A man speaking in front of a stage holding a microphone.

Aaron Harrell began his role as Webster County School District’s new superintendent on July 1, 2022. Photo courtesy of Aaron Harrell.

On July 1, western Kentucky native Aaron Harrell began his role as Webster County School District superintendent.

Harrell has taught in Webster County for more than 17 years. After a fulfilling eleven years as a high school English teacher, he pursued career in administration. He then taught English for half the year, while during the other half he served as assistant principal. His time as assistant principal led to him taking on the role of principal for three years. Harrell most recently served as Webster County’s assistant superintendent.

“I swore I would never be an administer,” said Harrell. “I thought they would have to roll me out of my classroom as a 90-year-old English teacher.”

Although he misses his time in the classroom, Harrell said that he is able to create more opportunities for students to learn as an administrator.

Before he started his teaching career, Harrell served in the U.S. Marine Corps. Through both his military service and his time with Webster County schools, his wife, Melody, has been nothing but supportive.

“A support system is crucial. It’s important to have someone at home,” Harrell said, “You have to have an outlet. You have to have an understanding family … [Melody] is very supportive of me.”

Not only does his wife support him, but so does his eight-year-old son, Cooper. Harrell said that his son does not know exactly what he does, but he is proud of his dad. Harrell said that his son and students like him motivate his work.

“I always think about my own son,” Harrel said, “How would my son react to this curriculum or schedule?”

In addition to thinking about his son, Harrell said that he remembers who he was in school. He aims to help the students like him.

“Knowing who I was in school, I try to filter that through my lens as well,” he said. “I was completely anonymous, and I sat in the back in order to avoid having to raise my hand or be called on.”

Harrell wants to change the landscape of education in Webster County by increasing reading and literacy skills. As a former English teacher, he said that he wants to foster a love for reading in every student.

“I’m pretty passionate about literacy,” Harrell said, “When I was a kid, I loved when my parents read to me, my dad in particular.”

Harrell said that giving students opportunities to develop literacy skills is exceptionally important.

“I want to create opportunities for students, and reading is one of those opportunities,” Harrell said.

As he leads his district, Harrell plans to listen to students, teachers and parents.

“I am dedicated to education and most importantly, I am dedicated to the students and families in my district,” he said.