Clark County Superintendent Elaine Farris, Ed.D., received the fourth annual Dr. Johnnie Grissom Award (Strive for Achievement Through Instructional Equity) from the Kentucky Board of Education at its meeting Thursday.
Farris was nominated by Faith Thompson, Donald Stump and Brenda Considine, all of whom are administrators in the Clark County school system.
“Not only does she represent the epitome of dedication and passion for achieving instructional equity and opportunity in education, but also, perhaps most importantly, her leadership has achieved significant results,” the three noted in their nomination letter.
Farris has more than 30 years of educational experience, serving as superintendent in both the Shelby County and Clark County school districts. She was the first African American to hold the position of superintendent in a Kentucky school district. Farris also has been a principal and teacher. She served as interim Kentucky commissioner of education in 2009.Farris earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees, a Rank I and an elementary physical education endorsement from Eastern Kentucky University. She holds a doctorate in education from Eastern Kentucky University.
The Dr. Johnnie Grissom Award is presented annually to an individual or group with outstanding accomplishments to help all students achieve at high levels through instructional equity and to closing the achievement gap.
The award was established to honor the work and dedication of the late long-time Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) employee Johnnie Grissom, who served as an associate commissioner.
Grissom was employed by KDE from 1993 to 2010. She previously served as a director at the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction and as a teacher of special needs and gifted students in Red Springs, North Carolina.