Shannon Sparkman photo graphic 8.2.23

The Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) has named Shannon Sparkman as director of state schools.

In her new role that began Aug. 1, Sparkman will oversee the operations and management of the Kentucky School for the Blind (KSB) in Louisville and the Kentucky School for the Deaf (KSD) in Danville while providing support to school leaders. She also will work with stakeholders to improve student outcomes.

Jonathan Jett, who had been serving as acting director of state schools along with Carol Ann Morrison, will continue to provide support for KSD and KSB along with his work in KDE’s Office of Special Education and Early Learning. Morrison will continue her duties as KDE’s director of the Division of Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Monitoring and Results.  

Sparkman joined KDE in July 2022 as an IDEA general supervision and support consultant in the Office of Special Education and Early Learning.

In her role at KDE, she established internal processes to support technical assistance providers and local education agencies.

She said she wants to use that experience “to expand upon systems of support for the benefit of our students and families at KSD and KSB.”

She obtained her bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in general psychology with a specialty in school psychology from Eastern Kentucky University.

Sparkman began her career in 1993 as an assistant coordinator with Kentucky River Community Care, where she helped provide emotional and behavioral support for at-risk youth. In 2006, she became a psychologist at Campbellsville Independent Schools. After six years, she transitioned to Marion County Public Schools as lead psychologist. Eight years later, Sparkman began working at KDE.

Sparkman said she is looking forward to serving the KSD and KSB communities.

“I am excited about the opportunity to collaborate with students, families and staff to create a safe, healthy and favorable experience at our state schools,” she said. “I am committed to creating positive change and advocating for inclusive and equitable education for all students to improve outcomes.”