FCPS Interim Superintendent at the Helm

Dr. Marlene Helm, Fayette County’s Interim Superintendent


Karen Piepgrass

A drawing of Marlene Helm taking charge as superintendent.

With Dr. Tom Shelton’s resignation in November 2014, a new interim superintendent, Dr. Marlene Helm, has been appointed as of Dec. 4, 2014. This is Dr. Helm’s second time acting as interim superintendent of Fayette County Public Schools in the past decade, so she is no stranger to how FCPS works.

She said that she enjoyed being back in Fayette County.

“I love working with good and caring people such as our Board of Education, community partners, parents and incredible teaching, administrative and support staff in efforts to find new and creative solutions to ongoing issues.”

And her background in education spans 20 years. She began teaching at an elementary level at Breckinridge Elementary, moving on to work as Scott County’s director of elementary curriculum for six years.

She then continued to further her career by teaching at facilities such as Midway College, Eastern Kentucky University, Georgetown College and Morehead State University. Following her time there, she joined the FCPS system, holding a variety of administrative positions including director of the Early Start Program, assistant to the superintendent, director of state and federal programs, personnel supervisor, affirmative action officer and director of elementary schools.

Most recently, she was the branch manager of the state Cabinet for Health and Family Services, a position she left to assume her position as interim superintendent. Concerning the position, Dr. Helm said that she was thrilled to have the opportunity to return.

She said, “I absolutely love being back in what I consider the best school district in the Commonwealth. What I love about FCPS is the strength of its community support for its schools. The incredible facilities it provides for its students and staff and its history of excellence in teaching and learning.” 

I absolutely love being back in what I consider the best school district in the Commonwealth.

— Dr. Marlene Helm

Her contract officially began this January and will terminate on June 30. The contract allotted for her to work a number of days this previous December to overlap with Dr. Shelton’s final resignation on Dec. 12. There is an opportunity for her to continue her service beyond June 30 if a new superintendent is not yet determined; however, Dr. Helm is not a candidate for the permanent position of superintendent.

The Board Chair for the Superintendent Search Committee, John Price, explained that two outside firms were hired by FCPS to help in the search process: Proact and K-12 Insight. Their job is to find candidates for the position–a process that will continue until mid-May.

“Once all of the applications have been received, Proact will forward all of the qualified candidates to the screening committee,” said Price.

The committee is in charge of submitting finalists to the Board, who will then release a list to the public, and those finalists will participate in a day of meetings and interviews.

“Following these sessions with each finalist, the Board will meet to review the input received about our finalists, our interview notes, other relevant information and decide if we wish to enter into contract negotiations with once of the finalists.”

Their goal is to have the new superintendent starting by July 1.