De’Nay Speaks named new principal of Cochran Elementary School

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She will begin her new role on May 13 

By Toni Konz Tatman | JCPS Communications 

Dr. De'Nay Speaks was named the new principal of Cochran Elementary School on Tuesday, May 7.

Speaks began her career 14 years ago with Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) as a teacher at Breckinridge-Franklin Elementary School. She has been the assistant principal at Wellington Elementary School since 2014. She will start May 13 and replaces Tim Foster, who retired from the district.

"Dr. Speaks has a wide range of experience -- she has been a classroom teacher, staff developer, resource teacher and a goal clarity coach," said Superintendent Dr. Marty Pollio.

"She is a goal oriented and data driven instructional leader who values and promotes a culture that focuses on high-level learning and high expectations,” he said. “She also believes in promoting a collaborative work environment that seeks to enrich the learning experiences of students each day."

Speaks said she is looking forward to meeting with parents, staff and other stakeholders.

"I'm excited about this opportunity to work with the Cochran community to ensure equitable outcomes and help all students be successful," she said, adding that as an administrator she has been able to focus her leadership on both instruction and behavioral supports.

"I have been fortunate to have had several leadership positions which provided me with the experience and knowledge necessary to authentically educate the whole child," she said. "Consequently, my students were greatly impacted daily as evidenced by the positive school culture we continuously work to build and the student growth exhibited on various assessments."

Speaks was part of the district's 2017-18 Principal Pipeline Cohort and is also a member of the district's Emerging Leaders cohort.

Nathan Meyer, assistant superintendent of the district's Accelerated Improvement Schools, said he is looking forward to working with Speaks.

"She believes in communicating, collaborating, and cultivating an environment for success," Meyer said. "We look forward to this exciting new chapter for the students, staff, parents and the tremendous community Cochran serves."

Speaks earned her bachelor's degree in psychology, her master's degree in teaching and her doctorate in Education Leadership and Organizational Development -- all from the University of Louisville.

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