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Listen, Look, and Learn

School Superintendent Dr. John Gunn is on the job and staying busy

By Eugenia Jones

Since stepping into his new position as McCreary County School District Superintendent on July 1, Dr. John Gunn has been busy “listening, looking, and learning” as he acclimates himself to his new home county and the school district he will lead.

Dr John Gunn

Dr. Gunn, a 34-year career educator coming to McCreary County from his last position in Hopkinsville, KY, and his family have settled in to a new home in Pine Knot.  Gunn is no stranger to the McCreary County area as he previously visited the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area on numerous occasions to enjoy hiking, camping, and horseback riding.

“I like outdoor activity,” Dr. Gunn noted with a grin.  “Hunting, fishing, gardening, driving my tractor.  I’m thankful to be here.  I’ve also been very impressed by the fact that I’ve already been invited to church four different times.”

Rightfully so, Dr. Gunn is in the process of learning the community.

“Right now, the most important thing I can do is listen, look, and learn,” Dr. Gunn observed.  “I want to get to know the community, the staff, and the students.”

One of Dr. Gunn’s leading priorities is the development of positive school culture and climate.

“Having positive school climate and culture are at the top of the list in importance,” Dr. Gunn commented.  “Positive morale in students, staff, and community lends itself to a healthy and positive environment which leads to student achievement and learning.”   

Dr. Gunn’s educational philosophy is student focused.

“Every decision we make-from small to large-must be about students,” Dr. Gunn noted.  “People come first.  It’s all about relationships.  Parents trust us with their children, and it is up to us to make sure their children are totally safe and secure.”  

Dr. Gunn says McCreary County has no reason to fear accountability.

“I looked at the McCreary County school data before I came here,” Dr. Gunn shared.  “This district can be competitive with any school district in Kentucky.  There is no reason to shy away from accountability.”

McCreary County’s latest school superintendent has a desire to reach all students by empowering them to master the skills needed to be successful in life.

“High schools across the nation spend an extraordinary amount of time on students who are college oriented,” Dr. Gunn observed.  “However, approximately 75% of students across the nation don’t attend college.  We need to spend an equal amount of time on vocational and technical skills.  There is a big demand for that in our communities.”

“Of course, the “experts” hand us down a clear cut academic curriculum made up of what they think is important,” Gunn continued.  “But I feel aspects of the “hidden” curriculum are equally important-things such as treating others with respect, learning to do your best every day, being kind, asking for forgiveness, and being compassionate for those who have less.  Those are all important lessons to learn.”

As for his first year as a school superintendent in McCreary County, Dr. Gunn is approaching it with unbridled enthusiasm.

“I intend to do the best job for the students and citizens of McCreary County,” Dr. Gunn said with a smile.  “I want to make sure every dollar is spent wisely because those dollars are investments in children and in the community.  By working together, I know we are going to accomplish a lot of fun, interesting, and exciting things.”

(The public is invited to a “Meet & Greet” to welcome and introduce Dr. Gunn to the community.  The “Meet & Greet” will be Tuesday, July 19 from 6:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. at the McCreary Central High School Gymnasium.)

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