Morehead State Alumnus Tim Spencer (91) has a passion for improving struggling school districts, and his dedication has been recognized by the Kentucky Educational Development Corporation (KEDC), who named him 2020 Superintendent of the Year.
After earning his bachelor’s (91), master’s (94), and school administration certification (04) from MSU, Spencer served as superintendent for Jackson Independent and Breathitt County Schools. At Breathitt County, Spencer had his first experience working in a Kentucky Department of Education (KDE)-managed school district. When Menifee County went into KDE management in 2015, Spencer applied to work there as a state manager. At the time, Spencer said the district was coping with financial instability, aging facilities, and an organizational structure and curriculum that needed improvement.
“In the district, there was an adult-centered culture rather than a student-centered culture,” Spencer said. “I wanted to help guide the district through the difficulties it was facing, and now we strive to make sure all of our decisions put students first at heart.” In 2019, Spencer was hired by the district as superintendent.
While Spencer has made numerous improvements in the district in the five years he’s been there, he said the thing he’s most proud of is getting community support for a new elementary school. The county passed a five-cent tax to fund the school, which is currently under construction.
COVID-19 has presented several challenges for schools across the state, but Spencer said the school district has pulled together to provide the best education possible for students. He’s worked with the local telephone service provider, Mountain Telephone, to create eight internet hot-spots in the county to provide internet access to students. The company is also offering internet service packages at reduced rates for those who need it to expand student internet access for at-home learning. He commends everyone working in the school district for the work they’ve done during the pandemic.
“I’m extremely proud of the staff for all their work to give students the best education we possibly can. We’ve utilized our entire school district to reach out to our students,” Spencer said. “We’re opening our doors to provide as much support as we can for our kids.”
While Spencer says he’s proud to be recognized by the KEDC, he said he shares the award with everyone in his district.
“It makes me feel proud to be recognized by my peers, but this award is not just for me personally-it was an award for the entire Menifee County School System. It was a total team effort,” Spencer said.
Thinking back on his time at MSU, Spencer said he learned many lessons as an Eagle that have carried over into his professional life. He said the networks he established with his former classmates and instructors have proven valuable. He said he attributes much of his success to his advisor, Dr. Ben Dixon, and instructors Dr. Dan Connell and Dr. Barbara Niemeyer (90).
“I will always appreciate my time at MSU, and I’d go back and do it all again.”