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Group has 30 candidates to consider;

Special Joint Meeting held; screening of applications begins for new Superintendent...Jennings elected chair

Screening Committee: Shawn Jennings, Pam Hay, David Prince, Sandy Sargent, Jim See along with Mike Oder.  Bill Hammond was absentScreening Committee: Shawn Jennings, Pam Hay, David Prince, Sandy Sargent, Jim See along with Mike Oder. Bill Hammond was absent


By Catrina Vargo

Louisa, KY -- The first Lawrence County Screening Committee was held jointly with a special Board of Education meeting Wednesday, April 16, to begin the process of hiring a new Superintendent to replace Mike Armstrong who is resigning at the end of this school year.

The Screening Committee is comprised of one principal, two teachers, one classified employee, one school board member, and one parent.  The members of this committee were chosen last month, they are Shawn Jennings, Blaine Elementary School Principal, Bill Hammond, LMS Teacher, David Prince, LCHS Teacher, Sandy Sargent, Central Office Finance Clerk, James See, Board Chairman, and Pam Hay, Parent.

Mike OderMike OderMike Oder, Superintendent Search Consultant with the Kentucky School Boards Association (KSBA), was present to guide the committee and board through the search process.

The Board Meeting was called to order by BOE  Chairman, Jim See. After the Pledge of Allegiance was said, See welcomed everyone to the meeting and congratulated the members for being selected.  Introductions were made, then Oder addressed the group about their roles and responsibilities of the hiring process.

 "It's important to know your roles and what everyone else's roles are" he said.

He told the group that they are to consider the applications that are brought before them, but they did not have to interview or hire any of the recommendations.  "All 30 applications will be brought before the Committee and Board," said Oder.

He asked if there were any questions. Board member, Garnett Skaggs asked if the applications will be reviewed prior to the Board getting them.  Oder said yes, there would be an evaluation sent on a thumb drive, and the Board would have about 10 days to review the applications before the next joint meeting.

Board Member, Heath Preston, asked with the amount of 30 applications, what Oder recommended would be a general number to be recommended.  Oder said "that is totally up to the Board, but the most common number seems to be five, for whatever reason."

Preston also asked "Will we know if someone wasn't recommended?"  Oder said the Board will be able to ask questions of both the ones that were recommended by the Screening Committee and the ones that were not.  "No matter how many you tell them to bring to you, you will still be getting them all" said Oder.

Board members: Jim See, Chair, Madelyn Roberts, Garnett Skaggs, Heath Preston, Barbara RobinsonBoard members: Jim See, Chair, Madelyn Roberts, Garnett Skaggs, Heath Preston, Barbara RobinsonSkaggs asked "Besides what we listed in the ad can we list anything else as to what criteria we are looking for?"  Oder said they had a good start with the criteria and was sure both the Board and the Screening Committee were looking for the person who "was the very best fit for Lawrence County."

Skaggs also asked, "When we get the recommendations, will we be able to do our own investigation?"  Oder said the Board was to just review the applications at that time, then they could completely check everything on the applicants at a later date.

Oder explained that the screening process officially begins at this meeting when it goes into closed session and applications supplied.  At the next meeting on April 21, they will determine who will check references.  "Everyone will do their homework before the third meeting on April 29.  On May 1, formal recommendations will be made.

Board Chairman, Jim See, then made the charge to the Screening Committee to maintain confidentially of applicants except as necessary to check references, recommend at least 4 candidates, recommended applicants are to be listed in alphabetical order and not ranked, and Committee must meet with the Board on May 1, for the purpose of formerly recommending and discussing candidates.

The criteria listed for the incoming Superintendent are: displays a passion for education, very visible and active part of the community, experienced Administrator, continue to set high expectations of the district, possess characteristics of a good leader, motivator, good communicator, effective people skills, and strong public relations.

Oder stressed the importance of confidentiality.  

"I can't stress enough how critical confidentiality is during this process," he said, explaining that the applications are to be kept confidential, and that what is discussed during closed session is to remain there, and they have to depend on each other to abide by that.

