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Kentucky's Jefferson County Picks Principal as Interim Superintendent

The school board in Kentucky's largest school district has tapped a long-time principal to fill in as superintendent while it searches for a permanent district leader.

Martin Pollio, the principal of Doss High School, will serve as interim superintendent on a day-to-day basis during the search, which is expected to last at least six months.

Pollio replaces Donna Hargens, who renegotiated her contract with the school board last month and will resign on July 1. Hargens had about two years left on her original contract.

Pollio starts the new position on July 2 and has said he is interested in taking the job full-time, WHAS, a local television station, reported.

While Pollio will be serving in an interim capacity, we have seen big-city districts stick close to home recently when selecting new district leaders: Cincinnati and Oakland school districts conducted national superintendent searches recently but eventually settled on administrators with deep ties—and administrative expertise—in their districts.

"Dr. Pollio is the right person at the right time to steer this district—providing stability and direction while giving the board time to name a superintendent," school board chairman Chris Brady said in a statement. "Dr. Pollio has a proven track record of turning around struggling schools, increasing student achievement and helping create and implement career pathways. He's a proven leader who is respected by his peers and has the skills needed to continue moving our district forward."

Pollio joined the district in 1997 as a social studies teacher at Shawnee High School.

"For 20 years, I've dedicated my career to serving the students of JCPS," Pollio said in the statement. "It is an honor to serve as the acting superintendent, and I appreciate the work of the district's 15,000 employees who make learning possible every day. I will work to build a positive culture and climate by creating healthy learning environments in each school that empower teachers to keep our focus on the most important people we serve—our students."

The district is currently under a state management audit that could lead to fundamental changes, the most severe of which could be a state takeover. 

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