them, ‘This is what this bill is going to do to us.’ I wish more board members and legislators would have those conversations before bills get written and passed. And I would like to see all 171 districts band together more. If we stay siloed or silent, it will be easier for those in Frankfort to say, ‘I don’t know what I don’t know.’

Q. You also helped form the Marion County Education Foundation in 2017. Why should public school districts have an education foundation?

A. They are important avenue to make a difference in districts, but they must have a mission that is meaningful in that district, otherwise, it won’t be successful. Ours focuses on innovation and creativity, allowing the seeds to be planted by projects in individual classrooms. When a teacher gets a grant and their project is successful, then it can be replicated. One example of a program that was funded is Fundations, which helps kids learn to read. It started from a grant in a few kindergarten classrooms, and now it is in PK-5 across the district. 

Q. In addition to board service, your career has been dedicated to service. Tell us about it.

A. I was most recently with Camp Horsin’ Around, which works with kids who have compromised health. In mid-May, I started work with Leadership Kentucky in Frankfort as senior director of Communications and Strategic Initiatives. I have been in the nonprofit arena 18 years and have worked for organizations with health, arts and education missions. It speaks to me to be in a position where the work I do in a day makes something better for someone. 

Getting to know

Hometown: Bradfordsville 

Family: Husband, Michael; children, Jackson, 16, Sam, 12 and Eleanor, 8, all students in Marion County, all soccer players

Favorite Subject: Math and band. I played flute and piccolo and was in the UK marching band.

Hobbies: Gardening. My husband bought me a new shelf for more houseplants; my son got me a T-shirt about potted plants for Mother’s Day.  

Book recommendation: Brene Brown’s Dare to Lead podcast. She interviews people from many different walks of life and there is always a message that translates to a lot of different places. She’s also done a two-minute short on the difference between sympathy and empathy that’s really well done. When I worked with a hospice organization, I showed that to every volunteer I trained.

Interesting fact: Michael and I got engaged after dating two weeks; we will be married 22 years in August. We met when we were servers at Applebee’s. His mother was supposed to go to a Lucinda Williams concert but had to cancel last minute, so he asked me. I was supposed to work that night and couldn’t find anyone to cover for me. My manager called and said he was giving me the night off because Michael was driving everyone crazy, calling all the Applebee’s in Lexington, Nicholasville, Frankfort and Georgetown to find someone to work for me. 

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