Local group asks Paducah Public Schools to change minority hiring practices

A local group is demanding changes for minorities looking to work in leadership roles at your children’s schools. 

"Overlooked, under represented and disrespected," said Community Clergy Fellowship President Alfred Anderson.

The Community Clergy Fellowship is a group of Paducah preachers. Members spoke out on Tuesday, asking for more minorities to be considered in the hiring process for administrative positions in the Paducah Public Schools.

The group’s focus is on the central office, the people in charge. The district has 14 principals and assistant principals. Four, 33 percent, are minorities. 

The district also has a superintendent’s cabinet. It’s made up of school leaders who give the superintendent advice and input on district and educational issues. None of it’s six members belongs to a minority group. That’s compared to the 59.8 percent of students at Paducah schools who are minority students.

"We want to draw attention to the blatant lack of diversity in our schools system," Anderson said.

Anderson and other members of the Community Clergy Fellowship stood outside the Paducah Board of Education on Tuesday demanding changes to a process they say is unfair.

"She didn’t even get an interview. That’s blatant and we cannot tolerate this again," Anderson said.

Anderson says they wanted to bring attention to the issue after he says a local African American woman who worked in the school system received her certifications and applied for the food services director position. They say she didn’t get a chance at an interview, and the job went to a woman in another school district who doesn’t belong to a minority group.

"At least give her an interview her give her a chance," Anderson said.

Paducah Public Schools Superintendent Donald Shively released a statement on Tuesday that says: 

I found that our hiring committee followed district policies and procedures and vetted each applicant. I am confident that the committee chose the best applicant. We are pleased that we have hired a food service director with more than five years of outstanding experience in a nearby public school district.

"You say that we are working on diversity in hiring practices of the district. This is certainly not working on it," Anderson said.

With the statement, the superintendent has the highest percentage of staff and principals who are minorities in the state. It has the second highest percentage of teachers who are minorities.

Still, this group says it’s time for change.

The new food service director, Lynsi Barnhill, out of Hickman County, starts on Sept. 12.

Anderson says he’s helping the woman who didn’t get the position reach out to an attorney and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

This is the full statement from Superintendent Donald Shively:

Last week, after receiving an outside request, I reviewed the process that led to the hiring of our new food service director. I found that our hiring committee followed district policies and procedures and vetted each applicant. I am confident that the committee chose the best applicant. We are pleased that we have hired a food service director with more than five years of outstanding experience in a nearby public school district.
In fiscal year 2016, the Paducah Independent school district was first in the state (with Jefferson County) in the percentage of minority staff. We are second in the state to Jefferson County in our percentage of minority certified employees. Our district has four minority principals and assistant principals, with three of those principals moving up from faculty positions within our district. We have a diverse recruitment team of teachers and administrators in place who aggressively recruit minority faculty. Our district believes that our diversity is an asset.  We will continue to seek and recruit applicants who reflect that diversity.

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