Principal changes come for Taylor School District

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All students in the district will receive free or reduced lunch this year

By Zac Oakes


Taylor County Middle School named a new principal at Tuesday’s Taylor County Board of Education meeting, while a vacancy for principal at Taylor County High School opened up. 

The personnel report presented at Tuesday’s meeting showed that Sara Tucker, who served as the interim principal at TCMS since January, was hired as the permanent principal at TCMS. Tucker was named interim principal following the resignation of former principal Danita Johnson. 

While one principal position in the district was filled, another has opened up. 

There is now a vacancy for the position of principal at Taylor County High School. Laura Benningfield, former principal at TCHS, is transferring to a position at the district’s central office as the director of district-wide programs, the position formerly held by incoming superintendent Charles Higdon, Jr. 

Benningfield has served as TCHS principal since 2014 and served as the school’s college and career readiness counselor for a year before that. 

The job posting for TCHS principal is open for applications until Sunday, July 1 at 11:59 p.m. 

Following the application period, the TCHS Site Based Decision-Making Council will consider the applications and ultimately make a hiring decision. 


In other news from Tuesday’s meeting: 

● All of the district’s students will now be eligible for free or reduced breakfast and lunch. Previously, the program was only able to be offered to elementary and middle school students, as it is calculated by percentage of students who qualify. Taylor County High School now has enough students that qualify to be able to offer the program to every student. 

● Superintendent Roger Cook proposed moving forward in discussions with a company named Verde Solutions regarding changing light fixtures in several of the district’s buildings, which also included adding occupancy sensors to all classrooms at TCIS and TCMS. Cook has also been in talks with the company about looking at an HVAC unit at TCMS that has had several issues. Due to a lack of information and previous discussion with the company, board member Deanna Hunt asked that the item be tabled until board members can discuss it more and gather more information. 

● The board voted to move its regular monthly meetings from the second Tuesday of each month to the second Monday of each month, due to scheduling conflicts with board members as several district activities and athletic events occur on Tuesday evenings. The meetings will remain at 5 p.m. at the board’s central office. 

● The board approved a memorandum of understanding with the Lake Cumberland District Health Department for the promotion of healthy adolescence and the reduction of teenage pregnancy and associated risk behaviors. Cook said the school district has participated in the program for nine years and he believes it is a valuable program in the district. Board Chair David Hall said Taylor County’s teen birth rate is higher than Kentucky’s rate, which is significantly higher than the United States rate. According to Kentucky Health Facts, Taylor County has a rate of 44 per 1,000 women between the ages of 15-19. 

● The school district will have a mediation hearing regarding potential litigation involving a company that provided roofing work at Taylor County High School. Cook said the company refuses to provide a warranty for the roof, which he said he believes was improperly installed due to a number of leaks that have occurred. Cook said he is withholding payment to the company until the situation is resolved. A judge ruled that there must be a mediation session before any litigation occurs. 

● Work is being done on the Tony Davis Meditation Park near the old Taylor County Elementary School and site of the future Central Kentucky Career Center. Work on the park has been at a standstill for a while, but Cook said they have recently been able to start doing some more work at the park. 

● Tuesday night was the last board meeting with Cook as the district’s superintendent. Each of the board members spoke of their appreciation for Cook and what he has done for the school district, as well as former board members Jim Cheatham and Gary Porter, who expressed their gratitude for Cook during his time as superintendent. 


Personnel Report

Retirements- Anita Gardner, Vicky Newton

New Hires- Laura Benningfield, director of district-wide programs; Jamie Judd, TCPC 1st grade; Sara Tucker, TCMS principal

Transfers- Patti Brockman, TCPC/TCIS music; Jennifer Etherington, TCIS office secretary; Krisinda Jeffries, TCIS 4th grade math; Michelle Payne, TCMS 6th grade math


The next meeting of the Taylor County Board of Education is scheduled for Monday, July 9 at 5 p.m. in the board room at the board’s central office on East Broadway.