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Marion County Superintendent Taylora Schlosser announced last week that Todd Farmer has been hired to become the district’s director of federal programs.
Farmer has been the principal at Lebanon Middle School since 2008.
“I will be working with the Lebanon Middle School Council to move forward with replacing Mr. Farmer,” Schlosser said in an email on Dec. 18. “I am excited about the experience that Mr. Farmer will bring to the Marion County Public School System. His visionary leadership and experience with secondary schools will contribute to ensuring that all students will graduate college and career ready.”
Under Farmer’s leadership, LMS was named one of the 2013 Kentucky Schools to Watch. There are currently only 13 schools statewide and 400 schools nationally that have achieved this honor. It puts LMS in an elite group of schools that have proven to be “academically excellent.”
Farmer, who has been working in the education field for 28 years, said the director of federal programs position will be a challenge.
“It’s going to be a definite learning curve for me, and it’s going to be a challenge, but I’m at a point in my career that I want that challenge,” he said.
Farmer admits that he will miss the LMS students and staff tremendously, but hopes his new position will enable him to help students district-wide.
“I will miss the students and being able to work one on one with students and having that daily contact of being with them and watching them grow,” Farmer said.
He feels confident that the staff will see to it that the vision and tradition of LMS continues, even without his leadership.
“We have a very strong plan that I’m going to continue to develop over Christmas for someone to implement for the remainder of the year,” Farmer said. “We have a lot of teacher leaders and we still have high expectations for learning. That will never go away. That will continue to be a focus.”
And while his office will be at central office now, he plans to continue visiting LMS, working with the staff and making sure LMS stays on track. Whoever replaces him as principal will have him nearby for advice. His main piece of advice is to keep students first in every decision that is made.
“We must continue to look into the hearts of the students and make sure the culture and climate remains our priority,” Farmer said. “Once a student feels comfortable and a relationship is built, then the academic needs can come after that.”
Farmer’s first official day as director of federal programs will be Jan. 6.
The position, which is new to the district this year, was recently held by Stacey Hall, former principal of Marion County High School. After only four months, Hall unexpectedly announced his resignation on Friday, Nov. 22. According to Hall, he made a promise 20 years ago that he would help take over the family business when his father was ready to retire. His dad is 62 years old now and is ready to semi-retire from Hall Transportation, which is a horse hauling business. But, helping his father is not the only reason he decided to resign, he said. When he accepted the position of director of federal programs, he was excited about the opportunity. But, the position is not what he expected.
“There are some personal reasons behind it that I’m not going to go into detail about,” Hall said to the Enterprise after his resignation. “But, things change. It wasn’t what I expected. State laws are making education so much tougher and more bureaucratic than what it should be. I can’t be politically correct anymore.”