Fayette County Public Schools chief academic officer Lu Young said Wednesday that she will retire Dec. 31.
Young's departure coincides with Superintendent Tom Shelton's resignation to become executive director of the Kentucky Association of School Superintendents. Her last working day is to be Dec. 22.
Before coming to Fayette County 18 months ago, Young was superintendent of Jessamine County Public Schools.
As chief academic officer in Fayette County, Young overses teaching and learning. She most recently worked to help raise academic achievement at Lexington's William Wells Brown Elementary School, after it received the lowest test scores among elementary schools in the state in 2013-14.
Digital Access For Only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
Young, who was named 2012 Kentucky school superintendent of the year by the Kentucky Association of School Administrators, said she might work as a consultant in higher education and hopes she can stay involved in K-12 education.
"I want to keep working in public education. That is my passion," she said.
Young said she turns 55 this month and can retire because she has worked for 30 years.
Young said she had thought of retiring since March. With Shelton's departure, "it seemed like a good time to go ahead and make the transition."
Young was a finalist for Fayette County superintendent when Shelton was hired in 2011. She said she has no interest in replacing him.
Young said she had "a great experience these last 18 months."
"After having been in Jessamine for 30 years, I was interested in the professional challenge of a large, more urban district, so I feel like it was a great learning experience and professional opportunity," she said.
Jessica Hiler, president of the Fayette County Education Association, a voluntary teachers' group, said Wednesday that the association's members think the position of chief academic officer should be eliminated.
"We believe that the superintendent should be the chief academic expert for the school district," Hiler said. "The funds used to pay for the position could be used to purchase additional teachers or classified staff that work directly with students."
Young said Wednesday that she has been meeting with Marlene Helm, who becomes interim superintendent Jan. 1, to determine how Young's duties will be handled when she leaves.