LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – New principals have been selected at four Fayette County Public Schools, Superintendent Manny Caulk announced on Friday. For three of the new leaders, stepping into their new roles will only require moving down the hall. The fourth will move just 3 miles down the road.
Named today were:
- Freda Asher, new principal of Mary Todd Elementary School
- Joe Gibson, new principal of Leestown Middle School
- Matt Marsh, new principal at Sandersville Elementary School
- Kevin Payne, new principal of Southern Middle School
“All four of our newest principals are familiar faces in our district,” said Caulk, noting that each of the principals selected served as either associate principals, academic deans or professional growth and effectiveness coaches. “It is a joy to see concrete results from our district’s investment in leadership development. Freda, Joe, Matt and Kevin are invested in the improvement efforts already underway in our schools and feel a sense of urgency to serve all students at high levels. I look forward to supporting them and continuing to watch them grow.”
Asher has nearly 28 years of experience in the field of education, including 19 years of teaching at Lansdowne Elementary, Southern Middle and Tates Creek High schools. For the past 9 years, Asher has worked as an administrator in FCPS, serving as an academic coach, curriculum coach and professional staff assistant at Lansdowne Elementary and professional staff assistant, administrative dean, and professional growth and effectiveness coach at Northern Elementary. During the spring of 2015, Asher also served as acting principal at Northern. Asher earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in special education from the University of Kentucky and a master’s degree in educational leadership from Eastern Kentucky University.
“The School Based Decision Making Council at Mary Todd Elementary School has worked as a cohesive group of decision-makers to find the best principal to lead their school,” said School Director Edwina Smith, who oversees Mary Todd Elementary. “Freda Asher brings years of teaching and administrative experience to a school that prides itself on providing excellence for all students. I look forward to supporting Ms. Asher and the staff at Mary Todd Elementary as they work collaboratively to ensure their students achieve at high levels and graduate prepared to excel in a global society.”
Gibson’s experience in education spans 21 years, beginning with service as a migrant education instructor and substitute teacher in Pike County, and as a para-educator with the Harrodsburg Independent Schools. His entire 13 year teaching career was spent at Leestown Middle School, where he became the administrative dean in 2010 and associate principal in 2012. Gibson holds a bachelor’s degree secondary education from Pikeville College, a master’s degree in secondary education from Georgetown College and a second master’s degree and Rank I in Instructional Leadership from Eastern Kentucky University.
“We become educators because we want to make a difference, and for Joe, making a difference for the kids and families in the Leestown community is his ‘mission,’” said School Director Jack Hayes, who oversees Leestown Middle. “He believes the school can become a benchmark of excellence, and he believes the Leestown team has capacity to make that happen. He’s going to do a fantastic job as the school’s new principal.”
Marsh has nearly 12 years of experience in the field of education, including 5 years of teaching at Northern and Sandersville elementaries. In 2010, he became an administrator at Sandersville Elementary, where he has been the professional growth and effectiveness coach and administrative dean. During the 2014-15 school year, he served as interim principal at Garden Springs Elementary when a vacancy occurred after the start of the school year. Marsh earned a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Kentucky, and a master’s degree in instructional leadership from Eastern Kentucky University, where he also earned his principal’s certification. He is currently working on his Rank I as an educational specialist and his superintendent’s certification at the University of the Cumberlands.
“I am excited that Mr. Marsh will be the next principal at Sandersville, said School Director Jimmy Meadows, who oversees Sandersville Elementary. “A leader of leaders, Matt is a great role model who will take all Sandersville scholars, staff and families to higher levels of engagement and excellence.”
Payne has nearly 11 years of experience in the field of education, including 8 years of teaching at Northern Elementary School in Fayette County. He has been at Southern Middle School since 2014, where he served as the professional growth and effectiveness coach and associate principal. Payne holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from the University of Kentucky, a master’s degree in educational leadership from Eastern Kentucky University, where he also earned his principal’s certification and Rank I as a supervisor of instruction.
“First, I want to compliment the Southern Middle School SBDM for their thorough work during the principal selection process,” said School Director Randy Peffer, who oversees Southern Middle. “We are all excited to have Mr. Kevin Payne step into the principal’s role after serving the school as the associate principal. His student-centered mindset, instructional leadership skills, and his working knowledge of Southern Middle, make a great recipe for continued success at the school.”
Asher, Gibson, Marsh, and Payne will officially assume their duties on July 1, 2017.