Eighty years ago, Emmanuel Caulk said, his grandfather moved from Delaware to Pike County, Ky., "in search of the American dream."
Caulk's grandfather and his great uncle became coal miners. Caulk's father was born in Kentucky.
That's why Fayette County's new schools superintendent said he already thinks of Kentucky as home.
In advance of Caulk's first day in the district on Monday, the Fayette County Public Schools Board Thursday approved Caulk's contract that includes a $240,000 base salary.
Caulk replaces Tom Shelton, who resigned in December.
Shelton was paid $254,610 in 2013, but he agreed to reduce his pay by about $12,000 when the district made budget cuts for the 2014-15 school year.
Stu Silberman, Shelton's predecessor, made about $244,000 before he left the district in 2011.
Caulk's contract extends through June 30, 2019, and includes typical benefits, including moving expenses from Portland, Maine.
The contract commits the board to two annual retreats with Caulk, who had asked for the meetings in order to foster a positive working relationship between the superintendent and the board. And, under the contract, he can hire outside consultants to look at curriculum and instruction and help him decide the way to realign resources and evaluate the district during his transition. Budget constraints will be kept in mind when hiring auditors or consultants, the contract said.
Also on Thursday, school board members approved a contract for as many as 30 days of consulting work between Aug. 3 and Dec. 18 for interim Superintendent Marlene Helm to help Caulk during his transition into the new job.
Price said Helm would be paid the same $1,000 a day that she is paid as interim superintendent.
The board also approved paying Caulk a lump sum of $5,500 for work he performed between the end of June, when he was hired, and Sunday.
Caulk has been working with Helm by Skype and making conference calls to conduct interviews to fill several key leadership positions.
On Monday, Helm announced several new leaders, including new and interim principals, pupil personnel director, enforcement director, and economic development manager.
"We've been in sync through the entire process," Caulk told the Herald-Leader in a telephone interview Thursday. "She's been fantastic to work with."
Helm will continue to work on a plan, due Sept. 1, to improve academic achievement at low-performing schools and among disabled, minority and poor students. Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday is requiring that the district make improvements or face state action.
In a recent editorial that Caulk wrote in Maine, he mentioned that he was Maine's first black superintendent.
He is also Fayette County's first black permanent superintendent, district spokeswoman Lisa Deffendall said.