Return to Headlines

Dr. Sally Sugg Announces Retirement

Dr. Sally Sugg announced her retirement at the February 15th, Shelby County Public Schools Board of Education meeting. Dr. Sugg has spent over forty 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. 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. 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 and was 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. A few years later, 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, Dr. Sugg 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 which recognizes a KDE employee for “significant service to public schools and for inspiring education”. 

Returning to Henderson, Dr. Sugg was recruited to lead the high school where she had attended and taught. Under Dr. Sugg’s leadership, Henderson County High School was 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 elected 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 rounded out Dr. Sugg’s service to public education at all levels.

Becoming Superintendent of Shelby County Public Schools (SCPS) during the COVID-19 pandemic in July, 2020, Dr. Sugg led the district to establish strong partnerships within the community helping students, staff, and families cope with the crisis over several months. During this time SCPS voluntarily tested hundreds of citizens of Shelby County at the fairgrounds in partnership with Wild Health and the Shelby County Fair Board. Testing within the schools continued to keep students in class rather than being quarantined needlessly. Dr. Sugg’s focus on increased academic rigor, citizenship and life skills have helped to create a culture of aspiring to excellence. While serving as superintendent, Dr. Sugg also served on the Shelby County Industrial Development Foundation and as a board member of Metro United Way bringing additional resources into Shelby County Public Schools.

Dr. Sally Sugg is a graduate of Murray State University. She earned her Master’s degree from Western Kentucky University and a doctorate in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from Eastern Kentucky University. Dr. Sugg will be missed by the staff and students of Shelby County Public Schools and they wish her well in her retirement.