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New CMS, CHS principals named

Campbellsville elementary, middle and high school students will have new principals for the upcoming school year, but they are all familiar faces.


On Friday, June 23, CMS and CHS site-based decision making council members met in special session to announce the new leaders at their schools.


Zach Lewis, who is currently the assistant principal at Campbellsville Elementary School, will serve as principal at CMS next school year.


And David Petett, who is currently transportation director and director of district programs, will become the CHS principal.


Zach Lewis     David Petett

Zach Lewis                                      David Petett


There will be a reception for Lewis and Petett, along with new CES Principal Elisha Rhodes and new Campbellsville Independent Schools Superintendent Kirby Smith on Monday, July 3, at 1 p.m. at the Board office. Teachers, parents, staff members and students are welcome to attend.


The hiring of Lewis and Petett for the principal posts is part of several administrative changes for the coming school year at Campbellsville Independent Schools.


Mike Deaton, superintendent, will retire on June 30.


Campbellsville Board of Education members chose Kirby Smith, who is currently principal at CHS, to fill Deaton’s position. As a result, Smith’s principal position will become vacant when he becomes superintendent on July 1.


At CES, Ricky Hunt, who is currently principal, will become director of federal programs on July 1, overseeing the District’s federal programs, preschool and adult education.


On July 1, Elisha Rhodes, who is currently CMS principal, will become the CES principal. As a result, the move will leave the CMS principal position vacant.


CMS and CHS site-based decision making councils – along with the superintendent – are charged with hiring principals for their respective schools, and have met several times in recent weeks to discuss the steps to do that.


However, because Deaton is retiring, he appointed Kent Settle, instructional supervisor, to be his designee on the CHS SBDM and Smith to be his designee on the CMS SBDM.


The current principals aren’t allowed to be involved with hiring a principal to replace them.


Applications were sought for the open principal positions, and were accepted through June 22. Several applications – including some from current CIS employees – were submitted.


In the past few weeks, CMS and CHS council members met to discuss the application, interview and selection process.


They underwent the required training to know the proper rules and regulations to follow while completing the principal selection process.


And, to help with the process, council members asked for parents, teachers, staff members and other stakeholders to complete surveys as to what qualities the new principals should have.


After conducting candidate interviews and meeting several times to discuss the applicants, council members announced their selections on Friday, June 23, in special meetings.


Current CMS SBDM members are Principal Elisha Rhodes, teachers Sharon Harris, Katie Campbell and Jessica Lile and parents Dianna Vancleave and Don Dabney.


And current CHS SBDM members are Principal Kirby Smith, teachers Dale Estes, Tyler Hardy and Dee Doss and parents Theresa Young and Cathy McMahan.


Campbellsville Middle School


During the CMS site-based meeting on Friday morning, Lile made a motion to hire Lewis as the new principal.


“Based on the criteria established by the Council, with significant input from stakeholders, and following our identified process, we have found the most qualified to serve as our principal,” she said. “And I make a motion to select Zachary Lewis as our new principal at CMS.”


Harris seconded the motion, which was unanimously approved.


Lewis has served as a teacher and assistant principal at CES.


He graduated from LaRue County High School in 2002.


Lewis completed an elementary education degree at Campbellsville University in 2006, and, in 2012, a teacher leader master’s degree.


At Eastern Kentucky University, Lewis completed an educational specialist master’s degree in 2014, with principal certification.


Lewis began teaching at CES in 2007, and taught second grade for eight years.


He became assistant principal at CES in 2015.


Lewis has been an assistant CHS baseball coach for 11 years, the first year as a volunteer.


On Friday morning, Lewis said he is excited to begin his new position.


“I consider it a tremendous honor and blessing for the CMS Site-Based Decision Making Council to give me the opportunity to be principal at Campbellsville Middle School,” he said.


“I look forward to continuing the great things Mrs. Rhodes was doing at the middle school. I can’t wait to begin working with the teachers, students and parents at CMS.”


In his spare time, Lewis enjoys playing golf and spending time with his friends and family.


He is married to Savannah Lewis and is the son of Sid and Judy Lewis of Hodgenville.


Campbellsville High School


During the CHS site-based meeting on Friday morning, Estes made a motion to offer the principal position to Petett, which Hardy seconded and was unanimously approved.


In this employment with Campbellsville Independent Schools, Petett has served as a middle school teacher and CES and CMS principal.


Currently transportation director and director of district programs, Petett graduated from Monroe County High School in 1998.


He completed a Bachelor of Science degree in secondary education at Campbellsville University in 2002.


Petett completed a Master of Arts in educational administration in 2007 at Eastern Kentucky University and a Master of Arts in gifted education at CU in 2011.


He served as an eighth-grade social studies teacher at CMS for six years, and then two years as principal at Campbellsville Elementary School.


Petett then served as principal at CMS for three years.


Four years ago, he became director of district programs at CIS, and two years ago also began serving as transportation director.


In 2005, he received the Campbellsville University Excellence in Teaching Award.


Petett received the Campbellsville Independent Schools Dare to Soar Award in 2009.


In the same year, he was featured in the School Administrative Manager national newsletter for his work with the state SAM initiative.


And in 2011, Petett was the recipient of the Fourth District KMEA outstanding administrator award.


On Friday morning, Petett said he is excited to begin serving at CHS.


“I’m blessed for the opportunity that the CHS Site-Based Council has given me,” he said. “And I can not wait to work with the students and staff at CHS.”


Petett said he is also appreciative of the guidance he has received from Deaton throughout his tenure at Campbellsville Independent Schools.


“Mr. Smith has left some big shoes to fill and I look forward to continuing the tradition of excellence that has been established at CHS.”


In his spare time, Petett enjoys fishing and cooking.


He is married to Ashlee Petett, who is a teacher at CES. They have three children, Rylee, who is an eighth-grader at CMS; Rowan, who is a fifth-grader at CES; and Remi, who will begin kindergarten at CES in August.


Petett is the son of J.E. and Martha Petett of Tompkinsville.

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