Whitesburg KY

Jenkins hires boss, outlaws yoga pants

The Jenkins Independent School System has a new superintendent.

In a unanimous vote, the Jenkins Board of Education hired Fredrick Bowling away from his job as principal of Valley Elementary in Pike County. The vote came near the end a special meeting July 31 and wraps up a process that took several months to accomplish. Former Superintendent Deborah Watts announced her intention to retire at the May board meeting and the board voted at that time to begin the search process. Bowling was one of four final candidates.

Bowling told the board and small audience who attended the meeting that he is excited about the possibilities the Jenkins system offers and answered with an enthusiastic “I do,” when the position was formally offered. Board Vice Chairman Tracy Goff made the motion to hire Bowling to a four-year contract with an annual salary of $90,000.

Bowling is a 1989 graduate of Pikeville College and did his graduate work at Morehead State University. He has served in education for 21 years, the last nine as a principal. Before he became principal of Valley Elementary, the largest school in the Pike County system, he served three separate schools simultaneously as principal while they were in the process of consolidating. He told the board that Valley Elementary is the current academic leader in the Pike County system.

Bowling said he grew up on Caney, near Virgie, and is very familiar with Jenkins — both the school system and the city. He added that the Jenkins system has a rich tradition and it is his intention to present the Jenkins students with a “world class education.”

“I can do this job,” said Bowling. “We’re going to do it together. I’m excited to be part of the system.

Board Chairman Durward Narramore Jr. said the Kentucky School Boards Association conducted the initial steps in the process, which included advertising the vacancy and vetting the candidates’ credentials. The KSBA then turned the list of candidates over to the board’s selection committee, which was charged with presenting four or five candidates to the board. Narramore said that the initial five candidates had been cut to four when one accepted another position. The board interviewed the top four last week and after going into closed session at the beginning of the special meeting emerged with the recommendation to hire Bowling.

Narramore was enthusiastic about the selection of Bowling, saying that Valley Elementary, with 1,000 students, is larger than the entire Jenkins system. Goff joined Narramore in thanking the selection committee for its hard work and said he is very pleased with Bowling as well.

Retiring Superintendent Watts told the board she has great expectations in the future for Jenkins and that her experience had been a wonderful opportunity. She added that the board and staff had been great to work with.

The board also held a separate meeting on July 30 to approve several changes to the district’s student handbook. The dress code was amended to ban yoga pants in school and the credit system was modified to accommodate block scheduling. The number of credits required to graduate will still exceed state requirements significantly.

The board also discussed the possible use of cell phones by students, although strictly for instructional purposes. Tracy Goff suggested the board pass that decision on to the new superintendent. The other changes were approved.

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