Knott County Superintendent Brent Hoover believes school and community go hand in hand and losing his friend and colleague, previous Superintendent Kim King, underscored that belief.
Hoover was named acting superintendent on May 27, 2021, just days after the death of King. She served as superintendent for 14 years and passed away at 56 after a long battle with breast cancer.
“I worked closely with the previous superintendent,” he said shortly after taking on the role. “The transition has not been overwhelming but has been challenging. Our board made a relatively quick move; it was a quick transition.”
Hoover is grateful for everyone coming together during a tough time.
“Because of the support and understanding that staff and community have provided, it’s allowed me to have a smooth transition,” he said. “We have one of the most supportive communities in the state.”
A graduate of Knott County High School, Hoover has lived and worked in the county his entire life. He began his teaching career in 1995 at Emmalena Elementary, a kindergarten through 8th-grade school. He worked there for three years until he transitioned to Knott County Central High, where he taught until 2009.
He accepted his first administrator role in 2009 as the district instructional supervisor and technology director. In 2013, he added transportation director and buildings and grounds director to his duties. In May 2021, he was appointed as the acting superintendent and three months later was named the new Knott County superintendent. Hoover began on July 1, 2021.
Knott County Schools serves more than 2,400 K-12 students throughout its seven schools. Hoover is personally invested in all students’ educational success to help the community as a whole flourish.
“I believe all children can learn at high levels. My staff and I believe that all children can learn when we are working to meet the needs of all of our children,” he said. “I understand this is a significant challenge due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Through strategic planning, our staff has the capacity to address learning loss and meet the needs of all students.”
When the COVID-19 pandemic first shut down schools in March 2020, Hoover was part of the team working to help provide resources for Knott County students who live in socioeconomically depressed areas without internet connections and at-home devices. Knott County worked hard to deliver a device in the hands of every student and provide hotspots for internet access.
“I worked with educational technology for 12 years. I felt very comfortable with EdTech, but we had this quick transition from in-person to virtual environment almost immediately,” he said. “That was very challenging to do while also preventing loss of learning.”
Hoover’s main goal for the 2021-2022 school year is addressing the unfinished learning caused by the pandemic for Knott County students.
“We understand students with special needs and socioeconomic needs have experienced even a greater loss of learning in comparison to our overall population. For this reason, we are focusing on our core instructional program to make sure all students are experiencing growth while also addressing achievement gaps that have occurred,” he said.
Hoover is a graduate of Morehead State University, where he earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees, as well as certifications in school principalship, instructional supervision and superintendent.
When not working, Hoover enjoys visiting his daughter in Baton Rouge, La., spending time with his wife and enjoying the outdoors as an avid fisherman.