Jessamine County Superintendent Kathy Fields will leave in June to become executive director of a nonprofit organization.
But beyond that, in August, she will take on another title: grandmother. Her son, Marshal, and his wife, Kristen, expect their first child that month.
“This is a very personal decision for me,” Fields said. “My family has asked that I devote more time to them, and they have indeed made unsurpassed sacrifices in the last 33 years” of her career.
“Now, with a new life coming into our family, it meant that I needed to step back and rethink my priorities, knowing that I was so incredibly blessed to be part of this great organization in the Jessamine County schools.”
Fields, 55, has accepted an offer to become executive director of the International Alliance for Invitational Education, an organization now based at the University of North Carolina. But Fields will remain in Jessamine County to head the organization with more than 9,000 members.
The organization holds the philosophy that creating a welcoming environment for students and faculty is a crucial component to education. Its mission is to enhance lifelong learning.
Fields leaves at a time when the Jessamine district has risen academically from “needs improvement” to “proficient/progressing,” according to the state assessment.
She has been superintendent of the district since 2013, when she succeeded Lu Young. The district has more than 8,400 students.
Fields is a 1979 graduate of Jessamine County High School (the district has had two high schools, East Jessamine and West Jessamine, since 1997).
Fields holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in elementary education from Georgetown College.
After serving as director of special education and federal programs in Bath County, she returned home in 1995 as principal of Nicholasville Elementary School.
After 12 years in that position, she served the district at West Jessamine Middle School as lead instructional administrator. She then moved to central office in 2009 when she was named director of teaching and learning, and then became assistant superintendent/chief academic officer for the 2012-13 school year.
Fields signed a four-year contract in September 2013, and her current salary is $151,000 a year.
Aside from the imminent arrival of a grandchild, another milestone is coming for Fields. Her youngest son, Alexander, will graduate in May with a master’s degree in agricultural education from the University of Kentucky.
Meanwhile, Fields and her husband, Tim, a Microsoft senior engineer, plan to take an Alaskan cruise and drive through some states in the Northwest.
“And of course I’ll be getting ready to rock my new grandbaby,” she said.