Paula Little smiles and holds the hand of a student.

Paula Little (left) began her role as Clinton County’s superintendent on July 1. Little wants to focus on helping students feel confident in themselves after two years of disrupted learning and large societal changes. Photo courtesy of Paula Little.

Becoming the superintendent of Clinton County Schools meant Paula Little would be able to give back to the place she’s called home her whole life.

“I want everyone in Clinton County to be proud of their school and proud of their community, because I am very proud myself to be from Clinton County and I want everyone else to feel the same way,” said Little.

A graduate of Clinton County Schools, it was her high school English teacher who inspired Little to become an English teacher. She distinctly remembers the way her teachers would make her feel, pushing her to never settle.

“I’m thankful for the foundation that they gave me,” she said.

After serving in the classroom, Little joined the district office as a grant writer and special project coordinator and later an instructional supervisor. She had been serving as the assistant superintendent when she was asked to step in as interim superintendent in Nov. 2021. She was appointed as superintendent on July 1.   

Clinton County, located in south central Kentucky, has about 10,000 residents. Clinton County Public Schools serves 1,800 students across an elementary school, middle school, high school, an early childhood center and the Southern Kentucky Early College and Career Academy.

Now well into her public education career, Little believes and has seen how learning changes lives. A belief she is letting guide her as the new superintendent.

“I see education as a way for people to rise above their circumstances they’ve been given, as a way to bring opportunity to people that may not always have that available to them,” she said. “I’ve always loved the process of teaching and learning and how you can light a fire in someone and open doors for them.”

During the 2022-2023 school year, Little wants to focus on helping students feel confident in themselves after two years of disrupted learning and large societal changes.

“I want them to know they can do anything and as a school district we will try to give them the tools that they need so they can accomplish anything,” she said.

Little feels confident this task can be completed because of her staff and colleagues, who put in the time and effort to help students.

“I feel I am truly the luckiest and most blessed person in the world to work with the staff that I have. These people go above and beyond in every capacity. They are so supportive of me and the school district,” she said. “I love my job for many reasons, but one of the key reasons is my colleagues and my wonderful staff with whom I am blessed to work.”

Being a parent also guides Little, whose two children, Loren and Evan, began their senior year at Clinton County High School this year. She believes being a parent of her own two Bulldog students enhances her ability as a superintendent.

“It gives you a different perspective. You can look at things from both sides, from the side of a district employee and the side of a parent,” she said.  

When she isn’t working, Little enjoys spending time with her family. She’s been married to her husband, Rodney, for 34 years, and together the pair stays busy with Loren and Evan’s sports and academic pursuits.

Little has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Kentucky, a master’s degree in counseling from Western Kentucky University and a doctorate in education and administration from the University of Louisville.