KSD Advisory Board graphic

The Kentucky School for the Deaf (KSD) Advisory Council heard updates on the search for a new principal from the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) at its June 13 meeting.

Jonathan Jett, acting director of the Division of State Schools, said the principal hiring committee will begin interviews the week of June 19. Two forums – one virtual forum on May 24 and one in-person forum on May 31 – were held to allow stakeholders in the Deaf and Hard of Hearing communities to inform KDE and help the hiring committee make critical and informed decisions throughout the process.

Among the priorities for a new principal, several Deaf and Hard of Hearing community members expressed a desire to have a principal that is fluent in American Sign Language.

Several council members said the principal should be “required” to be fluent in ASL, with the suggestion that other key positions – such as director of student life and director of special education for Deaf and blind – should also “require,” not “prefer,” candidates to be proficient in ASL. Advisory board member Jeff Kassinger asked if, for example, a Spanish teacher was being hired, “would you say Spanish is preferred or required?”

The application deadline for the principal position has closed. Applications from the job posting have been vetted by KDE to ensure candidates meet all the criteria in the job description. Jett said qualifying applications have been forwarded to the interview committee. After the interview process has been completed, the committee will send its recommendations to the commissioner of education for further action.

KDE hopes to have a new principal in place by July 1. KSD Principal Toyah Robey is retiring on June 30 after six years.


In her update to the advisory council, Robey said KSD was awarded full accreditation by the Conference of Educational Administrators of Schools and Programs for the Deaf (CEASD).

CEASD serves as the acknowledged expert in the education of individuals who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing. The organization provides special expertise in comprehensive school and program administration, including areas of policy, curriculum, instruction, administration, staffing and fiscal affairs.

KSD passed all 12 standards required for accreditation and completed the process in 10 months rather than the usual year and a half, she added.

In other business, the advisory council:

  • Heard that recent policy updates from the Kentucky School Board Association based on legislative changes were emailed to council members. Morrison said council members will need to review and approve any changes by July 5.
  • Heard from Robey that KSD summer school has been canceled this year and that time will be used to work with staff and do renovations.
  • Was told that the Mini Deaf Olympics will be July 19 at KSD.
  • Read resolutions honoring the 2023 graduating class and Robey for her work as principal. The council also recognized Bridgette Mann, who is leaving the council, for her service.
  • Were told the KSD Alumni Weekend will be July 28-29. The event is part of the 200th anniversary celebration. Seventy-six people already have purchased tickets, with a goal of 180 sold.
  • Heard during public comment from Archie Harris, a former KSD staff member, who reported that the gala was a success. Approximately 400 people attended. He said some of the attendees suggested that there should be other such formal events to celebrate Deaf education.
  • Heard public comments from Barbie Harris, a member of the Kentucky Commission on the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, that the school needs a five-year plan on how to grow its sports programs.

The KSD Advisory Council’s next meeting is Aug. 16.