Days after superintendent search reopens in Frankfort, Houston B - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Days after superintendent search reopens in Frankfort, Houston Barber applies for top job

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Houston Barber had been the principal at Shawnee since January 2014. Houston Barber had been the principal at Shawnee since January 2014.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Less than a week before Frankfort Independent Schools was expected to name its new superintendent, the school board there reopened the search to allow the former principal at the Academy @ Shawnee to apply. 

Houston Barber, who resigned from Jefferson County Public Schools on Friday, told WDRB News he applied for the position Friday and will interview for the top job this week.

According to The State Journal in Frankfort, the school board reopened the application process last week despite after going through rounds of interviews with candidates who had already applied and indicated that they expected to have a new leader in place by June 18.

“It has come to the board's attention from the community that there may be qualified candidates who did not originally apply who may be considering the position,” the board chairman, Paul Looney, told the newspaper. He would not disclose the names of potential candidates.

Brad Hughes, a spokesman for the Kentucky School Boards Association said his organization did the initial vetting of the applicants for the Frankfort job to ensure they meet the criteria the board has set and worked with the screening committee, but once the board took over the interviews, KSBA was no longer involved.

"This is unusual - but not unprecedented - in that they've reopened the application process," Hughes said.

Barber resigned from JCPS two weeks after he took a leave of absence from Shawnee, citing personal reasons. He had been principal at Shawnee since January 2014, when Superintendent Donna Hargens named him the school's new principal.

When asked Monday why he didn't apply for the Frankfort job during the initial application process, Barber said he had to "explore options with my family."

"Really took a step back to reflect and think about work-life balance," he said. "(Frankfort) is my hometown and I have always wanted to return to my hometown."

Barber was also one of three finalists for the Oldham County Schools superintendent job in 2012.

Barber's leave of absence from Shawnee began May 26 and he was not present for the school's graduation, which upset some students and parents. The school's three assistant principals -- Amber Jaggers, Tyler Shearon and Jaronda Majors -- are leading the school while JCPS searches for his replacement.

Barber was previously the principal at Fern Creek High School from 2007 through 2013. 

He took over at Shawnee after the school's previous principal, Keith Look, resigned to take another job in July 2013.

Shawnee is one of Jefferson County's lowest achieving schools and has been in the midst of a turnaround effort.Barber's annual salary as principal is $132,955.

Reporter Antoinette Konz can be reached at 502-585-0838 or @tkonz on Twitter.

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