Editor’s Note: This is the 12th of a series of stories Kentucky Teacher is running about new superintendents for the 2021-2022 school year.
Robert Asberry started on a new career path July 1 as the Hancock County superintendent. He succeeds Kyle Estes, who stepped down as superintendent after nine years of service.
An opportunity to return to his alma mater in 1996 to coach boys’ basketball encouraged Asberry to switch his college career path from pre-law to education.
“Once I started coaching again, there was no going back,” he explained. “I knew what I wanted to do. I had that passion, so I changed my major and ended up being a high school math and history teacher.”
Asberry is originally from Ohio County, where he spent his first 24 years in education. Right after college, he taught math and social studies for eight years at Ohio County High School. During that time, he also coached basketball, golf and served as the athletic director.
He then taught for three years at Ohio County Day Treatment before becoming the principal in 2008. In 2011, he returned to Ohio County High School as the assistant principal and in 2016 became principal. He served as principal for five years before accepting the position as Hancock County Superintendent.
Ohio County is right next door to Hancock County. The Hancock County School District includes four schools – two elementary schools, a middle school and a high school. The district serves 1,627 students.
Getting to know everyone has been one the biggest challenges, he said.
“I felt like I was prepared for the job, but it’s been different not knowing as many people. Everyone has been helpful and supportive and I’m really enjoying it,” Asberry said.
He admits that stepping into leadership roles comes naturally to him. His competitive side helps him with strategic thinking and getting his “juices flowing.”
“I’ve always felt like I’ve been a teacher, coach, leader throughout my life,” he explained.
His primary goal for the upcoming school year is focused on improving instruction. Asberry has spent time meeting one-on-one with staff members in the central office to gather data for a strategic plan.
“My passion is in instruction. Student learning is the fundamental purpose of education. That’s my focus. I’ve made sure that everyone here in central office makes that their focus,” he said.
“I want to improve instruction in every building in the district. I want to name and claim each student to where students receive the instruction, intervention, remediation, anything they need, to help their learning. I’m all about having systems in place so students don’t fall through the cracks.”
Asberry earned his bachelor’s in education in 1996, master’s in administration in 2000, Rank 1 with endorsements in the areas of director of pupil personnel, supervisor of instruction, and administration in 2001 from Western Kentucky University. He earned his superintendent endorsement from the University of the Cumberlands in 2019.
A week before he learned of his appointment as Hancock County superintendent, Asberry earned the prestigious Kentucky Secondary Schools Principal of The Year award for his service at Ohio County High School. The award from the Kentucky Association of Secondary School Principals recognizes excellence in instructional leadership, student achievement, closing gaps, school culture and climate, and community contributions.
Asberry has been married to his wife, Liz, for 24 years. The couple have two children, a son, Aiden, and a daughter, Avery. Outside of school, Asberry enjoys playing golf and spending time with his family.