By Greg Bird
The McCreary County Board of Education voted unanimously to name the next Superintendent of the McCreary County School District after meeting in special session Tuesday night.
The Board met in executive session for nearly an hour during the meeting to discuss the appointment. After returning to open session Board Chairman Dustin Stephens announced McCreary County native Corey Keith, and current Superintendent of the Garrard County School District, will be offered the position and will take office on July 1.
Keith, a 1989 graduate of McCreary Central High School, began his teaching career at the Millersburg Military Institute in 1994, taught locally at both Whitley City and McCreary County middle schools between 1995 and 2006. He then moved on to become the Principal of LaRue County Middle School through 2010, when he joined the Kentucky Department of Education as an Educational Recovery Specialist and Leader through 2014. He then accepted the Assistant Superintendent position in Garrard County in 2014 before being named Interim Superintendent in 2016, and has served as Superintendent since 2017.
In a statement released to the Voice Tuesday night, Keith said he was excited for the opportunity to move back to McCreary County.
“It is with great excitement that I have accepted the position of Superintendent of McCreary County Schools,” he said. “I appreciate the trust and confidence that the Board of Education has placed in me. I am really looking forward to working with the great students, educators and community.”
The Board will offer Keith a four-year contract with an annual salary of $134,500. Stephens said the salary was negotiated between the two parties following the initial interview last week, and Board Attorney Tim Crawford will conduct the final negotiations to finish the final details of the contract.
According to the Kentucky Department of Education Keith was signed to four-year contract with the Garrard County Board of Education in April 2017 and was being paid an annual salary of $116,655 plus standard benefits. The previous McCreary County School District Superintendent was originally hired with a salary of just over $109,000 per year, but last December the Board of education voted to award him a raise to about $133,000.
“I think this is one of the best investments we have made in our children in a long time,” Stephens said after the meeting. “We looked at very highly sought after and experienced superintendents.”
The search for a new Superintendent officially began in March after the suspension and subsequent resignation of Michael Cash after allegations of inappropriate behavior between him and staff emerged.
The Kentucky School Boards Association helped the Board conduct a search for Cash’s successor when the search began in earnest. A total of 15 applications for the position were received and forwarded to a search committee to review the applications and narrow the field to a select few for the Board to consider.
The screening committee reviewed and forwarded four names of potential candidates to the Board on May 16, but the Board was under no obligation to follow the recommendation and could expand the search as they saw fit. Chairman Stephens said the Board reviewed the applications of the candidates forwarded to them, and chose to interview just one of the four.
Board Attorney Tim Crawford confirmed Tuesday night that Keith was not one of the original 15 applications submitted to the KSBA for consideration when the position was first advertised.
Using their authority to expand their search beyond the committee’s recommendations, Keith was apparently invited to interview for the post last week.
Keith was been married to his wife, Rhonda for 24 years. Together they have three children: Hannah -20 , Rebekah -15, and Abigail- 14.
He holds degrees from the University of Kentucky and Eastern Kentucky University and certifications from Union College.
The Voice will endeavor to interview Keith once he assumes office in the next few weeks.