A headshot photo of a man.

Earl Ray Shuler is leading Lee County Schools as interim superintendent.

Previously retired from Lee County Schools, Shuler spent his six years of retirement driving a school bus in the district.

He said he was pleased to accept the opportunity to lead the district in his home community and the community knows him.

“I’ve got the heart of the community. As a new superintendent, I think I already have the confidence of the stakeholders.”

Shuler graduated from Lee County High School (LCHS) in 1979, where he was a participant in Upward Bound through Eastern Kentucky University (EKU). As an LCHS student, Shuler said he was drawn to attend college as a first-generation student, but unsure of what route to take career-wise.

Inspired by his high school agriculture teacher, Shuler graduated from EKU with a degree in agriculture education. He completed his teacher education program (TEP) through dual enrollment at EKU and the University of Kentucky (UK). He also earned a master’s degree through dual EKU and UK enrollment, and a Rank 1 certification.

Shuler spent over a decade in the classroom as an agriculture teacher before becoming Owsley County High School’s principal, a post he held until he began working as a district leader in the Owsley County Schools.

Prior to serving as an administrator, he had no intentions of leaving the classroom because teaching was his greatest passion. However, the education community encouraged him to become principal, and mentors ultimately encouraged him to become a district administrator.

Shuler believes in sharing leadership through mentorship. He said he has enjoyed witnessing his past students and teachers achieve success in their own rights. As a leader, he has spent his career working to encourage students and teachers to reach their maximum potential.

Across two districts – Lee County Schools and Owsley County Schools – Shuler has held numerous positions and titles, including director of facilities, director of pupil personnel, director of safe schools, director of transportation, home school program coordinator and superintendent pro-tempore.

Shuler said he brings unique experience with district leadership to the role of interim superintendent. He said he is enthusiastic about bring past experiences, including ensuring exceptional learners have access to resources they need, leading a program to address homelessness, handling grievances and more to the role.

“My goal is to create a culture whereby that everyone counts in this district. From the bus driver to the instructional aide, from the teachers right up to the different positions, parents [and] students. Everybody counts,” he said.

He intends to achieve that goal by being the district’s advocate, coach and cheerleader, and through encouraging central office staff, school administrators and the education community to be accessible, supportive and visible.

Shuler said the district needs a leader who will make tough decisions, and he feels his past leadership experience speaks for his ability to do that.

“I want to create a culture whereby that we have a sense of pride. [I want to create] an environment that is going to foster the development of [our students].”