LEXINGTON, Ky. - Across the Commonwealth of Kentucky, there’s currently only one minority working as superintendent of a public school district. To change that, a state program is aimed at training more people of color to be potential district leaders.
The Kentucky Department of Education established its Minority Superintendent Intern Program nine years ago. Since then, three African Americans have been hired for the top leadership role at different school districts across the state. But there’s still not much diversity among superintendents at Kentucky’s 174 public school districts.
Dr. Ann Lyttle-Burns, a principal at Fayette County Public Schools, says that’s not surprising. A native of eastern Kentucky, the only African American teacher Burns had throughout K-12 was her own relative.
“There are very few minority teachers, period, statewide as well as nationwide. So when you’ve got that few to pick from, it really isn’t surprising that all the way to the top you’ve got even fewer.”
Lyttle-Burns was selected to the internship two years ago and was mentored by Dr. Elaine Farris, Kentucky’s first African American superintendent (and current superintendent at Clark County Public Schools). She says the program gave her insight into human resources, school board decisions, student achievement, and budgeting.
“Whatever [Farris'] schedule was was my schedule every day,” says Lyttle-Burns.
Women are also underrepresented at the superintendent level. There are fewer than 40 females in that role in Kentucky.
Applications for the minority superintendent internship will be accepted until August 13.