Commissioner of Education Terry Holliday has named Breathitt Co. Assistant Superintendent Tim Spencer as the state manager for the Menifee Co. school district.

Spencer will be on loan from Breathitt Co. schools under a memorandum of agreement and will report to the Menifee Co. school district in his new role on July 21.

“Tim Spencer has a solid reputation as a superintendent,” Holliday said. “His experience in the areas of finance, management and curriculum will help lead improvement in the Menifee County schools so that the district may better prepare students and ensure their readiness for college and careers when they graduate.”

The Kentucky Department of Education will reimburse Breathitt Co. for Spencer’s salary and benefits, freeing up his current salary to be used elsewhere in the district. The agreement runs through June 30, 2016 and calls for Spencer to earn $125,000 for 240 days of work as the Menifee Co. state manager. He also will be reimbursed directly for his travel expenses.

During his education career, Spencer has been a teacher, principal and superintendent, having served eight years as superintendent in the Jackson Independent school district and as the assistant superintendent in the Breathitt Co. school district since July 2013. He has a strong background in educational leadership in curriculum, instruction and assessment as well as data analysis experience; effective financial management skills; and extensive work with School-Based Decision Making councils and local boards of education. In addition, he is a certified administrator evaluator.

Spencer is a member of the Next Generation Leadership Academy Partnership with the University of Kentucky; a member of the Next Generation Leadership Team for the Appalachian Renaissance Initiative in partnership with Kentucky Valley Education Cooperative; and a member of the Breathitt County/Jackson Chamber of Commerce Action Team. He also has served on the board of directors for several regional and state education organizations.

Spencer is a graduate of Morehead State University where he also earned a Master’s of Science in Vocational Education and a Master’s of Arts in Education Administration. He holds a Rank I certification in Education Administration as a middle school principal as well as certifications for director of pupil personnel and superintendent.

In 2014, the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) conducted a management audit of the Menifee Co. school district. The audit identified a pattern of a significant lack of efficiency and effectiveness in the governance and administration of the school district in multiple areas including planning, operational support, fiscal management, personnel administration and instructional management. At that time, the commissioner recommended the Kentucky Board of Education put the district under state assistance, which the state board did in December 2014.

Since then, KDE has provided management assistance to the district to develop and implement a plan to correct deficiencies. But because the correctional plan was not being adequately developed and implemented, in accordance with KRS 158.785, the commissioner recommended state management of the Menifee County school district, which the Kentucky Board of Education approved last week.

As a result of the state-managed designation, all administrative, operational, financial, personnel and instructional aspects of management formerly exercised by the Menifee County Board of Education and district superintendent are now exercised by the commissioner or his designee. Spencer will be the commissioner’s on-site designee to implement these actions.

“I am extremely excited to get started in my role as state manager in the Menifee Co. school district,” Spencer said. “I am confident that by working with the local board of education, the great educators in the district and the community, we can get the Menifee Co. school district back on track and that we will see a lot of great things in the coming months.”

The district will develop and implement an improvement plan approved by the Kentucky Board of Education identifying deficiencies and corrective actions necessary to improve school district governance and administration.

The district’s improvement plan will include specific objectives and strategies to correct deficiencies in defined timeframes and the identification of local board and individual administrative staff responsibilities and activities. The district will provide to the commissioner monthly reports indicating the status of improvement activities in the district. The district’s efforts also will be reported at the Kentucky Board of Education meetings.

Under KRS 158.785, the district will be designated as state-managed until the Kentucky Board of Education determines that the pattern of ineffectiveness and inefficiency has ended and the deficiencies identified through the management audit have been addressed. State management may not continue for more than three years unless a follow-up management audit indicates a need.