Madison County: “A great place to be if you’re a kid”

Superintendent Tommy Floyd

Spend a few minutes with Tommy Floyd, superintendent of schools in Madison County Kentucky, and you’ll be optimistic about public education.
Madison, just south of Lexington, serves over 10,000 students in 18 schools including two big high schools.
Under Floyd’s leadership, Madison schools engage students with projects and technology, including several next generation learning environments like EKU’s Noel Studio for creativity.
Tommy wants to see kids moving as fast as they can and hates to see kids held back by artificial barriers like seat time and end of year tests.  In a competency-based environment, “Students should take the end of course exam when they are ready not at the end of the year.”
As Kentucky considers implementation of online assessment, Tommy thinks bandwidth will be a limiting factor especially in the mountains east of I75.  Teaching training and student access will also require investment.
A supporter of the Common Core, Tommy is quick to say, “It’s not a magic bullet; it’s what you can do with it.”  Floyd and a strong group of school leaders try to use student feedback and knowledge of job requirements to make education relevant.
Superintendent Floyd sees traditional input controls like certification often standing in the way of doing the right thing for kids.  He uses team-based staffing of a middle school as an example of the challenge of meeting multiple certification requirements.
Despite the challenges, Tommy  thinks Madison is “A great place to be if you’re a kid.”

Tom Vander Ark

Tom Vander Ark is the CEO of Getting Smart. He has written or co-authored more than 50 books and papers including Getting Smart, Smart Cities, Smart Parents, Better Together, The Power of Place and Difference Making. He served as a public school superintendent and the first Executive Director of Education for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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