Superintendent Tom Shelton, Ph.D.

Tom SheltonTom Shelton, Kentucky's 2011 Superintendent of the Year, became head of Fayette County Public Schools effective Sept. 1, 2011. He announced on Nov. 6, 2014, that he would be leaving to become the next executive director of the Kentucky Association of School Superintendents. The school board subsequently named Mary Wright, the district's chief operating officer, as superintendent designee from Dec. 13 to 31, the time during which Tom officially is still superintendent but won't be working because of accrued leave time. The board also appointed veteran educator Marlene Helm to take over as interim superintendent on Jan. 1, 2015.

Tom previously served as superintendent of Daviess County schools in Owensboro since July 2004. For six years, he was the assistant superintendent for finance and operations and three years as director of Business and Finance, also in Daviess County. 

Coming from a long line of ministers and teachers on both sides of his family, Tom followed a nontraditional route to a career in education. A certified public accountant, he earned a bachelor's degree in accounting, a master's degree in business administration and a Rank I in educational administration from Murray State University. He has completed his Ph.D. degree in educational leadership from the University of Louisville and a graduate certificate program in executive educational leadership from Harvard University.

Tom's dissertation, "The Effects of School System Superintendents, School Boards and Their Interactions on Longitudinal Measures of Districts' Students' Mathematics Achievement," received the University of Louisville's College of Education and Human Development Dean's Citation upon completion of his degree requirements. Since completion of his Ph.D., his research has won both the Districts in Research and Reform group's dissertation of the year award and the Research on the Superintendency group's dissertation of the year award from the American Education Research Association (AERA).

His research has been presented in several conferences including the AERA 2011 conference in New Orleans, La.; the 2012 AERA conference in Vancouver, British Columbia; and at the International Congress of School Effectiveness and Reform's 2011 conference in Limassol, Cyprus. 

Tom serves as the chairman of the Kentucky Teachers' Retirement System's Board of Trustees, a member of the Superintendents' Advisory Council for the Commissioner of Education and president of the Council for Better Education.

He also serves as a member of the Unbridled Learning Guiding Coalition, which leads the state's work related to our new assessment and accountability model and the development and implementation of our new teacher and leader effectiveness system. In addition, he represents Kentucky as a member of the governing board of the American Association of School Administrators.

Tom and his wife, Gwen, have two daughters: Abby and Audrey.

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