Texas newspaper says Fayette County’s gain is their community’s loss with Liggins hire

Updated: Jun. 4, 2021 at 10:56 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - After a months-long search, the Fayette County Board of Education voted to offer Dr. Demetrus Liggins the superintendent position Friday.

While it is a gain for the school district, those in Greenville, Texas say it is a loss for them as Liggins will leave his position as Superintendent of Greenville Independent Schools.

“Our headline is, ‘Kentucky wins the race for Liggins,’” said Louis Amestoy, Editor of the Herald Banner in Greenville.

In an editorial published by the newspaper this week, they wrote how Liggins leaving their area would be a setback for the community.

“The biggest reason is that he has brought some dynamic change and leadership to the community,” said Amestoy.

The editorial says Liggins, who has been superintendent since 2016, “has proven to be an indispensable member of this community.”

“I remember when I first met him, I thought wow it’s going to take a lot to keep him here. And sure enough, as I traded text messages with people here locally, we were afraid of that.”

During the interview process, Liggins was asked in forums and meet-and-greets about his plans to address the “COVID slide” and delays the pandemic put on learning. Reporters with the Herald Banner say he was already working on ideas for Greenville.

“He was so cognizant of the fact that coming out of COVID-19, there was going to be these learning gaps or learning delays because of the confusion of that period. He understood where the district needed to go,” said Amestoy.

“We are going to look very closely at closing the achievement gap and making absolutely sure that we provide equity for all students regardless of their zip code, regardless of the school they’re in, and regardless of their family lifestyle,” Liggins said Friday.

In his role in Greenville, Dr. Liggins has increased student outcomes at all levels, including minority and economically disadvantaged students’ performance, led the creation of a 5-year strategic plan and graduate profile, and transitioned several traditional schools to schools of choice, which helped improve equity across the district.

He was named an Inspiring Leader by the Texas Association of School Administrators and was among the first to complete the American Association of School Administrators National Superintendent Certification. He earned the Distinguished Leadership Award from Texas A&M University in Commerce, Texas.

Dr. Liggins received his bachelor’s in education and master’s degree in English from California State University, Fresno, and a Master of Education and superintendent certification from Stephen F. Austin State University. He received his Ph.D. in K-16 educational leadership and policy from the University of Texas-Arlington.

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