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Knott woman is chosen to head Jenkins schools




A Knott County woman has been named to replace John Shook as superintendent of the Jenkins Independent School System.

Deborah Watts, 55, of Mallie, will begin her four-year contract July 1. Shook announced his retirement earlier this spring after being employed seven years as the district’s superintendent.

“I think she will do an excellent job in the district,” said Shook.

Watts has been the finance officer for the Knott County School System for the past two years. Before that she spent four years as the curriculum assessment instructor for the Knott County School System and was principal at Beckham Combs Elementary School for four years.

“The board made the decision that her background and qualifications in curriculum and finance made her the best qualified to lead the Jenkins Independent School System at this time,” said Durward Narramore, chairman of the board.

Watts said becoming a superintendent has been her professional goal. She said she and the Jenkins Board of Eduction share the desire of wanting to hold the school district accountable for teaching all children at high levels.

“We want to make sure they are able to go to college and go into the career they desire,” said Watts.

Watts was one of five candidates chosen by a screening committee. The other candidates were Debbie Campbell, a distinguished educator for the Kentucky Department of Education who lives at Letcher; Robbie Fletcher, principal of Warfield Middle School in Martin County; Jeff May, superintendent of the Lawrence County School System; and Harvey Tackett, director of pupil personnel for the Jenkins system.

The screening committee consisted of board of eduction member Eileen Sanders, Jenkins Elementary School Principal Diane Baker, classified employee representative Paulette Sexton, certified employee representatives Leslie Burke and Brian Bentley, and parent representative Tina Holland.

The school board met June 9 and June 10 to interview the candidates in closed sessions. The board hired Watts after another closed session on June 12. The meetings were held without the media being notified.


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