Jackson Independent Schools is under new leadership: Wayne Sizemore began as superintendent of the district on July 1.
Sizemore served for 6 months as interim superintendent with the district before accepting the superintendent job. He said he brings a familiarity with the local community to the role.
“I’ve always had the opportunity to see the great work that’s happening at Jackson Independent,” he said, citing his experience as a father of three children: one who currently attends the district and two who have graduated. “It’s been great for me to have the opportunity to be immersed in the culture and to be immersed in the community. Even though I’m familiar with the teachers, to get to know them in a professional manner, and to see the great work that they do… it’s been really inspiring for me.”
Sizemore graduated from Leslie County High School and holds a bachelor’s degree in communication disorders from the University of Kentucky (UK). After graduating from UK, he worked in Leslie County Schools as a speech language assistant.
He decided to pursue a master’s degree in communication disorders from East Tennessee State University. He then returned to Leslie County Schools as a speech language pathologist with the district.
Sizemore then joined Breathitt County Schools as a speech language pathologist. He later led the district as director of special education before joining Carroll County Schools in the same role.
Sizemore’s background also includes time as president of the Kentucky Council for Administrators of Special Education. He serves on the executive board of the Council for Exceptional Children in Kentucky.
Sizemore said his experience with collaboration will help him as he leads Jackson Independent. He said he brings an asset of communication to his role as superintendent.
Sizemore’s wife, Andrus, is also a speech language pathologist. He said they have worked in multiple sectors together, including education and healthcare. He recalled working with First Steps, a statewide early intervention system that provides services to children.
“[Working with First Steps] really helped me in really getting a feel for the conditions that kids come through,” Sizemore said. “It really opened my eyes on how important it is to build strong family relationships.”
Sizemore said his experience with the system allowed him to understand the process of school transitions for young learners.
He said his mother, Janice, inspired him to work in education.
“She was a special education teacher [who] retired [after] thirty-two years,” he said. “That’s where I got my passion … I had the opportunity to grow up in school where my mom was a teacher… she really taught me the passion of special education, and how important it is to support all students.”
Sizemore’s father, Eddie, an electrician, welder and coal-industry employee, served as a board member with Leslie County Schools.
“I got the perspective of board members through my dad being a board member,” he said.
Sizemore said Jackson Independent has a strong history of academic excellence, and maintaining that history is important to him as the district’s new leader.
“I want to make sure that we continue that tradition and that trajectory of the work we do academically,” he said.
He said the district has a unique opportunity with open enrollment, and he is leading the charge to grow the district through open enrollment. He said the district is working on approaches and policies for open enrollment.
He said there are many construction projects underway in the district, including a new office vestibule to increase campus security. He also said the district is improving its gymnasium and heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems.
“As far as my vision as we move into next year, I hope to see growth of our school, but also to see continued rigor and high-quality instruction that has always occurred at Jackson Independent,” Sizemore said.
“The State of Kentucky, the Department of Education, and several of their key partners have really done a phenomenal job of building a network for new superintendents. It helps build my capacity as a new superintendent.”