Looking for the rare combination of tradition and innovation in one package? Seek no further than Lu Settles Young, Superintendent of Jessamine County Schools.
As for tradition, “Lu,” an Eastern Kentucky University graduate, has lived and breathed Jessamine County schools since she was a seventh-grader in 1972.
She’s a Jessamine County High graduate and has spent her entire 30-year career with the school district as a teacher, administrator and superintendent (since 2004).
As for innovation, Lu helped develop the Career and Technology Center, which opened in 2006 and is where she learned she was the state Superintendent of the Year in 2012.
Lu also wrote a grant that helped launch the Providence School, an alternative school for struggling students that has helped cut Jessamine County’s drop-out rate.
At East Jessamine High, all 225 freshmen have pledged to complete 15 college credits by graduation.
Attired in her Jessamine County school shirt that bears the motto “Every Child, Every Day,” Lu is seemingly
everywhere education is happening in Jessamine County and the state – she sits on more than a half-dozen state level associations.
“If there ever was a 24/7 person, she’s it,” said board chairman Eugene Peel. “No one in this state who deals with education can be more well-versed than her. And it’s never about her. She grows people into leaders.”
Along with the state-level work, Lu is a regular presence in Jessamine County classrooms with her 10-minute “walk-throughs.”
“Sometimes, I really ache for the classroom,” said the former high-school Spanish teacher. “I like to observe, but teachers don’t stop their lessons just because I’m there.
I’m passionate about public education.
I believe in servant leadership and feel good about the work we do for the families and community.”
Perhaps the best endorsement for Lu comes from her two children. Natalie Ball, 22, is a middle-school Spanish teacher in Louisville, and Tyler, 26, works in communications at Transylvania. He just announced he feels called to teaching and plans to be a Spanish teacher – just like Mom.
What mother wouldn’t be gratified by that?