Biography for Dr. Sally Sugg, Superintendent of Shelby County Public Schools:
Dr. Sally Sugg has spent over thirty years working at all levels of public education. Her career began at the middle and high school level teaching English, Social-Studies, and Gifted Talented in Visual and Performing Arts and Theater. While teaching at the high school level she helped develop a schoolwide theater program that included award-winning one-act plays and full-length Broadway-style musicals. Dr. Sugg determined that school leadership was a goal she wanted to pursue after being tapped by her principal and superintendent to lead school and district committee work related to school organization and administration. While teaching in her hometown, Henderson, Kentucky she was honored to be nominated by her students to Who’s Who Among High School Teachers.
Dr. Sugg began her career in administration as an elementary principal, serving nine years in this role in Henderson and McCracken Counties. While serving in this role Dr. Sugg was able to lead teams that improved test scores and culture in both schools. During her first stint as principal, Seventh Street Elementary was one of ten Kentucky schools selected to receive the first “Welcoming Schools” awards presented by the Partnership for Kentucky Schools Reform. During her tenure Seventh Street Elementary also received the United Way Community Spirit Award for work in the community. In 2004, Dr. Sugg was selected to be a Highly Skilled Educator by the Kentucky Department of Education to work with low-performing schools and districts assigned to schools in Fayette, Christian, Monroe, Webster and Fulton Counties. It was while working in this capacity that former Shelby County superintendent, Dr. Elaine Farris chose Sally to become the Assistant Superintendent for Student Achievement. While working in Shelby County, Sally and her husband Randy, who was an industrial hygienist with the Kentucky Department of Labor, built a home here and enjoyed living in Shelbyville. Dr. Farris persuaded Sally to follow her to the Kentucky Department of Education as the Associate Commissioner of Leadership and School Improvement.
In this capacity, Sally served on the commissioner’s planning team and led statewide efforts to improve student outcomes and increase leadership capacity across the state. During her tenure with KDE, Sally was nominated by her KDE peers and selected by the State Board of Education to be the second recipient of the Kevin Noland award for which recognizes a KDE employee for significant service to public schools and for providing inspiration for education.
Returning to Henderson to care for parents with ill health, Dr. Sugg was recruited to lead the high school where she had attended and taught. During her first year as principal, Dr. Sugg led her school to increase K-Prep scores from the 55th percentile to the 91st percentile. Under Dr. Sugg’s leadership, Henderson County High School was also named a High Performing, High Progress and Distinguished High School. U.S. News and World Report honored the school with its Silver Award as “one of America’s outstanding high schools”. In addition, during her tenure Henderson County High School increased the percentage of students graduating College and Career Ready from 63% to 84% and in 2014 the junior class recorded the highest local ACT score since state testing began in 2008, increasing each subject area and composite score by at least one point. In 2014 Dr. Sugg was selected by the Kentucky Music Educators’ Association as the Kentucky Administrator of the Year for her work in upgrading all facets of the choral and instrumental music program at Henderson County High School. Dr. Sugg continued her work with Henderson County Schools during a brief retirement by serving a four-year term on the local school board.
Teaching at the college level for Murray State University and the University of the Cumberlands, along with a year as Interim Superintendent of West Point Independent has rounded out Dr. Sugg’s service to public education at all levels.
Through the years Dr. Sugg has been active in the community of Henderson by serving on the Henderson Education Coalition, Methodist Hospital Board of Directors as Vice-Chair, the Riverbend Toastmasters’ Club as Vice President for Education and on the finance committee and in the choir at her church.
Dr. Sally Sugg is a graduate of Murray State University. She also earned a Master’s degree from Western Kentucky University and a doctorate in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from Eastern Kentucky University.
Shelby County Board of Education Announces New Superintendent
(Shelbyville, Ky.) At the May 21st meeting of the Shelby County Board of Education, Dr. Sally Sugg was named the next superintendent of Shelby County Public Schools to succeed Dr. James Neihof, who is retiring on June 30th. The selection of Dr. Sugg is the result of a national search conducted with the assistance of the Kentucky School Board Association that produced 24 diverse and qualified candidates.
Dr. Sally Sugg, is no stranger to Shelby County having served as the SCPS Assistant Superintendent for Student Achievement from 2007 - 2008.
“I’ve watched Shelby County through the years and seen the growth that you’ve experienced thanks to Dr. Neihof and the board. I am excited to come back to Shelby County, reignite relationships, and work again with an innovative staff.”
Dr. Sugg brings with her experience from every level of education. She has served as an elementary principal and a high school principal as well as teaching at the high school and middle school level. She has worked in Henderson, Paducah, Shelbyville, and West Point and she served at the state level in the Kentucky Department of Education. Another interesting perspective is her service on the Henderson County School Board where she served a four-year term. At the Kentucky Department of Education, Dr. Sugg fulfilled the duties of Associate Commissioner in the Office of Leadership and School Improvement where she led school improvement efforts across the state and served on the commissioner’s leadership team.
Dr. Sugg stated, “I’m not looking to come in and change everything. I want to do a great deal of listening and be a part of a team that is moving in a fantastic direction.”
SCPS Board Member Andrew Cline said, “Dr. Sally Sugg brings a depth of knowledge and experience, has an understanding of our rich traditions, and seems excited to learn more about the innovations underway in Shelby County. I look forward to Dr. Sugg joining our team and continuing the good works already underway and established by our outgoing superintendent Dr. James Neihof. I truly believe Dr. Sugg is the right person, at the right time for our school district. With an enormous amount of uncertainty due to ongoing impacts of Covid19, Dr. Sugg’s decades of experience will help see us through the challenges we anticipate to face.”
Dr. Sugg received her Bachelor’s Degree from Murray State University, a Master’s Degree in Secondary Education and a Rank I from Western Kentucky University, and a Superintendent Endorsement and a Doctorate from Eastern Kentucky University. She will officially begin her service as superintendent on July 1, 2020.
“I look forward to working in an innovative school district that makes decisions based on what’s best for students,” said Dr. Sugg. “I can’t wait to meet with colleagues and the community to hear what they envision for the future of Shelby County Public Schools.”