HES principal ready to face new challenge

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Penny Cecil accepts new position in district

By Linda Ireland

Penny Cecil has resigned her position as principal at Hodgenville Elementary School to accept a position as curriculum specialist.
She’ll be helping teachers with instructional needs and working with elementary school principals on instructional issues.
She begins her new duties July 1. In the meantime, the site-based council is screening and interviewing applicants for the principal’s job. The next special meeting is June 24.
“It was a tough decision to make because I love the people at HES but I knew that in a year or two I’d be ready to give up being principal,” said Cecil, who has worked with LaRue schools for 26 years. “When this job came along I just felt like it was an opportunity to make that change. Working with teachers is actually one of my favorite parts of being principal and this is an opportunity to really focus on that.”
Cecil will be based out of central office on College Street but spend most of her time working at the schools.
“I feel we are very happy to have Penny serving in this capacity,” said Superintendent Sam Sanders. She has completed her sixth year as principal at HES and said she felt she could serve the district in this new role. I feel Hodgenville Elementary is a better school because of her leadership and welcome the wealth of knowledge and experience she brings to this position. She can pull from her vast experience in elementary education and her strong literacy background to help our students, teachers, and principals.
Sanders announced Cecil’s transfer at Monday’s school board meeting. He said the job was posted on May 23 and the “intentions are to get a principal selected before July 1.” A legislative change allows superintendents to sit on the principal selection board and vote.
One of the major changes Cecil noted during her six years as principal is the introduction of the SAMS (school administrative manager) project. Many of the principal’s non-instructional duties were transferred to the SAM.
“We received so much good training and learned to monitor our time to be very focused on instruction,” said Cecil. “This is a major change from the time when a principal was more focused on management.”
Cecil said she will miss “that special bond you have with students, parents, and teachers when you work with them in the capacity of being their principal.”
“I have made some wonderful friends since being at HES and I know that won’t change, but I know it won’t be the same either when I am not there every minute of every day and I’m not their go-to person.”
Cecil graduated from LaRue County High School in 1981 and earned her master’s degree at Western Kentucky University in 1988. She completed her Rank 1 in Educational Administration in 2003.
She is married to Terry Cecil and is the daughter of Gordon and Wilma McDowell.
Candis Carpenter contributed to this story.