|Donald Pace chosen acting superintendent
By Tom Marshall
Senior Advocate writer
Veteran educator Donald Pace was chosen acting superintendent of Montgomery County Schools Tuesday night.
Pace, who lives in Winchester, begins his new role today (Thursday).
The Montgomery County Board of Education unanimously approved Pace as acting superintendent to serve until a new superintendent is selected. The board has targeted having a new superintendent in place by July 1.
Pace brings a wealth of experience to the table.
He currently serves as alumni representative for the Eastern Kentucky University Board of Regents, representative to the EKU Alumni Board, co-chair of the Kentucky Health and Insurance Committee for the Kentucky Retired Teachers Association, an ad-hoc proxy member of the Kentucky Group Health Insurance Board of the Kentucky Teacher Retirement System and a governor-appointed board member of the School Facilities Construction Commission.
His most recent role in public schools came as interim superintendent in Mason County Schools.
Pace took over there amid allegations of financial improprieties by former superintendent Tim Moore. A state auditor’s report had alleged “excessive spending” under Moore’s administration.
Montgomery County board members said they were impressed with how he handled the turmoil that swirled there.
Before that he was executive director/director of finance for the Central Kentucky Education Cooperative. He also served 12 years as superintendent of Clark County Schools from 1984-1999.
Pace has served as an administrator at the elementary, junior high and high school levels.
Among the numerous awards and recognitions Pace has received include the Distinguished Alumni Award from EKU, the Kentucky Dept. of Education’s Award for Reduction of Dropouts Program and the Educational Innovation Award by a Governor’s Task Force.
School board members said he had everything they were searching for in an acting superintendent. Board member Sharon Smith-Breiner noted his recent involvement with school facilities as a plus.
The board said it looked for candidates for acting superintendent through the Kentucky School Boards Association.
Board vice chair Bill Morgan explained what the board wanted.
“We want a superintendent that will address the needs of this community and the citizenry of parents and in particular our children,” he said. “That’s my only reason for serving on this board is the children.”
Morgan said the board was also looking for someone who will “keep the train on the tracks as we move forward.”
He applauded principals and teachers for keeping the focus on students amid “the garbage that’s going on out there.”
In other action, the board:
• Finalized the 2014-2015 school calendar.
Without any more missed days graduation will be held May 29 with the last day for teachers June 1.
The board has received clearance to use Election Day in May as an instructional day.
• Approved a 2015-2016 school calendar.
Under the plan, school would begin for students Aug. 13 and end May 20, 2016. School would be out Oct. 15-19, with three days instruction missed, for Court Days/Fall break. Thanksgiving break would include the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving Day and the Friday following off. Christmas break would be Dec. 21-Jan. 4. Spring break would be April 2-10, 2016, with five days instructional time missed.
Students would also be off Sept. 7 for Labor Day, Nov. 3 Election Day, Jan. 18 Martin Luther King Day, Feb. 15 President’s Day, March 18 KEA Day and May 17 Election Day.
The plan was approved by a 4-1 vote with Smith-Breiner casting the only dissenting vote.
• Heard from Bobby Stinnett, who complained that the rollout of the Chromebooks seemed rushed.
Stinnett also complained that students could access inappropriate material with them and that filters should not have to be used when they are working on homework.
Another complaint involved testing.
Because he has not been receiving appropriate answers from state officials, Stinnett said he will be removing his children from KPREP testing this year.
• Lifted a hiring freeze for some positions that the acting superintendent may choose to fill when he comes on board.
The board will meet again in regular session 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 28, at the Montgomery County High School cafeteria. Meetings are open to the public.