Incoming Superintendent Mark Wade hopes to continue Boyle’s momentum
Published 4:21 pm Wednesday, May 3, 2023
BY FIONA MORGAN
Boyle County High School Principal Mark Wade is set to become the Boyle School District’s new superintendent, effective July 1.
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The decision came after a months-long search, as current superintendent Mike Lafavers announced his retirement in September 2022.
Wade has been with the district for 20 years. He taught agriculture for seven years, spent four years as assistant principal, then nine years as principal.
He said he saw the superintendent position as a good opportunity that would continue his natural succession; and said that his knowledge of the district and love of people will benefit the schools.
“My ability to develop relationships with people is one of my biggest strengths,” Wade said. “I love people, I love talking to people, I have a desire to help people succeed and expose them to opportunities.”
Wade said he also has the ability to recognize leadership, and recognize people’s talents, so the right people can lead in their own departments. With talented staff and students, he hopes to continue the district’s upward momentum.
“The momentum that this district has for students to be successful, academically, extracurricular-ly, career-wise, there are so many opportunities for students here; I plan to continue those many things that are going on,” Wade said.
One new program that has been very successful is the Arts Academy and the new Performing Arts Center. Wade said he has seen visual arts, music, and performing arts thrive and build momentum at the schools.
Other new projects that he expects will help students is the new softball field facility, new building at the track and turf field, new shared tennis courts at the fairgrounds, a daycare center at Jennie Rogers, and other new extracurricular activities. He said they will continue whatever programs are a good fit for the schools.
“Whatever’s best for kids, that’s what we’re going to do,” Wade said. “If programs are by any means good for kids then we will continue those programs, if not, we will adjust to see if the program is a good fit or not.”
Wade said he doesn’t anticipate making a lot of changes; although, they will have to react to any changes made by the state. He hopes to pursue more technical education, and possibly form more vocational training.
Going from principal to superintendent, his role will be shifting to focus on behind the scenes work on keeping things running smoothly. He said they have to keep a healthy budget, keep finances in order, attract the right personnel, look at new opportunities for students, listen to community needs, and address any other district needs.
The district’s budget has been tight, especially with paying for the softball project. Wade said he will monitor the budget closely, as they continue to be frugal with taxpayer dollars, but still provide good opportunities for students.
He said none of the buildings need immediate attention, but will continue updating buildings at a steady pace in the future. They have to figure out what to do with the former Woodlawn building, and have been gathering input from architects and the community.
Wade said they will also continue focusing on student safety and mental health, as they have increased student mental health programs and increased school security since the pandemic. He hopes to focus more on teachers’ mental health.
“One of the issues across our country that we have seen is, we will continue to try to support teachers to decrease teacher burnout,” Wade said. “We want teachers to be supported, we want teachers to enjoy what they’re doing, it’s important to have a very positive culture.”
In last year’s Kentucky Summative Assessment scores, Boyle County Schools was one of the highest ranking districts in the state. Wade said the new testing system determines where deficiencies exist, and they will address any low-scoring areas so students can score even higher in the future.
“One of the things we will continue to do is look for low-hanging fruit, look at the data and see if there are any areas that we’re not performing up to par, and address those deficiencies,” he said.
Wade is excited for the opportunity to lead, and said the district has extremely talented people.
“It’s a little stressful when you follow Mike Lafavers, because he has done so well in leading the district; but I’m quickly reminded that we have some of the best staff, administrators, teachers, students, community, of anyone around, and I know that we’re going to continue to do well and do what’s best for students,” Wade said.