Becoming the leader of a school district has been on Nate Huggins’ bucket list for decades.
He can cross that off after his selection last week to become the superintendent of Caldwell County Schools.
He said he was “flabbergasted” when he was told he was the district’s choice.
“I didn’t think I really had a chance because they have had an interim in place and 99 percent of the time, they’re hired,” Huggins said. “It’s an exciting opportunity.”
Huggins, 63, a 1973 graduate of Elizabethtown High School, has served as assistant superintendent at Elizabethtown Independent Schools since 2010.
He replaces interim superintendent Randy McCarty, who was appointed to the role last summer after the departure of Superintendent Carrell Boyd.
Huggins said what attracted him to Caldwell County Schools was the district’s “kid-centered” approach.
“Their slogan is ‘All about kids,’” he said.
Huggins said that theme runs throughout the district’s four schools and technology center along with the school board.
“My goal is to make Caldwell County Schools the best school district in the state of Kentucky through a kid-centered approach,” Huggins said. “You have to teach these children like they’re your own.”
Huggins applied twice for the EIS superintendent position.
“The good Lord didn’t think I was ready,” he said.
Huggins said EIS and Caldwell County are similar in size — around 2,400 students. He also likes that the Caldwell County school buildings all are in close proximity.
He said Princeton also is a good place to live.
“The people in town are warm and friendly,” he said.
Huggins takes over the job July 1. He said he would like to serve two four-year contracts at Caldwell County.
He said the support of his wife, Vicki, was a key factor in his new career path.
“None of this would be possible without her support,” he said. “She truly is my biggest cheerleader.”
EIS will lose one of its own. Huggins played nose guard on Elizabethtown High School’s 1969 Class 2-A state championship football team.
“Nate Huggins is someone that has truly been an example for all of what Panther Pride is all about,” EIS Superintendent Jon Ballard said. “He is a very giving, dedicated and loyal man that is willing to do whatever it takes to make things easier on others. He never says no and continually goes above and beyond without being asked to do so. He will truly be missed.”