KDE receives community input on principal search at Kentucky School for the Deaf

Meeting notice graphic featuring the Kentucky Department of Education and United We Learn logos

News Release

Media Contact: Toni Konz Tatman

Chief Communications Officer

Office: (502) 564-2000, ext. 4602

Advisory 23-169


June 1, 2023

Picture of a group of people sitting in a school gym watching a person at the front using sign language.

Former KSD student Jason Smith communicates with the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community during an in-person forum on May 31, 2023, to discuss the next principal at KSD. (Photo by Joe Ragusa, Kentucky Department of Education)

KDE receives community input on principal search at Kentucky School for the Deaf

(DANVILLE, KY) – Kentucky School for the Deaf (KSD) supporters got the chance to express their opinions on the search for a new principal during a series of forums in May.

The two forums – one virtual forum on May 24 and one in-person forum on May 31 – served as opportunities for stakeholders in the Deaf and Hard of Hearing communities to inform the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) and help the hiring committee make critical and informed decisions throughout the process.

More than 100 people participated in the two forums.

“I want to thank everyone who took the time to participate in these forums," said Kentucky Education Commissioner Jason E. Glass. "This school serves as an important fixture in the Deaf and Hard of Hearing education community and I appreciate how passionate members of the community are about making sure KSD’s next leader has top-tier qualities.”

Current KSD Principal Toyah Robey is retiring on June 30 after six years with the school.

Glass said he is committed to ensuring KDE finds the best possible candidate to lead KSD.

Among the priorities for a new principal, several Deaf and Hard of Hearing community members expressed a desire to have a principal that is fluent in American Sign Language.

“I think the challenge will be if they don’t sign, the faculty, staff and students are going to be guided by someone who can’t communicate with us,” said former KSD student Bethany Yance, who also stressed the importance of having a Deaf role model as principal. “We can do what anyone else can do, we can be what anyone else can be, and it’s important to lead by example.”

Former KSD student Jason Smith said he wants someone who is already embedded in the Deaf and Hard of Hearing education community so KSD can stay up to date.

“I value and cherish this school and the Deaf community so much. This is our place. This is our home,” said Smith. "We need someone who knows how to run a school for the Deaf and is part of our community.”

Picture of a woman standing up in front of people using sign language.

Former KSD Athletic Director Lisa Kingsley speaks about her desire to have renewed investment in the school’s athletics during the May 31 in-person forum on a new principal for the school. (Photo by Joe Ragusa, Kentucky Department of Education)

During the virtual forum, KSD Teacher Byron Wilson said he wants a principal that’s dedicated to KSD.

“The teachers here at KSD would love to see the new principal be committed to stay with the school for the long term,” said Wilson.

The conversations sometimes veered toward how a principal could help recruit staff to the campus.

“Instead of waiting for them to come to us, we need to approach them and say, ‘We want you here,’ so that we can get the top people at our school,” said forum participant Clyde “Buddy” Mohan.

And one of the common themes during both forums was how much KSD means to the attendees. Former KSD student and teacher Archie Harris said he and his family have strong ties to the school.

"KSD has enriched the educational history of this state tremendously," he said.

All the information gathered from the KSD Principal Profile Survey (which closes at 11 p.m. ET on Friday, June 2) and the two forums will be used by the hiring committee as it is interviewing candidates to ensure KSD has the principal who will be the best fit for the school and the students it serves.

Requirements for the next KSD principal include:

  • Administrative certification from the Kentucky Education Professional Standards Board for the performance of school principal duties;
  • Demonstrated successful leadership in working with students, staff, parents and the general public; and
  • Three or more years of experience in curriculum and instruction development and implementation with direct experience assisting teachers and administrators in curriculum implementation required.

Priority consideration will be given to candidates with Deaf and Hard of Hearing education experience or American Sign Language skills.

KDE hopes to have a new principal in place at KSD by July 1.

If you would like to receive updates directly from KDE about the principal search, please fill out the KSD Principal Search information Google Form.