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Abell leaves TES to be district assistant superintendent

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By Mallory Bilger

Taylorsville Elementary School will lose Chuck Abell as its principal July 1, but he isn’t going far. Abell will still be within the Taylorsville city limits just across town at the Spencer County Board of Education, where he will serve as the district’s new assistant superintendent.

Abell, who was the principal who opened TES eight years ago, will fill current Assistant Superintendent Norma Thurman’s position. Thurman announced her retirement earlier this year and will officially step down from her post June 30. Abell said it was a tough decision to leave TES and join the central office staff, but he feels confident the position will allow him to affect even more young Spencer County lives.  
“I’ve been here since the day we opened the doors. It was not an easy decision at all,” Abell said of his career move. “TES has been like my second home.”
But Abell said it was a positive move and one that will allow him to impact teachers and students across the district. As assistant superintendent, Abell will have numerous responsibilities including overseeing curriculum, instruction, assessment and professional development for the district. He will implement new content and educational standards as they come down from the state and will work directly with each school to insure that every child leaves Spencer County college and/or career ready.
“I’m able to impact student learning at a broader level,” Abell said.
Abell came to TES when it opened in 2005. Prior to that, he was North Washington School’s assistant principal in Willisburg. He has also served as a head teacher and taught seventh and eighth grade math. His educational background includes earning his Bachelor of Science in middle school education, Master’s of Arts in education, Rank I certification in school administration-principal, and certificate for school superintendent, all of which he earned from Eastern Kentucky University.
Superintendent Chuck Adams gave Abell his vote of confidence and expressed that in a statement sent out to the media and board members.
“Although we must work quickly and efficiently to find an outstanding replacement for principal of TES, I firmly believe Mr. Abell will bring a wealth of knowledge and successful experience as principal to the district level,” Adams said.
Abell said he has a lot to learn but will also be able to draw from his experience as a teacher and administrator while preparing for his new position.  He has spent time learning from Thurman before her departure.
Abell said one of his first priorities as assistant superintendent is to meet with the leadership teams at each of the schools and get to know each school individually. He said he does not want to pretend to know more about the schools than the administrators, and will specifically need to spend more time at the beginning with the middle and high school leadership teams because he has spent his last eight years in Spencer County at TES.
TES Counselor Heidi Heiss said Abell will be sorely missed by TES faculty, staff and students. She said Abell was well-liked and respected for his expertise, caring attitude and willingness to listen. She was hired by Abell when TES opened and has served alongside him his entire time as principal there.
“He’s knowledgeable about education,” Heiss said, noting that Abell was always working with teachers directly to keep them abreast of what was happening. “We can always come and share our thoughts and opinions.”
Abell’s time at TES has been productive. State test scores show the school has made steady improvements and this year TES was labeled a proficient school according to the new K-PREP testing system. The school scored in the 73rd percentile, meaning its students out-performed 73 percent of all other Kentucky public elementary schools on the K-PREP test.
“I’ve been proud of the continuing progress TES has made over the last several years,” Abell said, noting that success is a credit to TES students and staff. “A leader is as only good as the people around him.”
Heiss said the new TES principal would need the same characteristics that Abell possessed: A love for children, a caring attitude, a willingness to work hard, expertise in educational leadership and a desire to make the school’s climate and culture the best it can be for students.
Abell said he hopes TES can continue its emphasis on a positive culture and climate, and hopes that the students, faculty and staff will be able to enjoy a new building soon.
“I’d love to see the staff and students here have a gym that is air conditioned,” he said. “(I want them to) get the facilities they deserve,” noting that the building’s age limits some technological advances.  
Abell said he is excited about his new position and is grateful he had the opportunity to advance within the district. He said although he does not reside in Spencer County, the community has accepted him and he feels a loyalty to its people.
“The people of Spencer County have embraced me,” he said.
Abell said he will sorely miss seeing the TES students every day but doesn’t plan to spend a lot of time behind his desk. He wants to be out in the district, working within the schools, seeing the teachers and students face to face.
But his TES family will always be special to him.
“A big piece of my heart will always be at TES,” he said.