On Wednesday, Dr. Deanna Ashby will retire as Superintendent of the Hopkins County School System after five years.
Ashby said the change was bittersweet since she spent 29 years in the school system.
“I just felt it was the right time for me,” she said. “There were other doors opening, but it’s very difficult because that’s what I’ve been doing all my life, and I’m going to miss it.”
Ashby announced her retirement at the February 22 school board meeting, where the board unanimously accepted the decision.
A lot has happened in her five years as Superintendent, but Ashby said most things started with Superintendents before her.
“We tried to equip the school with resources for the whole child,” she said.
School resource officers and school nurses were already on campus, but she was able to expand it, so there were resource officers and a nurse on each campus. While she was superintendent, there are now also special education coaches and full-time curriculum coordinators.
“I feel like we were able to take it to the next level,” said Ashby.
Its leadership has been based on the Hopkins team and people understand that while the schools are competitive academically and athletically, when it comes to kids and teaching they are all one team, he said. she declared.
“We share our resources, we share our knowledge, we share our expertise so that if a student is enrolled in Southside Elementary and transferred to Jesse Stuart Elementary, they have continuity of teaching,” said Ashby. .
She wanted the team atmosphere to go beyond the classroom and into the community, so under her leadership, the school district reached out to community organizations, she said.
The school district contacted the Salvation Army to participate in a luncheon and was able to set up a few classrooms for students whose families were at the shelter, she said. They also contacted the Christian Food Bank and asked administrators to volunteer.
“It gave us a different perspective on Hopkins County and how we could be better servant leaders,” Ashby said.
One area she was proud of was bringing together school resource managers and school administrators to start conversations about how to make schools safer.
Something that she is also proud of and which is a little more recent is the creation of the Inclusion Committee. It started right before COVID-19, which bothered him a bit, but they were able to continue the meetings.
“Now we’re working with a consultant from Louisville, and we’re starting to talk about and dive into the academic performance of all minority students,” Ashby said. “As we have just launched this, I think it will have a very big impact on our school system and our children. “
The creation of the health working group was a major achievement for her and for the school. She said the task force was created because the county had a higher teenage suicide rate than any other district in Kentucky when it began its tenure as superintendent.
“We were able to set up the suicide prevention committee with the Ministry of Health,” she said.
This task force also helped exponentially during COVID-19, healthcare professionals, emergency management, law enforcement and the school system coming together to keep students and staff safe.
She said she has been fortunate enough to serve in different fields throughout her years in the school system, from guidance counselor to high school principal. She said it gave him different perspectives to consider as a superintendent, such as being a principal and having to fire earlier due to a snowy day or a student losing detention in a trash can and having to dig for it.
“I’ve tried to always stay in touch with these things, and I think it’s guided and helped me with the decisions I’ve made as superintendent,” Ashby said.
She said she has been fortunate to work with such hard-working groups, from directors to management teams and the board members themselves.
“They are an extremely hard working group who are go-getters, and I’m very proud of them,” said Ashby.
There have been great things done for the kids, she said, but there are also decisions that she would have changed if she had had all the information then.
“I hope people feel like I left it even better than when I found it, even though it was in great condition,” said Ashby.
She accepted a position with Studer Education, a company the school system has partnered with for the past four years to help develop a strategic plan and help revamp the school’s mission and vision, has t she declared.
“I will be the Kentucky representative for them and I will be working with several other districts on the processes that we developed while we were with Studer Education,” said Ashby.