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Citing a job offer from the Kentucky Department of Education, Owen County School District Superintendent David Raleigh resigned from his post Monday, effective no later than Oct. 12.
Raleigh said he was not immediately interested in the position with KDE.
“I’m happy with the work we’re doing in Owen County,” Raleigh said during Monday’s Owen County Board of Education meeting. “Our students are meeting benchmarks on the ACT and our attendance is up. When I first came here, I said I wanted to approve student achievement and attendance and that’s happening.”
Raleigh said he would be taking the position of education recovery leader and would be working with the principal and leadership team at Robert Frost Middle School in Louisville.
Raleigh’s resignation comes just weeks after the Kentucky Office of Education Accountability released an investigative report critical of some instances of district spending.
“The timing is just coincidental,” Raleigh said. “I spent two years trying to make folks feel good about kids and academic achievement. It’s all an interpretation, the OEA’s investigation was just one of those interpretations. OEA investigations happen all over the state of Kentucky all the time.”
In his letter of resignation, Raleigh said he enjoyed his responsibilities as superintendent of the Owen County School District, but was drawn to the challenges of working in lower performing schools and districts which the position with KDE offers.
Raleigh became superintendent just a little over two years ago after the board opted to not renew former superintendent Mark Cleveland’s contract.
“When I first came to Owen County, we were at the bottom of the (Ohio Valley Educational Cooperative) region,” Raleigh said. “The region is made up of about 13 districts and since then we’ve moved up about halfway. My hope is that whoever comes in after me will continue to make this a student-centered district. … I hope the community kind of gets past all of the other stuff and supports the next superintendent.”
Owen County Board of Education Chairman Stuart Bowling said the board will move on and search for an interim superintendent.
“We’ll go back to the process of finding a new superintendent,” Bowling said. “...We’ll be making some contact hopefully (Tuesday) to see about availability (of an interim superintendent) and to see if there’s an interest and we’ll check with (Kentucky Department of Education) to seek other names of available interims.”
Bowling said he sees Raleigh’s motivation to leave the Owen County School District as an opportunity for another professional move.
“I just see it as an upward move,” Bowling said.
Owen County Board of Education Vice-Chairman Brett McDonald said he understands Raleigh’s decision.
“While the timing is certainly bad to say the least, I’ve never wanted to stand in the way when individuals have an opportunity to better themselves,” McDonald said. “Owen County schools deserves nothing less than a 100 percent commitment from its superintendent. I believe Mr. Raleigh has reached a point that doesn’t allow for this commitment any longer. I appreciate all that he’s done, and I wish him the best in his future endeavors.”
Messages left for board members Dr. Larry Johnson and Terry Patterson were not returned by press time Tuesday.
Board member Kimberly Hunter could not be reached for comment.
Owen County School District Director of Pupil Personnel Charlotte Elkins volunteered to head up a screening committee for the superintendent search, which is required by state law.
The screening committee must consist of two teachers, one board of education member, one principal, one parent and one classified employee.
Prior to appointing a new superintendent, the board must consider the screening committee’s recommendations, but is not required to take their recommendation.
James Crawford, attorney for the Owen County School District, said during Monday’s meeting that finding a superintendent during this time of the year could be difficult.
“It isn’t the best time to be looking for a superintendent the way this falls,” Crawford said. “There are better times during the year and this isn’t a good time.”
The board will meet again at 5:30 p.m., Sept. 24 in the Owen County Elementary School media center.