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Former Gov. Martha Layne Collins said she is excited to have a school back home again.
Collins, a Shelby County native, attended Bagdad High School and graduated from Shelbyville High School. With both of those closed, she said now she will have a school of her own.
The Shelby County Board of Education recognized Collins, the namesake for its new high school, as well as new principals and district administrators at its regular meeting on Thursday.
Collins, who served as the only female governor in Kentucky's history from 1983 to 1987, said education has always been important to her.
She was a teacher in Woodford and Jefferson counties before entering politics, and she considers educational reforms to be one of her biggest achievements as governor.
The new school will be called Martha Layne Collins High School.
“It means a lot — this is home,” she said. “I am so honored and so humbled.”
During a reception before the meeting, Collins met Anthony Hatchell, principal at the new school, for the first time.
“I enjoyed meeting him,” she said. “I'm looking forward to working with him.”
Collins, 72, said she would help Hatchell and students at the high school in any way she could.
She said the board is opening this school differently than most schools are opened, hiring Hatchell a year early and getting students involved in some of the decisions.
“I hope the students will take advantage of that,” Collins said.
Superintendent James Neihof presented her with an engraved silver tray.
He said it was an honor that Collins allowed the school to use her name.
“It will serve as a catalyst for students to set high expectations and to become future leaders — following in her footsteps,” Neihof said.
Neihof also recognized each of the district's new principals and administrators: Hatchell, principal at Martha Layne Collins High; Eddie Oakley, principal at Shelby County High; Michelle Shipley, principal at Painted Stone Elementary; Lori Stivers, principal at West Middle; Jill Tingle, principal at Simpsonville Elementary; and Brenda King, the district's new special education coordinator. Neihof also recognized Michael Rowe, principal at Southside Elementary, and Lisa Waller, the district's new elementary instructional supervisor, who were not present.
Neihof challenged those and other administrators present to build positive relations with students and staff and set high expectations for students, staff and themselves.
“As we start a new year, base everything off what's right for the kids,” he said.
Collins thanked the educators present for the work they do.
“You do such wonderful things for society,” she said.