By Karen Gutierrez
The Cincinnati Enquirer
Wanted: Superintendents. Location: Just about anywhere along U.S. 27.
"It must be in the water," jokes Patrick Clore, outgoing superintendent in Pendleton County.
Clore's district and three others along U.S. 27, a major highway running south from Newport to the Tennessee border, are searching for new leaders. A fifth district, Paris Independent, just made its hire.
With so many jobs open, some candidates are popping up on more than one list. Anthony Strong, principal of Campbell County High School, is a finalist for superintendent in both Campbell and Pendleton counties. He lives in Pendleton, which is adjacent to Campbell.
James Francis, superintendent of the Hazard Independent School District, is one of two finalists in Newport and among five in Pendleton.
The biggest district with an opening is Fayette County. Its superintendent will earn about $200,000 and supervise 57 schools. The three Northern Kentucky districts, by contrast, range in size from four to seven schools and will offer salaries around $100,000.
The vacancies have resulted from retirements and clashes with school boards.
In Newport, long-time Superintendent Dan Sullivan is retiring after 47 years in education.
In Campbell County, Superintendent Roger Brady retired last summer in the midst of controversy over personnel decisions.
In Pendleton, Clore's contract was not renewed because of philosophical differences with the board, he says. As of now, he plans to retire, but "as active a person as I am and as much as I love education, I don't know if I can stay retired," he says.
In Fayette, former Superintendent Ken James left after only nine months to become Arkansas' director of education.
Fayette has been rocked by ethnic tension, political battles and a $4.7 million budget shortfall.
"The pot's really been boiling down there (in Lexington) for the last couple years," Sullivan says. "A lot of folks wouldn't apply for that job."
Newport and Campbell County are expected to announce their picks any day now.
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