LEXINGTON, Ky. — After a five-month, nationwide search, the Fayette County Board of Education has unanimously moved to appoint Demetrus Liggins to be the next superintendent of Fayette County Public Schools subject to board approval of a contract.
“We were energized by the community engagement in this process. Overwhelmingly, we heard our community wanted someone who not only can connect with students, staff, and community partners, but also understands the value brought by these diverse perspectives,” said Board Chair Tyler Murphy. “Our board is enthusiastic to find a candidate whose skills and experiences align so well with the superintendent candidate profile.”
At the first press conference held in the new John D. Price Administration Building, Liggins said, “I am excited to get to work every day on behalf of staff, students, families, and the community, to make us a better place.”
Currently, Liggins serves as superintendent of schools of the Greenville Independent School District (ISD), an urban district outside of Dallas, Texas. Upon his arrival in 2016, the district had a “D” rating and was facing fiscal challenges. Since then, the district earned high ratings in academic and fiscal performance. The Texas Education Agency gave Greenville ISD a “B” overall, and a “Superior” rating for financial management.
Bilingual in English and Spanish, he initiated a citywide literacy program called Rally Round Reading, which offers all children ages birth to third-grade high-quality online reading materials in both English and Spanish. He serves on the Texas Association of School Administrators’ Race, Equity, and Diversity committee.
Liggins values preparing students for both college and careers and has created a partnership with Texas A&M University-Commerce guaranteeing admission of all Greenville ISD graduates and free tuition for economically disadvantaged students. In 2020, he was recognized as a “Superintendent to Watch” by the National School Public Relations Association.
Greenville’s Herald Banner, recently published an opinion piece with the headline, “Losing Liggins will be a setback.” Feedback from the Fayette County public included positive comments such as, “He is the clear choice.” One student shared, “He is a great idea generator and has the best heart for students.”
He received his bachelor’s in education and master’s degree in English from California State University, Fresno and a Master of Education and superintendent certification from Stephen F. Austin State University. He received his Ph.D. in K-16 educational leadership and policy from the University of Texas-Arlington.
Liggins will serve in the position previously held by Superintendent Manny Caulk, who passed away unexpectedly in December 2020. Caulk cared deeply about students and made positive impacts on teaching and learning in the district. Marlene Helm has served as interim superintendent since November.
“Dr. Helm’s guidance, wisdom, and leadership during a particularly challenging time for the district has been invaluable. Her steady leadership has benefited our students, staff and families and will help make the next superintendent’s transition a success,” said Murphy.
The goal is to have Liggins in place to start the 2021-2022 school year, the district said in a press release.