This concluded the Board portion of the meeting.  Madelyn Roberts made a motion to adjourn, Barbara Robinson seconded it, and the meeting was adjourned.


Screening committee elects Blaine principal as chairman

The Board Members left, and the Screening Committee remained along with Oder who welcomed everyone and explained the packet contents of applicants that were supplied.  

Oder again mentioned confidentially.  "You are going to be asked tomorrow by everyone about who applied for the position."  He said there is an easy answer:  "By law, we cannot disclose any information that is discussed during closed session," he said.

Oder spoke about his role as a consultant.  "I will not be recommending anyone to you.  It is my job to help bring the cream of the crop to the top of the heap, to help ensure you get the right fit.  What might be a negative for me, might not be a negative for you" he said.  "When all is said and done, I will go back to Frankfort, you all have to live and work here with the person who is hired." He did not say how much the taxpayers of Lawrence Co. are paying KSBA for his work.

Shawn Jennings, Blaine Elementary Principal was elected by the group as Chairperson of the Screening Committee.  Oder said this is a requirement, simply to oversee the meeting by suggesting motions be made, seconded, and general meeting procedures.

The Screening Committee then went into closed session to begin review of Superintendent applications.  The next meeting will be April 21, at 5:00 pm, at the LCHS  Library.


Final 2013-2014 School Calendar released to employees; Students' last day is June 6, graduation that night...


Sent:    Monday, April 14, 2014 3:36 PM

To:   Lawrence Certified Staff; Lawrence Co Classified Staff

Folks – please know I will be recommending to the Lawrence County Board of Education that Friday, June 6th will be our last day of school.  We will be in attendance all day on the 6th – a regular school day.  LCHS graduation will be at 7:00 p.m. that same evening.

Bear in mind the potential that spring rains/flooding could yet ill-impact our school calendar.

We are still waiting on promised direction and advice from the Kentucky Department of Education relative to the contractual make-up days required of both our certified and classified staff.

A tentative plan-of-action for making-up days was shared with your building principals this past Friday afternoon – based on the information that was available to us at that time.  As the KDE provides yet additional guidance/direction, we will incorporate that into our plans for the staff make-up days.
Mike Armstrong, Superintendent
Lawrence County Schools

Teachers, staff still in the dark on make-up days for them;

Here is the message shared with the principals:


Re: Staff Make-up Days/Professional Learning Days
As you know, the last day of school for students will be June 6.  It is my understanding that KDE Legal Services will be providing guidance relevant to staff make-up days/time. 

As of 3:00 p.m. today, this guidance has not been received.  The district has been busy planning professional learning activities based on the DIP, SIPs, Commissioner’s recommendations, and upcoming implementation of PGES in preparation for make-up days/time.  At this time (prior to receipt of KDE guidance), the school calendar and staff contracts reflect that there will be nine (9) make-up days/professional learning days. 

The extent of the district’s flexibility in these regards will not be known until the receipt of KDE guidance.  As of 3:00 p.m. today (Friday), principals and schools will have the option of working some of these make-up days/professional learning days on Saturdays if they choose to do so as it is the intent of the district to allow schools to conduct the majority of these professional learning days at their school site.  This is designed to give schools some flexibility in how the days are made up.  In the event that the forthcoming guidance form KDE affords additional flexibility, the district would obviously consider adding KDE approved options to its plan for making up the days/time.
Principals will receive training in the train-the-trainer format (for upcoming Saturday and/or June professional learning days to be led by Principals) at the district office on the following dates:
·        April 15  – PGES Training Planning Session and Initial Training Session with Wayne Stevens (10:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.)
·        April 23  – PGES Training Session with Wayne Stevens
·        April 25 – CCI/PLC Training Session with Cassandra Webb and Rhonda Colvin
·        May 14 – Potential PGES follow-up training with Wayne Stevens
Professional Learning Days Scheduled at this time:
·        June 9 – PGES Student Growth Goals and Enduring Skills with Wayne Stevens
·        June 10 – Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)/Small Group by Content Area/Special Education
I will forward any/all additional information as it becomes available to me, specifically KDE guidance relevant to staff make-up days/time.
Please let me know if you have any questions, etc.
Vernon Hall
Director of Pupil Personnel & District Personnel
Lawrence County Schools

