Harper returns as director of tech school

Harper

Brian Harper, who resigned as McCracken County Schools Superintendent earlier this year, has been hired by the Marshall County School District as Director/Assistant Principal of the Marshall County Technical School. Harper served in the district previously, most recently as instructional supervisor before taking the position as superintendent in McCracken County.

David Riley, a member of the McCracken County Board of Education's legal team, told The Paducah Sun in March that Harper was the subject of a Kentucky State Police investigation which was looking into his use of a school-owned vehicle. That investigation came amidst a number of other investigations into employees of the McCracken County School District.

As the news of the investigation was spreading through the community, Harper resigned.

According to reports by The Paducah Sun, Harper submitted a letter of resignation to the McCracken County Board of Education during the March 8 meeting that didn't include a reason for the resignation, just a simple statement that he was resigning and the effective date the same as that of the meeting. The board voted unanimously to accept his resignation, but Board Chairman Steve Shelby later provided a statement to the press saying, "[Harper was very cooperative; he always seemed to have the best interest of the children and staff. … I wish the very best to Brian Harper and his family." Harper took office as superintendent of McCracken County Schools on July 1, 2017, succeeding Quin Sutton.

KSP Trooper Bryan Luckett last week told The Tribune-Courier the investigation into Harper is ongoing, but also confirmed no charges have been filed against him.

Marshall County Schools Superintendent Trent Lovett said the high school's site-based decision making council (SBDM) and MCHS Principal Patricia Greer selected Harper among the candidates who applied for the position because they believed he was the best fit. After that selection, Lovett said the district did its own investigation into Harper, contacting authorities and attorneys before the job offer was extended.

"He was a former principal and former instructional supervisor in our school district and we've had nothing but positive experiences with him in the past," Lovett said.

Harper has been in education for 24 years and said he chose education as his carer path because of the positive experience he had as a student and the encouragement he received from his high school basketball coach and guidance counselor.

His history in education includes business and health teacher and boy's basketball coach at Reidland High School, Calloway County Middle School Principal, Hendon-Lone Oak Elementary Principal, Lone Oak High School Principal, South Marshall Middle School Principal, Marshall County Schools Secondary Supervisor of Instruction and McCracken County Schools Superintendent.

Harper said he was interested in the position because wants to provide support for students, staff and Greer as they work to prepare for life after high school.

"One of my roles will include being the director of the Marshall County Technical Center. The Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) has placed a renewed emphasis on students being prepared to enter the workforce," he said. "In Marshall County, we are fortunate enough to have a locally-owned technical school where students can graduate being career-ready in animal science, carpentry, collision repair, electrical construction, horticulture, information technology, pre-nursing, pharmacy technician sciences and welding."

The new high school graduation requirements adopted by the KDE has a qualifier for graduating students to complete a state-approved career pathway, Harper said, so he has three main goals in his new position: the first is teachers working directly with students who have identified in a career pathways and provide guidance for each student to successfully complete four courses to meet the qualifiers for graduation; the second is having students gain real-world work experience through the co-op, work based learning and internships relevant to their career interest.

"My third and most important goal," he said, "will be to build positive relationships where students and staff feel valued to move Marshall County High School forward."

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