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Q&A: Superintendent candidate Lisa Carroll

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By The Staff

How has your day been today (March 30)?   Lisa Carroll: It's been very nice. We visited each school, had lunch with all the principals, met several teachers, several students. It's been a very, very productive day. I had the meeting with the Chamber folks. I got to speak education - speak all day.   What did you learn today?   LC: I learned that the whole community is really involved with the school system, and really wants what's best for their school system. I learned there's lots of positive things going on in Marion County. They have lots of resources, lots of programs, lots of opportunities for children to learn different things.   As you probably know, Senate Bill 1 was signed into law last week.   LC: On Thursday (March 26).   What do you think that will mean for Marion County and public education in general in Kentucky?   LC: Kentucky, in general, it would be hard to say ... What I see happening, what I want districts to do, what I'm encouraging my districts to do ... State accountability is pretty much gone, so now it becomes a district responsibility to demand that same accountability. The tests are still going to be available. They can still be scored. The results can still be publicized. I think all they need to do is make that shift from the state accountability piece, which is no longer there, and put it at the district. This district still expects you to meet those standards, to have those high expectations, to pursue that 100 [The Kentucky Department of Education previously set a goal for all Kentucky schools and districts to reach a CATS index of 100 by 2014] even though the state's not requiring you to do that. I'm really trying to encourage the schools I work with to have the district take that accountability piece until we see what the state does, to honor that work that we've already done. We've all been on this same path, so I don't just think you say, 'Oh.' It's been good. It's been good, high-quality work for the things we've been doing.' I think you honor that work. You keep pursuing that work, and the district assumes that accountability.   I know you've worked at Hazard and at Breathitt County High School. What do you feel you learned from those experiences?   LC: I've had different roles in all my experiences, and I think I've gained something from each piece that I've done, where now I have a more global view of education. I worked at the college level, also ... I taught Sociology 101 for a few years. I spent a year at a tech school. So, I've had lots of experiences in education. I think I've learned so much from each of them, but now I can see that global perspective. I can see that big picture.   I know that you've been a highly skilled educator for the state the last couple years.   LC: This is my third.   What do you feel you learned from that experience?   LC: That's been one of the most valuable experiences of my career ... It's been the most valuable. I've had the opportunity to go into many, many classrooms, see many, many classes, meet many, many people. The trainings have been phenomenal that we've had. The opportunities to work with the individuals I've worked with has been just fantastic. And to see the progress in the schools that I've worked with, to see where they start and where they go in a short period of time has been the most rewarding experience I've ever had.   I spoke to somebody at Buckhorn [High School]. Give some examples of things you did at Buckhorn to help them turn things around.   LC: First, their curriculum was in pretty good shape by the time I got there, so we didn't have to start with curriculum. But we really looked at the depth of knowledge of the instruction in the classroom and the assessment. What were we really asking them to do? Really improving that rigor I guess was the biggest piece, looking at their assessment questions. Are they rigorous enough? Do they really assess at the level we want them to, or is it just recalling information? So, we started with those assessments, making those assessments more rigorous. Then, if your assessments get rigorous, then your instruction has to be rigorous to match those assessments. So, that was a big piece that we worked on. That was one of many. I was there a year.   Anything else you would like to add?   LC: It's a beautiful community. It's wonderful. The people have been great. And I've been very impressed with the leadership, both at the central office and the principals I've met. I think they hold high expectations for everybody, and work hard to help them meet them.   - Interview by Stephen Lega, news editor

To read what other people are saying about the superintendent candidates, click here.

To read an interview with candidate Chuck Hamilton, click here.

To read an interview with candidate Ed Musgrove, click here.

To read an interview with candidate Donald Smith, click here.