New Boyle County Arts Academy hires director

Published 6:49 am Thursday, August 11, 2022

Boyle County Schools is on track to launch an arts academy for the 2022-23 school year. They hired a director, Jimmy Cornn, to lead the academy.

The arts academy will offer drama, dance, instrumental and vocal music, art, technical theater and promotional media courses, and more.

The academy announced its inaugural class in May. The academy is available to rising 5th through 12th grade students at all five Boyle district schools through auditions.

Email newsletter signup

Originally from Barbourville, Kentucky, Cornn graduated from Knox Central High School, where he played in the band, then went to the University of the Cumberlands for music education. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in music education and a Master’s degree in educational leadership; as well as his Rank I and administrator certifications from University of the Cumberlands.

Cornn spent 15 years as the band director at Corbin Independent Schools. Last year, he took a position at Nelson County Schools as a Curriculum/Instructional Coach for Old Kentucky Home Middle School. But when he found out about the arts academy director job, he thought it was a perfect opportunity.

“This job was too perfect of a fit for me to pass up,” Cornn said. “I wanted to be the director of the academy because I am passionate about the arts and how they enhance a student’s life and educational journey.”

Cornn was recognized as the 2020 Valvoline Excellence in Teaching Award winner, and was a 2019 Grammy Music Educator Award National Semifinalist. He said the excitement and energy around the new academy, coupled with Boyle’s commitment to excellence, is what drew him to the position.

“Many districts leave the arts to try to survive in their own bubble,” Cornn said. “The arts should operate as an integral part of a school from curriculum to culture to community. Boyle County recognizes this and wants what’s best for kids.”

Class instruction will be provided by certified, full-time faculty in art, drama, dance, vocal music and band. Middle and high school arts academy students have access to specialized courses in every art form and a choice of performing ensembles.

“In this first year I am looking forward to building foundations and systems for student and teacher success,” Cornn said. “I enjoy the idea of creating a place where teachers want to teach and students want to learn. Excellence will be a byproduct when foundations and systems are in place.”

High school students will perform two full theater productions each year. The academy will give them a career pathway in the arts that will prepare them for auditions and college readiness.

“Over the course of my career, I have learned what works and, perhaps most importantly, what does not work,” Cornn said. “I am anxious to have a seat at the table as Boyle builds this exciting opportunity for students.”

Though he will not be teaching any classes, Cornn is also the manager for the Boyle County Performing Arts Center. He will be in charge of community events and booking shows for the center.