Moving JCPS Forward | Dr. Marty Pollio

Culture and climate are top priorities as acting superintendent

Dr. Marty Pollio sits at a lunchroom table talking with elementary kids
On his first day as acting superintendent, Dr. Marty Pollio outlined in this Courier-Journal op-ed his priorities to move the Jefferson County Public School District forward.

After two decades of serving the students of Jefferson County, I am honored to begin my new role as the acting superintendent of Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS). As acting superintendent I will be a strong and visible presence in all of our schools and facilities—ensuring that each establishes and maintains a safe and healthy school culture where teachers can teach and students can learn.

I first began my career in the classroom. It was nearly 20 years ago to the day that I accepted my first teaching position at Shawnee High School. A decade later, I became the principal of Jeffersontown High School and was later tapped to lead as the principal of Doss High School. Through it all, it’s been an honor knowing I’ve had the great opportunity to influence the lives of thousands of students and lead hundreds of teachers. I’ve also developed during that time a strong belief that a positive academic climate leads to the success of a school, and I have a proven record of delivering on that for the teachers and students I serve.

Recent survey data show us that culture and morale within our schools are the lowest they have been in years. That is one of my biggest concerns and, as acting superintendent, one of my top priorities. I know that a positive school culture and healthy academic learning climate lead to meaningful school experiences for children and increased student achievement. Conversely, a toxic school culture leads to negative trends in student achievement, behavior and morale. Rest assured, I am committed to working with all of our school leaders to strengthen the climate and culture within our schools.

Additionally, like so many others in this community, I am a proud parent of a JCPS student. The success of our school district is vital is to me—both as a parent and as an employee. Since being named acting superintendent five weeks ago, I’ve also been inspired by the outpouring of positive support from not only our JCPS community but our city as a whole. What’s clear to me is that our community truly is invested in the success of our district, and I look forward to having conversations with you—the families, leaders and taxpayers of our community—about our district’s vision and how we can work together to continue moving JCPS forward.

We know the coming months will be critical for the future of JCPS, as crucial decisions made by our Board of Education will determine our path. Issues such as our student assignment plan, facilities improvement, charter schools, and, most importantly, the sustained growth of student achievement will all be determined soon, and that’s why strong leadership in our school district is more important now than ever.

With pressing issues on the horizon, I believe that I’m the right person to lead our great school district forward. Nothing is more important to the success of our city than a premier public education system that prepares our students for success in postsecondary endeavors. It truly is a privilege to serve the nearly 101,000 students and 16,000 employees of JCPS, and I want to thank our school board members for taking a leap of faith and giving someone from within our schools the opportunity to serve and lead as acting superintendent. They will find no one more committed and passionate about the success of JCPS than I am.

Dr. Marty Pollio is the acting superintendent of Jefferson County Public Schools.