Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Nice Catch

Lu Young is leaving the Jessamine County Schools after nine years as superintendent to become the Fayette County school district's new chief academic officer.
Fayette Superintendent Tom Shelton made the announcement Wednesday morning at a meeting of the district's school principals in Lexington.

Jessamine County Superintendent Lu Young
Mark Cornelison | H-L Staff
In her new job, Young will be in charge of programs and efforts to improve academics and raise student performance. Chief academic officer is a new post. It is essentially analogous to the Fayette Schools' post of chief operating officer, now held by Mary Wright, who oversees the district's day-to-day operations.

"There is no one in the state of Kentucky who knows more about teaching and learning than Lu Young," Shelton said. "She is a phenomenal leader, an exemplary person, and I'm excited about what she will help us accomplish for kids in Fayette County."

Young joined the Jessamine County Schools as a Spanish teacher in 1983, and she rose through the ranks to become superintendent in 2004.

She was named Kentucky school superintendent of the year for 2011 by the Kentucky Association of School Administrators. Shelton was superintendent of the year in 2010.

This might be the first time in Kentucky that two former superintendents of the year have worked together in the same district, said Brad Hughes, spokesman for the Kentucky School Boards Association.

"I have cherished my 30 years in Jessamine County, and I did not enter lightly into this decision to leave," Young said Wednesday. "After much prayer and careful consideration, I am certain that it is time for me to move on to the next phase of my career. ... I look forward to really focusing on the supports we can put into place for principals and teachers so that they can in turn do great things for students."

Young, Shelton and Clark County Superintendent Elaine Farris were the finalists to be Fayette County's new superintendent in 2011. The job went to Shelton. He and Young are close friends.
It's expected that Young will assume her new duties July 1.
 This from the Jessamine Journal by way of KSBA:
A 1977 graduate of Jessamine County High School, Young attended Eastern Kentucky University and returned to Jessamine County to teach Spanish. She served as an assistant principal, director of curriculum and assistant superintendent before becoming superintendent in 2004.

Young was one of three finalists for the Fayette superintendent post just two years ago. Her friend and colleague Tom Shelton was named to that position in June 2011, and Shelton spoke with Young this February about the new position of chief academic officer in Fayette County.

“We talked a little bit about what the position would entail; it’s a new position,” Young said. “We thought that would match my skill set, and he and I have been friends since we were new superintendents together in 2004.”

The chief-academic-officer position has an intense focus on teaching and learning. Young said that while she has enjoyed the broad range of responsibilities as superintendent, teaching and learning is really in her “wheelhouse.”

“That’s where I feel that I have the greatest skills,” she said. “The opportunity to expand my schools as superintendent here for the last nine years has been invaluable to me, but I really think where my greatest skills lie are in the area of teaching and learning and teacher professional development and in evaluation and working on school improvement — all of those are things I’d really like to be able to sink my teeth into and really be able to work at. It feels like a luxury to be able to focus on all things teaching and learning.”

Young said she has valued being the “hometown superintendent.” She has become good friends with two other superintendents who oversee the district from which they graduated — Gallatin County’s Dorothy Perkins and Hardin County’s Nannette Johnston.

“All three of us graduated from our county high schools and went through the system,” Young said. “I used to kind of be a little embarrassed that I didn’t have experience any place else, but five or six years ago, I thought, ‘That’s silly’ — this is a commitment to the community, and I really value and love being the hometown girl who’s the superintendent.

“I have no regrets about that. I’m not leaving for any reason except to embrace the new challenge and see how I manage in a large system and what I can learn from it.”

In the Fayette County interview process in 2011, Young called Fayette County schools “a home away from home.” She and her husband, Tim, lived in Lexington for 20 years as she worked in Jessamine County. Her son, Tyler, graduated from Fayette County, and her daughter, Natalie, attended school there through the eighth grade. Now Young says she looks forward to continuing to be a part of life in Jessamine County as she works in Lexington.

“There’s a side of it that does feel comfortable and attractive to me; I wouldn’t leave to go to western Kentucky or another state or something like that,” she said. “I still want to live in Jessamine County; I still want to be a part of this community.”

In a news release, board chairman Eugene Peel praised Young for her service. Peel has served on the board since 1985.

“We are proud to have called Lu our superintendent and appreciate her service and dedication to Jessamine County,” he said. “While we are sorry to see her leave, we wish her well as she embarks on this new endeavor.”

Young has seen gains in academic achievement and a decrease in the dropout rate during her tenure, and she oversaw the implementation of full-day kindergarten for Jessamine County in 2010. She saw the district’s fund balance nearly triple from 2004 to 2012 while improving the average teacher salary ranking from 129th in the state to 50th this year.

No comments: