McCracken County educators offer strong words about superintendent situation

MCCRACKEN COUNTY, KY — During Thursday evening’s McCracken County Board of Education meeting, educators and residents had strong words about Brian Harper’s resignation and the search for a new superintendent.

At the meeting, board members approved hiring the Kentucky School Boards Association to help with the search and putting together a search committee.

But before that, several people in the audience took to the podium to voice their concerns. They included Bridgette Thompson, who teaches at McCracken County High School.

“Please find someone whose No. 1 priority is the students of McCracken County Schools. They deserve nothing less, and that is exactly what we had,” Thompson said to the board.

Others who supported Harper included parent Belinda Wooten, whose kids had attended the Lone Oak schools.

“I worked with Brian Harper when he was the principal at Lone Oak Elementary, excuse me, Hendron-Lone Oak Elementary and Lone Oak High School,” Wooten said before the board. “Brian was a principal who acted with integrity and honor. He also wanted to meet the needs of all students.”

Those who spoke at the podium also criticized the media coverage.

“We have to dodge the media at every turn,” said Mary Lee Cooper, a school counselor.

“It creates knots in our stomach and it causes a lot of anxiety and a lot of distress,” added Kelly Rottman, who teaches at the high school.

They also expressed their frustrations with the school board.

“If you have given up fighting for our district, if you can no longer serve us, then it’s time for new leadership to come in,” Rottman told board members.

“I have no doubt McCracken County Schools will rise up and be better than ever. But do not think for a minute think it will be because of you,” Cooper said to the board.

The speakers agreed that they want the top priority to be students.

“Mr. Harper has resigned. He is gone. He has left and moved completely out of the district. Our kids are still here though. Our 7,000 kids are still here. Our kids deserve this circus to end and we need leaders who are going to start putting them first again,” said Rottman.

The McCracken County School District has about 450 certified staff members, including teachers, counselors and administrators.

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