Big Sandy student is musician, farmer in addition to becoming an electrician...
 A step back in time

Jared GoforthJared Goforth


PAINTSVILLE, Ky. – Jared Goforth is a lot of things, but he’s most proud of being a refreshing step back in time.
Goforth, 20, of Inez, is studying to be an electrician and will graduate in May with an Associate of Applied Science degree in General Occupational Technical Studies.  He will also earn 11 credentials, including diplomas in Motor Controls Electrician, Industrial Electrician and Construction Electrician, and certificates in Electrical Construction, Electrical Trainee Level I, Electrical Trainee Level II, Residential Electricity Level I, Residential Electricity Level II, Electrical Motor Controls Level I, Electrical Motor Controls Level II and Solar/Photovoltaic Technologies.
“I’ve been busy,” said Goforth, chuckling. “Attending school here has been a great experience. The teachers care, and I love the hands-on approach to learning.”
Goforth explored technical careers while taking exploratory classes at the Martin County Area Technology Center while attending Sheldon Clark High School.
“Electricity really became my interest, and it was something I thought I could make a career of,” he said.
Goforth already has several careers.  He’s an accomplished musician.  Every Thursday, Goforth, who played three years with the Kentucky Opry Junior Pros, entertains crowds at Front Porch Pickin’ at the Country Music Highway Museum in Paintsville as the banjo player for Black Powder Express.
His love for the banjo started as a young child, listening to bluegrass and gospel music with his grandfathers.  Goforth asked his parents for a banjo for Christmas when he was 11 years old.  He got what he wanted and taught himself how to play.
“It’s been a fun way to learn,” said Goforth, who owns six banjos and 11 instruments, including fiddles and guitars. “There’s something about strapping on the banjo that takes me to a whole other place.”
During the summer months, you’ll find Goforth playing at bluegrass festivals across Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia. “It’s our busy time of the year,” he added.
Summer months also mean gardening.  Goforth plants nine gardens on his family farm on Fluty Lick, located near the Martin County and Lawrence County line outside of Inez, Ky.
He has a tractor – a 1953 model that he completely refurbished – but prefers to use a horse-drawn plow.
“My parents tell me I am a 20-year-old trapped in a 70-year-old body, in a good way,” he said, laughing.
Goforth also raises pigs and chickens and is in the process of converting an old cellar on his property into a smokehouse.
“Jared will be fine in this world,” said Charles Vanhoose, an instructor of electrical technology on the Mayo campus of Big Sandy Community and Technical College. “I hear him tell stories of how he has plowed a neighbor’s garden or helped them wire a building. He has a heart of gold.”

Jared Goforth, fourth from left, plays his banjo during a break in his electrical technology class on the Mayo campus of Big Sandy Community and Technical College. Goforth is shown with Kyle Griffith, Ryan Barber, Nik Slone, Instructor Charles Vanhoose, Dustin Jackson and Andy Penix.  Jared Goforth, fourth from left, plays his banjo during a break in his electrical technology class on the Mayo campus of Big Sandy Community and Technical College. Goforth is shown with Kyle Griffith, Ryan Barber, Nik Slone, Instructor Charles Vanhoose, Dustin Jackson and Andy Penix.  
It isn’t unusual for Vanhoose to learn from his students. “It happens all the time,” he added.  With Goforth’s help, Vanhoose is learning to play the banjo.
“Jared has stayed after class a few times to show me some chords and techniques,” said Vanhoose. “He even went so far to suggest some videos to help me along the way. Jared is another example of the great students we have here at Big Sandy.”
After graduation, Goforth plans on working in the electrical field.
“And I’ll always be playing my music and farming,” he said, smiling.
To learn more about the Electrical Technology program on the Mayo campus of BSCTC, contact Vanhoose at (606) 788-2888 or email

by Joshua L. Ball
Director of Communications, Marketing and Public Relations
Big Sandy Community and Technical College

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