Julia Robers Goad
PIKEVILLE, Ky - David Lester, a 35-year veteran of the Pike County School System, has been named the new Superintendent of Pike County Schools.
Lester was voted in by a 3 - 2 vote of the Pike County Board of Education
During a special meeting of the school board June 4, BOE members said they realized the imortance of their choice. Each board member who spoke before the vote expressed that they would support whoever was chosen.
“I said, when I was elected to the board, this would be the important decision I would make during my time here,”Belfry area Board member Dr. Chuck Johnson said. “We had some excellent candidates, and have taken this very seriously.”
“Contrary to how some people feel, I thing we are in pretty good shape as a school system,” Board member Virgil Osborne said. “There are problems in all systems, I hope we can identify ours and move forward. We have as good teachers and principals as any in Kentucky. This is not about us, its about what is best for the children.”
“Our superintendent should be student-centered,” Board member Frank Ratliff said. “We are looking for outstanding leadership skills, a high level of expectations and integrity and interpersonal skills. We do not want someone who has any political asperations. Our decision here will affect more than 9,000 children.”
Dr. Johnson nominated Lester, Johns Creek area member Justin Maynard seconded the motion and Phelps area member C.B. “Kenneth” Biliter voted with the pair to name Lester superintendent.
Elkhorn City area Board Member Frank Ratliff and Virgie area Board Member Virgil Osborne voted “no” on the motion. Ratliff had earlier suggested Kerry Fannin as the new superintendent, but his motion died without a second.
Lester, who expects to take over the reins from current Superintendent Roger Wagner in August, said his immediate goals will be to re-orient himself to the system, talk to the principals and newer employees to see what they are thinking and look at the test scores. He said he retired early from the system and had wanted to do a number of things in his retirement. Now he has done most of those things and when Wagner announced his resignation, he began thinking again about education. “I saw an opportunity,” he said, “to lead in a way more focused toward academics.”
He wants to see a constant increase in test scores, he said. Lester said he has yet to discuss a contract with the school board and did not even know what his salary would be but he is excited about this venture.
He has been a math teacher and assistant principal at Belfry High School, Central Office Director of Personnel with the administration of the late Frank Welch, Principal at Jenkins, and has taught classes for Southern West Virginia Community and Morehead Colleges.