New Livingston County superintendent returns to his roots

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Picture of a man wearing glasses, talking behind a podium.
Livingston County’s new superintendent, David Meinschein, from left, speaks to the Livingston County School Board on May 26, 2021, with his family members seated to the right.
Photo courtesy of David B. Snow, The Paducah Sun

Editor’s Note: This is the third of a series of stories Kentucky Teacher is running about new superintendents for the 2021-2022 school year.

By Shelby Stills
shelby.stills@education.ky.gov

David Meinschein, a Livingston Central High School graduate, returned home to begin his stint as superintendent on July 1. Meinschein succeeds Victor Zimmerman, who resigned on Feb. 9. Darryl Chittenden, who was superintendent until his retirement in 2015, took over as interim superintendent for Zimmerman.

After graduating from high school in 1989, Meinschein served in the Army from 1994 to 1999 with the 101st Airborne and the 25th Infantry divisions. He later worked for Anheuser-Busch and COVAD, a start-up technology company in San Jose, Calif., shortly before he decided to pursue education.

Meinschein said he chose education because he always has wanted to serve people. Although he enjoyed his time teaching, he believes he is better suited to be a leader.

“Leadership is what I have spent my entire adult life doing,” he said.

He previously served as an athletic director, a science teacher and an instructional coach at Mount Zion High School from 2001 to 2009, and as an assistant principal at Charles Drew High School – both in Clayton County, Ga, – from 2009 to 2011. He then moved back to Kentucky, where he worked in Ballard County schools as principal at Ballard Memorial High School from 2011 to 2015 and assistant superintendent from 2015 until he began his new position.

Meinschein has what he considers his “silver bullet” for education, which he says is providing great teachers and effective teaching.

“I know how to fix complex problems – it’s through people and competent, professional teachers. It’s through them that we’ll be able to get the outcomes that children deserve,” he said.

Meinschein said every day in education brings new and different challenges. He is confident that his previous leadership experience gives him a unique set of skills to solve the problems these schools may be facing.

Meinschein doesn’t anticipate that the COVID pandemic will be the biggest challenge for Livingston County this year.

“As an educator, I do not plan to use the pandemic as an excuse to keep us from meeting our goals of student achievement,” he said. He said that although he doesn’t know what obstacles lie ahead, he’s excited to get to work in Livingston County.

His three primary goals for this year are to “provide a world-class education, create an inclusive environment and get students involved in their communities.”

Meinschein earned his bachelor’s in biology from Murray State University in 1994, a master’s in secondary science education from Piedmont University (formerly known as Piedmont College) in 2004, an educational specialist leadership degree from Lincoln Memorial University in 2007, and a doctor of education from Murray State University in 2017.

Meinschein and his wife Mary, a nurse and a teacher, have seven children. Three of his adult children are scattered in South Carolina and Florida, another is a soon-to-be teacher, while the remaining three are still in school.

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