In response to criticism from state evaluators, Fayette County Public Schools Superintendent Manny Caulk on Tuesday announced a staff reorganization and new hires aimed at improving the district’s support to schools.
In a state report released in May called a district diagnostic review, state evaluators for the first time in years said Fayette’s district leadership had the capacity to make needed improvements. But the evaluators found inconsistency in the type of support from some of the district-level school directors to all schools. Some school directors did not consistently monitor the effectiveness of classroom instruction or provide clear directions to principals on how to improve conditions, the report said.
At a Fayette district leadership conference Tuesday, Caulk announced several changes. He named John White as the district’s new senior administrative services director to oversee the divisions of budget, finance and human resources. White was formerly a chief of business affairs in the Kentucky Community and Technical College System.
In addition, Caulk eliminated some positions while creating nine new positions. He filled the positions with new and existing staff.
“With this talent acquisition and restructuring we are directly addressing the improvement priorities identified” in the state’s District Diagnostic Review, Caulk said in a news release. “The work ahead only gets harder.”
Previously, the department had five directors charged with overseeing the district’s 66 schools and special programs. Under the new structure, there will be six “Chiefs of Schools” who will spend 70 percent or more or their time on instructional issues and three “School Leadership Support Specialists” who will help principals with operational issues.
The two new chiefs of schools for middle schools will be Antonio “Tony” Watts, who formerly worked at the Kentucky Department of Education and was a Northern Kentucky school administrator, and Scott Flowers, a teacher and leader in public schools and charter schools in Delaware, Florida, New York and South Carolina. Current district employee Jimmy Meadows will be a leadership support specialist for middle schools.
Current district employee Randy Peffer will be chief of schools for high schools. Current district employee Jack Hayes will be a leadership support specialist for high schools.
Current district employees Heather Bell and Edwina Smith will have elementary chief of schools positions. Lisa Smith, principal of Ashland Elementary, will move up to a chief of schools positions in elementary schools. Julie Wright, principal of Tates Creek Elementary, will move up to a school leadership support specialist for elementary schools.
With Smith and Wright in new positions, the school decision-making councils at Ashland and Tates Creek Elementary will work with district leaders to select new principals, district spokeswoman Lisa Deffendall said.