HAZARD—The Hazard Middle School is on the hunt for some new leadership after Principal Vivian Carter resigned in order to take another position.
Carter, who served as principal for the last six years, said she is now the innovations coordinator for the Hazard Independent School System. The job is part of a groundbreaking venture on the part of the Kentucky Valley Educational Cooperative (KVEC) Appalachian Renaissance Initiative.
“This is an opportunity for her to share her enthusiasm and ability to work with others across the district,” Superintendent Sandra Johnson said.
KVEC received a Race to the Top–District grant from the U. S. Department of Education, a $30 million grant over the next four years that will benefit 17 school districts in Southeastern Kentucky, including Hazard City Schools.
“Each one of those 17 districts identified a person in their central office who will be their innovations coordinator,” said Jeff Hawkins, executive director of KVEC.
Hawkins continued, saying that Carter was one of 17 coordinators in the innitiative who will be the real driving force for innovation in the future.
“That person’s responsibility is to push each district toward innovation in a way that is particularly suited to that individual district, and then, to share the success they have with the other 16 and with a national audience,” he said.
Race to the Top is a competitive grant program, Hawkins explained, that’s aimed at recreating the educational system as we know it and focusing on making sure every child has a quality, personalized education by a quality teacher led by a quality principal every single day. Hawkins said it is a broad program that focuses on college and career-readiness, and will also incorporate Next Generation Classrooms and advanced technology.
Carter said she is looking forward to playing her part in the program.
“Really, I’m just very excited,” Carter said. “It’s a new opportunity for all of us in this school district.”
“Our district, of course, is very small,” she added, “but we have an elementary, a middle school, and a high school. One teacher from each of those three schools and myself will be trying new ideas and new strategies and new activities. We have a vision that we are going to make learning more relevant, more effective, and more enjoyable for all of our students.”
Carter said the main goal in all of this is to make sure to prepare the students for the future. Superintendent Johnson said she has faith that Carter can do just that.
“She has been very innovative in the school itself,” Johnson said, speaking of Carter’s influence at Hazard Middle School. “Their test scores have improved. This year, they were a proficient school.”
Johnson said a new principal has not been named, but the board is in the process of hiring a replacement.
“I’ve absolutely loved my job as principal, and it was a hard decision to make,” Carter said. “But, now, I’ll be working with all three schools. Instead of just one group, I will have students in all the schools, from preschool all the way through 12th grade. So, … I’ll be involved in their lives even more.”
She ended by saying, “When you reward children and you celebrate their success and you let them know that you care, there’s nothing any more important than the student knowing that they have a whole school of adults who care about them.”
Mindy Miller can be reached at 606-436-5771, or on Twitter @HazardHerald.