New OPS superintendent Duvall focused on building relationships, trust

March 29, 2024 | 12:13 am

Updated March 29, 2024 | 1:00 am

Photo by Ryan Richardson

One of Dr. Wendy Duvall’s first priorities as the new Owensboro Public Schools Superintendent is to build relationships and trust within the school system and across the community.

The OPS board on Thursday unanimously approved hiring Duvall for the position, and she will officially take office on July 1.

“I have worked my entire life for this,” said Duvall, who has 29 years of experience in education. “Once I got my doctorate from the (University of Kentucky in 2021), I was ready to take that next step.”

Duvall spent 14 years as the principal of Hopkinsville Middle School before obtaining her doctorate. Soon after earning the degree, she was named Assistant Superintendent of Todd County Schools, a role she’s held for the last 3 years.

“I needed to know how to run things at the district level,” Duvall said of advancing from principal to assistant superintendent. “I told my (superintendent at Todd County) when he hired me that after 3-5 years, I felt like I would be ready to run a district of any size. He has been amazing.”

Duvall nailed the timeline. 

Of her decision to seek the OPS position, she said: “Owensboro is a very diverse town. It’s still a small community compared to some of the other districts.”

Duvall said she has plenty of experience leading a diverse staff and school population. She said 52% of Hopkinsville Middle School’s student body were minorities. 

“I am used to working with very diverse people. Inclusion is very important to me,” she said, adding that extends beyond ethnicity. “I want to make sure that all of our special education students feel just as wanted, needed, and important as any other student in the school.”

Duvall said her first goal at OPS is building relationships. 

“I’m looking forward to building relationships with the board and making sure their vision is passed down, not only through the district leadership with the school leadership but in the community,” she said.

Duvall also wants to focus on creating an apprenticeship program to help students have a pathway to careers following graduation.

“One of the things that we have done in Todd County is getting kids ready for career readiness by doing apprenticeships,” she said. “That takes building relationships and trust. Apprenticeships are very important to me. Kids are ready. We want to make sure they’re able to make a living and stay in Owensboro.”

Duvall said retaining those young people is vital for Owensboro.

“You want them to graduate and want to raise their children here, so (we need to make sure) the experience they have at the high school level is the one they remember,” she said. “We want to just continue that tradition that they want to have their kids educated in the OPS system.”

During her time at Todd County, Duvall helped improve the school’s state assessment scores and raised more than $1.2 million dollars in grant funding. She spent the early part of her career as a middle school math, science, and social studies teacher in Tennessee and Kentucky before making the jump to Hopkinsville High School, where she served as the school’s curriculum specialist and English teacher for one year before being named principal of Hopkinsville Middle School.

Duvall has been involved in many professional memberships, including the Kentucky Association of School Administrators and the Kentucky Education Association. She also previously served on the Kentucky Regional Foster Care Review Board.

“The board received several quality applicants from the screening committee, but Dr. Duvall’s experience in a variety of areas in districts very similar to ours set her apart,” said OPS Board Chairman Dr. Jeremy Luckett. “The board believes that her ability to build relationships with students, families, and the community, as well as her track record of leadership and student success, makes her the right choice to lead Owensboro Public Schools into the future.”

Duvall said she is eager to get started.

“I have always been a part of districts that cherish their students and create environments where student learning is at the forefront of all decisions, and I look forward to doing the same at Owensboro Public Schools,” Duvall said. “Owensboro is a city full of diversity and opportunities, and I look forward to building relationships with our local community partners and finding new, innovative ways to work together for our students and their families.”

March 29, 2024 | 12:13 am

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