The five new chiefs of the Jefferson County Public Schools central administration will soon begin rebuilding the office. The team includes a former JCPS principal and current No Child Left Behind expert who was named the district’s new Chief Academic Officer.
Superintendent Donna Hargens announced the new hires for four positions this week. The district’s chief financial officer, Cordelia Hardin, was already in place. The announcement comes after audit firm Phi Delta Kappa International recommended the district streamline communication to Hargens through five chief positions.
Of the five new chiefs, two were hired from within the district. The other three will begin work March 12, said Hargens. They’ll start by creating new positions for subordinates and building a new administrative structure, she said.
“Since I started we froze vacant positions. So we have 108 vacant positions that are frozen that we might be able to eliminate when we look at, again, how is each position aligned with student achievement,” Hargens said.
Former Atkinson Elementary School principal Dewey Hensley was named chief academic officer. Atkinson Elementary School was one of the lowest-performing schools in the state before Hensley helped turn it around.
Hensley currently oversees the No Child Left Behind Standards for the Kentucky Department of Education, but he said he jumped at the chance to be the new chief academic officer.
“Dr. Hargens’ vision seems so crystal clear to make Jefferson County about the success and achievement of each child and I just wanted to be a part of that,” he said.
Hensley’s chief academic office will oversee six regional assistant superintendents who will report to him, and they’ll be responsible for developing a common curriculum, based on the curriculum management audit presented to the school board this year, he said.
“You see how this naturally breaks down the walls and moves people out of their silos into larger collaborative groups,” Hensley said.
Hargens says the five new chief positions were picked from a diverse pool of talented applicants, and says with the chiefs in place the district is picking up speed.
“We’ve got the start of a strategic plan, we’ve got the recommendations from the audit, so we’ll quickly be putting them together and moving forward,” she said.
Hargens could not say when any new hires might take place.