Friday, June 10, 2011

FCPS Statement on Shelton

This from FCPS:
Tom Shelton, whose leadership in the Daviess County Public Schools has been hailed as among the best in the state, will be the next Fayette County Public Schools superintendent.

“It is our board’s belief that Tom possesses the knowledge, skills and abilities needed to leverage our community’s resources in a collaborative and effective way to maximize the learning for each student,” said Fayette County Board of Education Chairman John Price.

Student achievement for all kids has to be job one, Shelton said.

“This community is obviously very supportive of our schools and I know we can work together to have the best school district in the nation,” Shelton said. “I am honored to be able to join the existing efforts and engage in the continuing work to eliminate achievement gaps and move student achievement forward.”

Shelton was one of three finalists for the post. Other top candidates were Clark County Superintendent Elaine Farris and Jessamine County Superintendent Lu Young. Each of the three finalists spent more than 14 hours in Lexington this week on different days, meeting with focus groups, touring schools and taking questions from the media and public.

“We intended for the search to be a completely open and transparent process and the community responded,” said school board member Doug Barnett.

Throughout the week, more than 200 people committed to attend daily focus group discussions with each of the three candidates. Nearly 300 questions were submitted by the community to be used during the nightly public forums and hundreds of people sent emails to board members to share their opinions.

“It was such a blessing to see how the community rallied around this process,” said board vice chair Melissa Bacon.

The board’s unanimous vote came after more than nine hours of closed door deliberations that started at 7 a.m. Friday. Throughout their meeting, board members reviewed input from focus groups of students, parents, community leaders, teachers, classified employees, principals and district administrators. They also considered student achievement data and teacher survey results from each of the candidates’ districts.

“We had three excellent candidates and we invested significant time processing and discussing all the input we received from our stakeholders in order to select the person that could best lead our district forward to meet the needs of our students,” said school board member Daryl Love.

The community has been heavily involved throughout the search, beginning with a series of public forums and focus group discussions that asked hundreds of Lexington residents about the qualities they’d like to see in the next superintendent. An additional 300 people filled out an online survey. All of that input was used to determine the characteristics the board used to evaluate the finalists.

“The candidates all said they were impressed with the level of participation and interest in education from our community,” said board member Amanda Ferguson. “We hope that passion and commitment continues as we start our work with Tom.”

That work will begin next weekend, Shelton said, indicating that he will begin making regular visits to Lexington to meet with local residents.

“I look forward to meeting people and learning more about the Lexington community to build relationships to help our students continue to grow and achieve,” Shelton said.

Shelton, 47, has 16 years of educational leadership, including three years as director of business and finance, six years as assistant superintendent for finance and operations, and the past seven years as superintendent, all in Daviess County.

Named the 2010 Kentucky Superintendent of the Year, he holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting, master’s degree in business administration, and a Rank I in educational administration from Murray State University. Shelton has holds a doctoral degree in educational leadership from the University of Louisville and a graduate certificate in executive educational leadership from Harvard University.

“Thank you to the Board of Education for expressing their confidence in selecting me to work with them to continue the great work already happening in Fayette County,” Shelton said. “To be selected from the group of finalists is a true honor. Lu Young and Elaine Farris are exceptional superintendents, and I look forward to being able to work with them as I move into this region.”

Shelton will start September 1. His salary will be $240,000 annually.

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