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North Hardin principal announces retirement

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Superintendent will work with site-based council to find successor

By Ben Sheroan

After more than a decade in the top job and a part of North Hardin High School staff since 1986, Bill Dennison is retiring as principal.

Superintendent Nannette Johnston said Dennison devoted his career to the Radcliff school, serving as a chemistry and biology teacher before becoming assistant principal in 1998 and principal three years later.

Dennison announced his plans to the staff just before spring break after consultation with the superintendent.

“The plan was very orchestrated,” Johnston said with the April announcement providing the possibility of crossover time with his successor.

She said that is particularly important because the school enters the final phase of its renovation next month, immediately after classes dismiss for summer. The first-floor area around the band room will be updated and renovated to accommodate the more than 200 students enrolled in band.

The principal’s job vacancy was posted this week on Hardin County Schools’ website with a posted salary range of $66,226 to $100,795. The opening must be posted for 30 days.

Johnston hopes to begin work with the site-based decision-making council sooner.

A revision in state law makes the superintendent a participating member in the council’s hiring of a principal. Johnston participated last year in the principal selection at Lakewood and Woodland elementaries and West Hardin Middle School.

“It’s a wonderful, wonderful process,” Johnston said Thursday. “We work together through every single step of the process.”

Johnston said she plans to review every resume and application with council members, which include staff and parent representatives.

The district plans to develop an online survey to collect input from students, parents, community and staff members regarding characteristics desired in a principal. She said those results will drive questions prepared for applicants.

As the principal is curriculum leader for a school, Johnston said one characteristic immediately comes to mind.

“In today’s leadership, the first thing you look for is an exceptional teacher,” she said.

She praised Dennison’s classroom as a model for his successor. As a parent, she saw him challenge and drive her son’s work in advanced placement biology.

“He always had an interest in students,” she said. “He’s passionate about his students and has high expectations.”

Dennison’s honors include recognition as a cross country and track coach. He was selected as outstanding educator in the 1996 Governors Scholars Program and the local chamber of commerce’s educator of the year in 2002.

He earned degrees in biology and science education and a master’s in microbiology from the University of Kentucky and earned a Rank 1 plus additional certification from Western Kentucky University.

Dennison was unavailable for comment.

Ben Sheroan can be reached at (270) 505-1764.