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Damian Johnson to lead Jenkins schools



The search for a new superintendent for Jenkins Independent Schools ended when the Jenkins Board of Education hired district technology director Damian Johnson to fill the position.

The vacancy was created when the board declined to extend Superintendent Mike Genton’s contract at the conclusion of his fourth year at the April board meeting.

Johnson, who has also been duties as the district’s athletics director, is a 1993 graduate of Jenkins High School and has held several other positions in his nearly 20-year career with Jenkins Schools. He was the valedictorian of his graduating class and a member of the National Honor Society. He attended Pikeville College, where he was graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree, majoring in Secondary Education – Social Studies, with a minor in Computer Science Education.

Johnson received a Master’s Degree from Morehead State University, a certificate in Guidance Counseling for grades 5-12. He holds a Rank One Certification from Union College with a Certification of Instructional Leadership – Supervisor of Instruction, and he completed his Certification of Instructional Leadership – School Superintendent at Morehead State University in 2019.

At the April meeting, the board voted to direct board attorney Tim Crawford to conduct the search for a new superintendent and form a search committee. Last Thursday, before the regular meeting, Crawford brought three candidates to the board and Johnson was chosen to serve as superintendent. He will assume the office on July 1, when Genton’s contract expires. Until that time, Interim Superintendent Sherry Wright will continue to hold the post.

The board conducted interviews and made its decision in a May 26 closed session, and voted to hire Johnson after opening the meeting again. The board also posted an opening for the high school principal position. No further information was made available.

Crawford said he received seven applications for the position and the search committee worked throughout Memorial Day weekend to narrow the number to three. The board entered closed session near the end of the meeting to evaluate applications for future employment. After a short session, Johnson was called in. Then Crawford made the announcement that Johnson had been awarded a four-year contract as Superintendent of Schools. Johnson said he knows he has quite a bit work to do and wants to address several matters as soon as possible.

In other business, District Finance Officer Candala Gibson presented the tentative budget for the 2020-2021 school year of a total of $4.7 million. She said she expects Jenkins to start the school year with a General Fund of $3.3 million, but stressed that the budget is tentative and depends on state approval. She added that the tentative budget had been submitted to the state’s test website, where it was approved.

Elementary Principal Amanda Anderson reported that she and her staff have developed a slide show for incoming students and plan to conduct a “drive through” for students to pick up awards and close out the year with goodbyes. Students and families will stay in their cars and follow the route for drop off and pick up. She also announced that Jenkins Elementary has been certified as a Level One school.

Anderson said the school probably haven’t seen the end of virtual leaning and her staff will complete its Google training. Teacher standards and the Certified Evaluation Plan have been completed and there will be some changes in Non-Traditional Instruction (NTI) for the coming year. The enrollment for 2020 was estimated to be 400.

Prior to being named superintendent, Johnson gave the regular technology report, and agreed with Anderson that digital learning will play a larger role than ever before in schools. He said that there are a lot of uncertainties for the coming school year, including when and how they will start the new school year. He said it’s possible that some teachers will be teaching to empty rooms with the content streamed to students, but nothing is set.

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