Williamsburg Independent Schools will have soon have a new superintendent as the board voted unanimously Tuesday night to name current principal Dr. Amon Couch to replace Denny Byrd, who is retiring at the end of the year.
The board met in executive session for approximately 50 minutes before returning to regular session and unanimously approving a motion to hire Couch.
In addition, the motion called for Board Chair Dr. John Jeffries to negotiate a contract with Couch.
Jeffries said Couch was selected from among four candidates, though he declined to name the other candidates.
“Mr. Couch was the most qualified and had the most experience, and had previously been a superintendent,” Jeffries said.
Couch, who began his career in education as a teacher at Williamsburg in 1992, has served a principal at Williamsburg since July
“Very blessed. Very humbled,” Couch said when asked how he was feeling following the board’s decision.
“To be able to be the superintendent now is, frankly, very overwhelming to me.”
Couch has previously served as superintendent of the Clay County school system.
Prior to that, he served as principal at Boston Elementary, Williamsburg, and Corbin’s Central Primary.
Couch also spent several years working for the Kentucky Department of Education, going to under performing schools across the state to help them improve.
“To me it is the greatest school in the world,” Couch said of Williamsburg.
Couch said that in the past Williamsburg has been ranked as a National Blue Ribbon School. His goal is to get the school back to that level.
“I feel like we have the pieces in place here to be a National Blue Ribbon School again,” Couch said. “That guiding force is going to drive everything we do.”
Among the things he wants to implement is giving the students more access to technology and allowing them to take advantage of as many educational opportunities as possible in and out of the classroom.
“Anything innovative, that is where I want to be,” Couch said.
While those goal are at odds in a time of shrinking education budgets, Couch said he is blessed with a great staff at Williamsburg.
“Hopefully I can rally them together and set that vision for what we can accomplish,” Couch said. “This school district is amazing. I just want to see it get better and better and better.”
Couch said Williamsburg offers a unique experience for a superintendent because the entire school system is in one building.
“I was disconnected from the kids,” Couch said of his time at Clay County noting his office was in downtown Manchester and the schools were located throughout the county. “Here, I can literally walk out of my office as superintendent and be in a classroom in about 10 seconds. That is one of the things I love about this school.”
Couch graduated from Clay County High School. He did his undergraduate work in education at then Cumberland College and went on to earn his maters and doctorate degrees from the University of the Cumberlands.
Couch and his wife still live in Corbin. However, with the new position, he said they plan to relocate to Williamsburg.
“We are all in,” Couch said.