Danville Independent Schools’ new superintendent traded a career as a police officer to be a champion for students, just as his teachers once were for him.
After navigating life as a basketball coach, including time as a coach at Mid-Continent University, Ross became a police officer. He followed that path after he saw an advertisement for minority police candidates. After years of working as a police officer, he found his way back to the classroom.
Ross’ previous experience includes time as a principal at The Academy for Leadership at Millcreek Elementary (Fayette County), director of the Kentucky Department of Education’s (KDE’s) Next Generation Professionals, and as a board member of the Education Professional Standards Board.
“I think back to how important teachers were in my life. A lot of those teachers did not look like me, but they were supportive of who I was as a human being,” he said.
As a superintendent, Ross said he aspires to be a champion for his students just as his teachers were for him.
Whether they are participating in a recital, a play or sports, he said the interests of the students matter.
He also believes his background in criminal justice and education will serve his district well during this era of focus on school safety.
One of his most important goals is to strengthen the sense of community within Danville schools, building upon, in his words, its “title town” tradition.
Ross hopes to lead his district in achieving artistic, athletic and academic success, focusing on demographic diversity and diversity in student interests. He hopes to foster a community of celebrating diversity.
“My thought is, if you were able and strong enough to survive or endure something, and it sets you apart, that is worth celebrating. It’s a testament to who you are as an individual,” he said.
His motto is to “live the classroom.”
“Whether I’m on a street corner talking to a parent, in the grocery store … I think it’s so important,” he said.
Living the classroom for Ross means fostering meaningful mentorships between adults and students in the community. He said he owes who he is to educators who “lived the classroom.”
A mindset of accomplishment will be central to his work, ensuring students feel empowered in their individual goals and plans, whether they want to become an electrician, plumber, attorney, doctor or any other career they choose. He said instructional opportunity is a vital element of this work, including the need to prepare students for life after high school to set them up for post-secondary success.
Ross holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and teaching from Oral Roberts University, a criminal justice certification from Eastern Kentucky University, and two master’s degrees from Murray State University – one in educational administration and supervision, and the other focused on parks, recreation and leisure studies with an emphasis in government. He also holds a doctoral degree in education from Western Kentucky University.
Though he said he has many to thank, his mother was his greatest advocate and cheerleader, along with Pam Jackson, his childhood teacher, and Joe Reeves and Bruce Kilpatrick, both mentors.
Ross began his duties as superintendent on July 1, 2022.