(FRANKFORT, Ky.) – The Kentucky Board of Education named Dr. W. Blake Haselton, superintendent-in-residence and associate clinical professor in the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Louisville (UofL), as the first recipient of the David Karem Award during the board’s regular meeting Oct. 4 in Frankfort.
The award, honoring former KBE member and state legislator David Karem, is given annually to state policymakers, education leaders or citizens who have contributed to the improvement of education through venues such as national commissions, task forces or other significant boards and organizations. Recipients demonstrate outstanding leadership and impact on education policy and the educational system, as well as exhibiting a commitment to work collaboratively with different shareholders.
“Dr. Haselton has been a devoted advocate for children and educators for more than four decades,” said Mary Gwen Wheeler, chair of the Kentucky Board of Education. “He has dedicated his life to advocating for children, whether it was in the classroom teaching, leading a district or training the next generation of educators. He has worked tirelessly to ensure that tomorrow’s principals and superintendents are equipped to provide the best educational leadership possible.”
Haselton began his education career in 1973 as a biology teacher at Oldham County High School. He later served as athletic director, school counselor, director of guidance services, principal and superintendent in Oldham County. While serving as principal, the U.S. Department of Education recognized Oldham County High School as a National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence. During Haselton’s time as superintendent of Oldham County schools, it was a top-performing district, with all of its high schools and middle schools ranked in the top 10 statewide.
From 2005 to 2008, Haselton served as executive director of the Kentucky Association of School Superintendents and began his tenure as superintendent-in-residence at UofL, where he also served as interim dean of the College of Education for six years. Haselton continues to teach graduate courses in school administration, school finance, district management, planning and the superintendency. He also advises and mentors graduate students, as well as coordinates the Superintendent and Director of Special Education programs.
Haselton has presented academic papers at the University Council for Education Administration and the American Education Research Association and been published in several journals. He served as the Kentucky Department of Education’s program facilitator for the New Superintendent Training and Testing program and initiated the Kentucky Principals Academy and the Center for Leadership Excellence at UofL.
The David Karem Award is not the first time Haselton has been recognized for his hard work and dedication. He was named the Kentucky Secondary Principal of the Year, the Kentucky Superintendent of the Year, and won the Kentucky School Boards Association’s F.L. Dupree Outstanding Superintendent Award and the Kentucky Association of School Administrator’s William T. Nallia Educational Leadership Award. Haselton received the United Way’s Kentucky Outstanding Volunteer Award, is a UofL Alumni Fellow, a Fellow of the Association for Education Finance and Policy and has represented Kentucky on the Education Commission of the States.
The award’s namesake, David Karem, sat on the Kentucky Board of Education from 2009 to 2016. He served Kentucky for 33 years in the Kentucky State Senate and was chair of the Senate Education Committee. During his tenure in the Kentucky General Assembly, Karem championed the passage of the Kentucky Education Reform Act (KERA) and led the efforts for the 4 percent school tax levy by districts. His efforts were crucial in shaping state-level education policy that ensures Kentucky’s children can compete in today’s global economy.