Graphic reading: Former Superintendent Named to the Kentucky Board of Education

Former Johnson County Superintendent Steve Trimble is ready to begin advocating for all of Kentucky’s children as the newest member of the Kentucky Board of Education (KBE).

On Dec. 22, Gov. Andy Beshear appointed Trimble to the KBE, filling the vacancy left by former member Cody Pauley Johnson, who represented the 7th Supreme Court District. He will fill out the rest of Johnson’s term, which ends on April 14, 2024.

“I’m looking forward to working with the board,” he said, “I have also heard some great things about our commissioner, Dr. Jason E. Glass, so I am looking forward to working with him as well.”

Trimble, who has lived in Johnson County since he was 4 years old, has spent his entire education career working in Johnson County, except for 10 months as the interim superintendent in Floyd County in 2017. He graduated from Johnson Central High School in 1977 and knew exactly what he wanted to do – become a coach and teacher.

Trimble said it was the educators he had – from his 5th-grade teacher Mrs. Vanhoose to his high school principal Mr. Setser – that inspired him to become an educator.

“There were influential people in my life throughout my education that I respected so much, and I wanted to follow in their footsteps and try to make a difference with kids,” he said.

He earned his bachelor’s in physical education from Pikeville College, and a master’s in health and physical education and his Rank I certification in administration from Morehead State University. He earned his superintendent certificate from Union College.

When he was a senior at Pikeville College, Trimble took his first job with Johnson County Schools as his alma mater’s wrestling coach.

“The memories, the connections, the love you have for the kids you coached 30 years ago are still there,” he said.

Picture of two men standing against a brick wall. One is talking and the other is laughing.

New Kentucky Board of Education member Steve Trimble, right, said educators like his high school principal Mr. Paul Setser, left, encouraged him to become an educator. Trimble was the first Johnson Central High School graduate to be named superintendent of Johnson County Schools, a role he served in from 2006 until he retired in 2014.
Photo submitted by Steve Trimble.

When he graduated college, he began teaching health and physical education at the high school level, in addition to coaching. After teaching for four years, he became the assistant principal and athletic director. During that time, he also coached football and was the assistant coach for other sports.

Looking back over his education career, Trimble said he is most proud of helping Johnson County Schools coordinate and open Johnson County Middle School in 1994. Six elementary schools moved their 7th and 8th grades to into the newly formed middle school, and Trimble served as principal for three years.

“It’s one of the most successful things I’ve ever done and I had a lot of help doing it. It’s benefitted the school district for many years,” he said.

After serving as principal of the middle school, Trimble returned to the high school to serve as principal for eight years. He then joined the central office as assistant superintendent for one year and became the superintendent in 2006. He stayed in that role until his retirement in 2014.

“I was able to move up the ladder in a school district I really love and have been a part of my whole life and I am blessed to have done that,” he said. “I had no desire to do anything anywhere else; I never looked anywhere else.”

Trimble said after a year of being retired, he missed the education field. When he ran into Nancy Hutchinson, director of Kentucky Educational Development Corporation (KEDC), at the mall, Trimble jumped at the chance to do part-time consulting work for KEDC. Since 2015, Trimble has been attending regional meetings and working with superintendents. The opportunity has allowed him to be kept up to date on what is happening in schools, he said.

Trimble said the KBE has a lot of strong initiatives already in place, from making equity a focus to increasing school funding. Trimble said he is excited to advocate for technology centers and make sure students have more than one pathway presented to them after high school.

“I am a real big advocate for [them]. We need carpenters and plumbers and welders. Everyone’s path to success does not look the same,” he said. “We need people prepared to go to the workforce and be successful. The more we can help kids be successful, the more we can lead them to happy and fulfilled lives. And that’s my wish for all of the kids in the state.”

Trimble lives in Johnson County with his wife, Pam. The pair will celebrate 44 years together in January 2022, having started dating when they were 13 and 14 years old. They have two sons, Andrew and David, and three grandchildren.