LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – A Chicago educator with Kentucky connections has been selected as the first-ever principal of Carter G. Woodson Preparatory Academy, announced Fayette County Public Schools Acting Superintendent Marlene Helm Friday.
Jocelyn Mills, who most recently served as the principal of Chicago’s Barbara A. Sizemore Academy for students in grades K-8, started her new role just before spring break. Slated to welcome young boys in kindergarten, first and second grades starting with the 2021-22 school year, Carter G. Woodson Preparatory Academy is an elementary extension of the all-male academy for middle and high school students by the same name.
To be initially housed in the historic Johnson Building on East Sixth Street, the program will feature a science, technology, engineering, and math-focused curriculum, which will be taught through the lens of African-American history and culture, using culturally responsive teaching and learning strategies. The elementary program will welcome 150 boys at the kindergarten, first, and second grade levels in August, and expand each year until it is a K-5 school.
“Ms. Mills believes that ‘schools are not just part of a community, they are what transforms a community,’” Helm said. “Her enthusiasm and sense of urgency for serving students will be a very strong addition not only to our district, but especially to this particular program.”
Mills has more than 21 years of experience in the field of education, having served as a nationally board certified high school social studies teacher, a middle school principal, a high school principal and the program manager for the Kentucky Department of Education’s District of Innovation initiative.
“Ms. Mills brings a wealth of educational experiences with her, including more than 6 six years as principal of an African-American centric school, which aligns with the lens by which the Carter G. Woodson Preparatory Academy is designed,” said Elementary School Chief Faith Thompson, who oversees Carter G. Woodson Preparatory Academy. “She is definitely a learning leader, and a leader to watch and learn from.”
Mills holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Kentucky, and a master’s degree in teaching from East Tennessee State University. She completed the Educational Leadership Program at Western Kentucky University, and received her Certificate in Urban School Leadership from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education.