New Butler County Superintendent Robert Tuck, far left, works during a school board meeting July 14.

New Butler County Superintendent Robert Tuck, far left, works during a school board meeting July 14. Also shown are, from left, board Chair Amy Hood Waddle, Vice Chair Delbert Johnson and Finance Officer Eric Elms, standing.
Photo submitted

Editor’s Note: This is the 10th of a series of stories Kentucky Teacher is running about new superintendents for the 2020-2021 school year.

By Jim Gaines

Robert Tuck came well-prepared into the job of Butler County Schools superintendent. He knew he was hired in June, so he had time before his July 1 start date to confer with retiring Superintendent Scott Howard.

And Tuck already had been assistant superintendent for three years, with experience in Butler County not only as a teacher and administrator, but as a 1992 graduate of Butler County High School. He’s a Butler County native and has a daughter in Butler County Middle School now.

Tuck earned a bachelor’s degree in social sciences teaching, followed by a master’s in educational leadership and Rank 1 certifications in Level 2 leadership, director of pupil personnel (DPP), and assistant superintendent, all from Western Kentucky University.

In fall 1998, after getting his bachelor’s degree, he began teaching social studies at Butler County High School.

“My first five years, I coached football and basketball as assistant,” Tuck said.

Then he became softball coach, and in 2001 took over as head football coach. He remained in that role until 2009.

After 10 years of teaching, Tuck moved to Butler County Middle School as assistant principal for four years, then principal for three years more.

“The last five years I moved over here to the Board of Education, where I served as instructional coordinator and DPP,” Tuck said. “And then three years ago the title of assistant superintendent was added on.”

Butler County has about 2,200 students in two elementary, one middle and one high school.

Tuck said he believes in the “whole child approach;” that schools should help students develop emotionally, academically and in practical skills. What schools do with Butler County’s children determines what the county’s future looks like, he said.

“We are kind of the boots on the ground in building our community,” Tuck said.

As he takes over as superintendent, the district is trying to further develop its culture under strain, he said.

“Of course, right now the main thing is trying to establish our reopening plan,” Tuck said. “That’s pretty much what all superintendents are doing.”

When the COVID-19 crisis is past, he wants to see the district grow, developing common protocols across its schools and making sure students at every level are ready for their next transition, he said.

Tuck served on Morgantown City Council from 1999 to 2002, so he has a working knowledge of the local political scene. In that time, he also served as president of the local industrial holding corporation.

When Tuck became head football coach, he decided not to run for office again, so he could devote all his attention to coaching.

“I love leadership. That was one of the reasons why I became a coach,” Tuck said. “I’ve tried to use those skills, because as a leader that’s what you are: a coach. You’re helping develop other leaders.”