It was one year ago that the Knox County Board of Education selected Jeremy Ledford, then head principal at Knox County Middle, to be the next superintendent of the Knox County Public Schools. One year later, the Board presented Ledford with his own end-of-school report card that evaluates his performance in seven different areas of school leadership.
Prior to the evaluation, Ledford presented his new superintendent capstone presentation to the Board and meeting guests. Ledford was among other new superintendents in a cohort that met throughout the year to learn and receive support in their new roles. The presentation to the Board was his final requirement for the new superintendent cohort.
In the presentation, Ledford focused on the seven standards on which he was evaluated. But first, he used the opportunity to say thanks for the support from his family, fellow members of the cohort, and his colleagues that he has received during his first year. He ended the presentation by saying that becoming a top performing district is a way of life in Knox County. He shared many accolades to individual students and groups for their performance in academic and athletic competitions. A summary of his presentation is below.
In the last agenda item of the meeting, the Board voted unanimously to rate Ledford as exemplary in three standards and accomplished in four. Board chairman Kevin Hinkle said that they were pleased with the progress that Superintendent Ledford has made during his first year.
“I want to say thank you for the opportunity to serve KCPS and our community,” said Ledford. “It is truly an honor to watch our school system grow and I am excited for the future of Knox County Public Schools.”
Standard 1: Strategic Leadership
Superintendent Ledford incorporated a 30-60-90 day action plan to start the year. He held meetings to discuss the mission and vision of the district, determine how federal ESSER funds would be used, and stayed in constant contact with the Board on the many instructional and support initiatives occurring.
Standard 2: Instructional Leadership
Superintendent Ledford established a new walkthrough document that principals and district staff use when they visit classrooms. Work was completed on developing pacing guides for all content areas at the elementary and middle school level, with work continuing at the high school level.
Standard 3: Cultural Leadership
Superintendent Ledford was active in schools and in the community. He attended various community events such as prayer walks at schools, Chamber of Commerce meetings, and student club meetings. He also initiated the process that will divide Lynn Camp Schools into two separate schools, Lynn Camp Elementary Preschool-5 and Lynn Camp Middle High 6-12 beginning next school year.
Standard 4: Human Resource Leadership
During the year Superintendent Ledford remained focused and flexible as the COVID-19 pandemic continued. He established a test to stay opportunities at each school campus, and organized district staff to help schools that were short employees due to the illness. To recognize individuals, Superintendent Ledford launched Teacher Leader and North Star awards for teachers, continued with the Shining Star award for classified support staff, and introduced One 10 students – a recognition that goes to students who demonstrate 110% percent effort, signifying that it will take every one giving their 110% best for KCPS to be a top 10% school district.
Standard 5: Managerial Leadership
Continuing to maintain clean and healthy schools, he created a COVID dashboard that provided transparency for the community to see the active number of cases in the school system and the actions that the district was taking. Technology upgrades for students and teachers strengthened the focus on using online resources as a part of in-person and virtual instruction. During his first year, Superintendent Ledford held many budget meetings internally and with the district’s finance advisors on bonding potential for projects such as turf on football fields and renovations at Knox County Career and Technical Center. He also hired five new principals that stepped into their role when the year started.
Standard 6: Collaborative Leadership
Superintendent Ledford held frequent in-person, video, and telephone meetings with state and local officials about the needs of the school district. Partnerships with Berea College for Gear Up support services and membership with educational organizations such as Southeast South Central and Kentucky Education Development Corporation continued to provide training and services. He recognized the support that local businesses and organizations donate to the system, especially those that impact student learning and remove barriers.
Standard 7: Influential Leadership
From meetings with education commissioner Dr. Jason Glass to attendance at local and state education conferences, Superintendent Ledford stated that he will continue to advocate for all students and support all staff as KCPS works towards becoming a top 10% district.