Owens Saylor, superintendent of the Daviess County Public Schools, has been selected as the 2016 Kentucky Superintendent of the Year by the Kentucky Association of School Administrators (KASA). He was presented the award today (Nov. 23, 2015) at the Daviess County Board of Education in a surprise ceremony attended by faculty, staff, board members and community leaders. Saylor will now compete for the National Superintendent of the Year Award, to be given by the American Association of School Administrators in February 2016.
“Owens Saylor has brought an intense passion and tenacity for student learning to the Daviess County Public Schools. He has deeply embedded the concept ‘All means ALL’ throughout DCPS. Our schools have performed at high levels every year on the KPREP assessment, with several schools reaching distinguished and school of distinction honors. Mr. Saylor visits our classrooms daily in an effort to ‘coach’ our talented principals and teachers towards higher levels of academic success for our students. His energy and enthusiasm are incredible and he truly serves as an admirable superintendent,” Assistant Superintendent Matt Robbins said.
Under Saylor’s leadership, Daviess County has excelled in college and career readiness, doubling their CCR readiness numbers in the three years since Saylor became superintendent. The district has also experienced significant growth across schools that has resulted in a leap of state accountability system scores that place them in the top five percent of districts in the state. Daviess County Public Schools has celebrated being a Distinguished District for the past three consecutive years and has had both of their high schools named among the top 30 Kentucky high schools in the 2015 U.S. News and World Report.
Among his hallmark programs is an initiative called “Great Expectations,” aimed at students whose backgrounds may not include an expectation of going to college or high career aspirations. The program includes college visits for kids from pre-school through high school and provides supports through college and career readiness coaches. The program has become one of the most robust college and career readiness programs in Kentucky.
Saylor is also proud of the work surrounding the district’s alternative high school. Under Saylor’s tenure, the district moved the alternative school’s campus from an outdated facility to a high quality facility and campus, positioning them next to the Boys and Girls Club and the Daymar College adult education program, which resulted in immediate partnerships in a facility designed with lab space. Pupil-teacher ratios were adjusted to a maximum of 1:15, with multiple avenues for remediation and acceleration. The result has been a dramatic shift in college and career scores for the alternative school, from only one student reaching the benchmarks in 2013 to 18 students in 2014.
Saylor has served as superintendent of Daviess County Public Schools since 2012. He has 36 years of experience in education, including assignments as a high school band director, assistant principal, principal, and deputy superintendent. He earned a bachelor’s degree in music education, a master’s degree in music performance, an educational leadership endorsement, and superintendent certification, all from the University of Kentucky. Saylor was also one of four superintendents chosen to serve on the state steering committee charged with developing the current evaluation tool approved by the Kentucky Board of Education, now used by all Kentucky superintendents. Saylor also served on the KASA board of directors and currently serves as the Kentucky representative on the American Association of School Administrators (AASA) National Governing Board.
“Owens Saylor has a unique combination of vision and drive that is both innovative and highly productive,” said Wayne Young, KASA executive director. “Whatever he sets his mind to, he makes happen, and the district’s incredible growth under his tenure shows that. We are justifiably proud to call him one of our own and to put forth his name for recommendation in the national competition.”
Saylor will receive a bronze eagle sculpture, a gold Superintendent of the Year ring, travel to the American Association of School Administrators conference for recognition as a finalist for the AASA Superintendent of the Year, and a $2,500 student scholarship for a high school senior at the Daviess County Public Schools. The award is sponsored by KASA and Classworks.
The Kentucky Association of School Administrators is the largest school administrators group in Kentucky, representing more than 3,000 education leaders from across the commonwealth. Formed in 1969, KASA connects education leaders to policymakers, legislators, and other interest groups.