Big changes on horizon for Spencer school board

-A A +A

Three of five elected members to vacate seats in January

By Mallory Bilger

The Spencer County Board of Education will change drastically in January when three seats are vacated by current members not seeking reelection.


Campbranch representative Scott Travis, Waterford long-time representative Mary Ann Carden and Elk Creek representative Shannon Medley have all decided not to seek their seats again this fall. Campbranch has one candidate running in November — Ange McKinney — and Elk Creek has one candidate running — Janet Bonham. No one filed to seek the Waterford representative’s seat, which will be appointed by the Kentucky Commissioner of Education Terry Holliday some time before the new year.
Medley and Travis both will have served one term when their seats expire Dec. 31 and Carden will finish out a 12 year stint of board service.
Medley said she opted not to run again because of personal time restraints. She said she hopes the new board members will continue to strive for student excellence.
“Hopes I have for the school district going forward is for the new school board and administration to continue to oversee the progress in our district and for our parents to continue to pus our children to excel,” she wrote in an email.
Medley said some of the district’s biggest future challenges include doing more with less funding and overseeing the construction of the new elementary school.
“The construction of our new elementary school will be both exciting and challenging,” she wrote.
Travis said he did not feel it would be right to seek another term on the school board because he needs to focus his time on his family, work and other activities in which he is involved. Travis was known on the board for asking numerous questions, encouraging lengthy discussions and often was a voice for the operations side of the district.
“It was a very, very tough decision,” he said. “I went back and forth to try and decide what I needed to do. The final outcome was that I chose not to seek.”
Travis said he plans to continue attending board meetings and staying abreast of district activities.
“I still want to serve my community and serve my school system, but I’ll just do it in another capacity,” he said, noting that he might be planning to seek another public servant’s position in the future.
Despite numerous phone calls and emails, The Spencer Magnet could not reach Carden for comment. Carden is a veteran board member and often was very vocal in sharing her support of Superintendent Chuck Adams, noting that it was important for the board not to micromanage his position.  
Carden has recently been absent at several board meetings, but her term does not expire until the end of December. Adams said he believes Carden’s absences have been due to a new and difficult work schedule.
“I know that her new work schedule is really throwing a monkey wrench into (her attending) the meetings,” Adams said.
He continued to say that Carden has often been a wealth of knowledge for him and other board members with less experience.
“She has diligently served for many, many years and has always been a productive board member. She has served as someone to lean on for experience and guidance,” he said.
Adams said the process for filling the Campbranch board seat has already begun. He said he has communicated to the Kentucky Department of Education that no one filed to run and now he is awaiting a liaison from the Commissioner of Education’s office to communicate with the district about filling the vacancy.
“I am expecting a pack of information early to mid October,” Adams said. “(The position) will be posted. If only one person shows interest, it will go through another round of postings.”
Adams said if more than one qualified individual shows interest in the seat, a KDE team will proceed with a brief interviewing process. The team will report its findings back to the commissioner, who will make the final appointment.