A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Former Boone County Schools superintendent Randy Poe continuing education journey with the KBE

By Jacob Perkins
Kentucky Teacher

Randy Poe’s journey with Boone County schools began as a bus driver for the district. Now, after serving the northern Kentucky community for nearly 40 years, Poe’s journey continues with the Kentucky Board of Education (KBE).

“I consider it a great honor to be nominated and recognized to sit on the board so that I can continue working for children in Kentucky,” Poe said. “Public education, for me, has been the American dream and my opportunity to continue to help others achieve that dream.”

On Sept. 2, Gov. Andy Beshear appointed Poe to the KBE, filling the vacancy left by former member David Karem.

Randy Poe poses for a picture with students from Erpenbeck Elementary (Boone County). After serving the Northern Kentucky community for nearly 40 years, Poe’s education journey continues with his appointment to the Kentucky Board of Education. (Submitted photo from Kentucky Teacher)

When Poe, who currently is the executive director of the Northern Kentucky Education Council, looks back upon his career, providing Kentucky’s children with an opportunity to pursue their American dream is a primary reason he entered the field of education. Poe also credits his former teachers for instilling a passion in him, one he continues to pay forward.

“I felt that the passion to serve children, as the teachers who served me were part of the reason for getting into the profession,” he said.

Poe said he hopes the work he does with the KBE continues to put Kentucky’s children at the forefront. During his time with the board, he does hope to assist with making strides in addressing issues in Kentucky’s accountability system.

“How do we go from a paper and pencil test to a true accountability system that takes other things into consideration?” he said. “Equity of access, closing the academic achievement gaps? How do we continue to strive?

“I don’t have those answers, but I am willing to listen and work with the new commissioner and the Board of Education to try to do our best for our children.”

Prior to the appointment of Poe, the KBE unanimously approved a resolution affirming its commitment to racial equity in Kentucky’s public schools.

“We should strive every day to provide the opportunities for all children so that they can achieve at high levels,” he said. “What we need to do is we need to make sure that we break down barriers and that we meet students where they are, and we raise them to the level where they can be economically prosperous in our state.”

KBE member Randy Poe, center in white shirt, poses with a group of Boone County students showing off their patriotic spirit. (Submitted photo from Kentucky Teacher)

Poe is a 1979 graduate of Newport High School (Newport Independent). He earned his bachelor’s in marketing and education, master’s in secondary education and his Rank I certification in administration from Northern Kentucky University. He earned his superintendent certificate from Xavier University, his school financial management certificate from the University of Kentucky and completed the Executive Leadership Program for Educators at Harvard University.

Over his career, Poe has received numerous awards for his work, including the 2013 Kentucky Association of School Administrators Superintendent of the Year and the 2015 Dupree Outstanding Superintendent Award from the Kentucky School Boards Association.

Of all of the awards he has received, Poe said his family will always be his greatest accomplishment. He currently resides in Union with his wife Melinda and has four children; Jessica, Alysha, Katherine and Nicholas.

Poe said every decision he makes in education is with his children in mind because “whatever I would want for my children, I would want for all children in Kentucky.”

“Every day when I would go into work, I would take my children and drop them off,” Poe recalled. “When I would pick them up later, I would always say to myself, ‘Did I do my best job today for them?’”

Poe’s term will expire April 14, 2022.

This story first appeared in Kentucky Teacher, a publication of the Kentucky Department of Education.

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