When Byron Darnall graduated from David Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tenn., he was unsure of what his next step would be – until he had the opportunity to be a long-term substitute teacher at Stuart Middle School in Louisville. That is where Darnall said he found his calling.
Now, with more than 20 years of professional experience in education, Darnall has joined the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) as associate commissioner in the Office of Educator Licensure and Effectiveness (OELE), an office created in 2018.
OELE focuses on teacher recruitment and diversity, accreditation of educator prep programs, certification, professional development and learning, and “Grow Your Own” career and technical teaching pathways.
Darnall said he is humbled to be chosen for the position. Darnell is currently principal of Franklin-Simpson High School (Simpson County).
“I’ve been so fortunate to work with so many amazing educators and organizations,” said Darnall. “It is truly an honor to be able to take the experiences that I’ve had and apply them to a state-level position and serve the wonderful educators and the amazing students in the state of Kentucky.”
After earning his master’s in education from the University of Kentucky, Darnall became an English teacher at Bowling Green High School (Warren County). He later became assistant principal at Chandler School (Logan County), and a principal at Glasgow High School.
Despite holding a variety of roles, Darnall always views his work through the lens of a teacher.
“We use the phrase ‘It’s all about the kids’ a lot,” said Darnall. “I am an advocate for our students. That’s the way I view every role that I’ve been in.”
Darnall served a stint as a bureau chief in the Iowa Department of Education before returning to Kentucky to be principal at Potter Gray Elementary (Bowling Green Independent) and most recently, Franklin-Simpson High School. Darnall is excited to return to work at the state level to serve Kentucky’s teachers and students.
“I feel compelled to provide the students across Kentucky with the very best and most talented educators possible,” said Darnall.
Darnall hopes to use his new role to continue to diversify the talent within the educator workforce and craft policy that shapes what becoming a teacher in Kentucky will look like moving forward.
Education Commissioner Jason E. Glass said he appreciates Darnall’s enthusiasm and commitment to Kentucky’s educators and students.
“I am excited to welcome Byron Darnall to the KDE’s Office of Educator Licensure and Effectiveness,” said Glass. “His eagerness to put the needs of all Kentucky’s students first and his broad professional experience in education makes him a great fit to lead the office. I look forward to working with him.”
Darnall said he is most excited to develop and broaden trusting relationships with teachers, students and those with whom he works.
“I am excited to work across the entire state and be able to get to know an even wider cast of the people that are making things happen for students and schools,” said Darnall. “I look forward to fostering and developing those relationships in order to build a better, more talented teacher pipeline.”
Darnall is a native of Meade County and currently lives in the Bowling Green area with his wife, Michelle, and their three children, Greer, Emerson and Anderson.