Board takes next step in the search for KCPS superintendent

Superintendent search icon showing search box and background of leadership words

Superintendent search icon showing search box and background of leadership words

On Monday, members of the Knox County Board of Education met for the first time to discuss the process that will be used to search for a new superintendent following the retirement announcement of current superintendent Kelly Sprinkles.

During the work session, members reviewed the preliminary data of the stakeholder survey seeking input on qualifications and qualities desired in the next school leader.  Board members agreed, the survey should continue to be open for feedback throughout the process.

“It will give us more information to look at, more questions to consider, and more community involvement,” said member Kevin Hinkle.

Following receiving the briefing on the survey, members reviewed the superintendent selection process outlined in state law and discussed a draft timeline for the search. The board hopes to name a new superintendent before July 1.

“All board members agreed that it would be best if the incoming superintendent had a few weeks to work with Mr. Sprinkles to learn about initiatives and other decisions that will be facing the leader once he or she assumes office in July,” said Frank Shelton, who is assisting the search firm with the process locally.

Kentucky school boards must seat a Superintendent Screening Committee within 30 days of determining a vacancy. State also requires the committee to include two certified employees elected by their peers, one classified employee elected by their peers, one principal elected by their peers, one parent/guardian elected by PTA presidents representing all schools, and one board of education member appointed by the board chair.

“The beginning process for establishing the screening committees will begin on Monday, February 15,” said Shelton.  He will be working with each of the groups to establish their method of determining a representative on the committee. “The board has given me the charge to communicate that they went a wide representation on the committee and are encouraging staff from all schools in the district to consider applying.”

The board’s search firm, the Kentucky School Boards Association (KSBA), will be handling the announcement of the vacancy and acceptance of applications from interested candidates.

“Tim Eaton, a consultant for KSBA, has worked with Knox County in our last search and will continue to serve us during this one,” said Shelton.

Eaton was present for the work session and helped members draft a vacancy notice.  The vacancy notice and application site will open up on Friday, February 12, on the KSBA website.

“This vacancy advertisement contains several of the desired qualities that your survey identified as being important to this community,” said Eaton.

KSBA will be accepting applications through March 15, 2021.

Once the application site is closed, work will begin to prepare for the first meeting of the screening committee.

“The screening committee will meet four times over a period of a month and a half,” said Shelton.  “At the first meeting, the board will give them their charge of the type of applicants they wish to review applications from.  Some of that will come directly from the stakeholder survey.”

The second and third meetings are for conducting background checks and following up with references listed.  In their fourth meeting, the screening committee will present to the board their top five recommendations, unranked, for consideration.

“The board will take those applications and review them.  They could ask the screening committee to submit additional applications or they could ask them to further narrow down the number,” shared Eaton.

The board is expected to begin interviewing candidates within the first week to a week and a half in May.

“The board wants to allow the newly selected superintendent time to work with the outgoing superintendent, but that will not force the board to make a quick decision,” said Shelton.  “All members want time to carefully interview candidates to ensure the right person is selected for the job.  After that, they will have time to work with Mr. Sprinkles,” Shelton went on to say.

Any questions regarding the superintendent search process or procedures should be directed to Frank Shelton at the Central Office,, who will either provide a response or forward the information request to KSBA for a response.

Additional resources:
KCPS Superintendent Search webpage (includes vacancy advertisement)
Kentucky School Boards Association Superintendent Search webpage