In a possible game-changer for JCPS, the district has hired someone new to tackle declining test scores and figure out better ways to teach students.

On Monday, the district hired longtime educator Carmen Coleman to take over as the acting Chief Academic Officer. She's considered an expert on keeping kids more engaged in the classroom.

The JCPS board voted unanimously to approve Coleman's contract during a special-called meeting Monday night.

"I've brought in the best to do this," acting superintendent Dr. Marty Pollio said.

Coleman has more than 20 years of experience as a teacher, principal and administrator. She's a former superintendent of Danville Independent Schools. The 45-year-old will take a leave of absence from the University of Kentucky, where she's an associate professor in the College of Education.

"Her professionalism and her ability to help up lead schools and lead instruction, coupled with deeper learning, without question gave me the faith that she is the right person for this position," Pollio said.

Coleman's official first day on the job is Tuesday, but she spent most of the day meeting with JCPS cabinet members.

"What I'm most excited about is working with the teachers, the principals, and the students," Coleman said while stopping to see Roosevelt-Perry Elementary's Summer Boost program. "I'm excited about helping people to see what's possible ... to help them realize that we might not have all of the barriers that we sometimes think."

She's considered the state's leading expert on "deeper learning," which is more personalized teaching strategies.

"What I often find is that when teachers really start to understand deeper learning, and what we mean by that, they come back to me and say, 'This is why I wanted to teach. This is what I thought I was going to be doing,'" Coleman said.

Coleman will make $168,805 over the next year.

"I believe in surrounding myself with great people and great leaders, and I believe we've done that with Carmen, to move this district forward," Pollio said.

Coleman's contract with the district ends next summer. She tells us she'll consider the position permanently if Pollio remains superintendent.

Copyright 2017 WDRB Media. All rights reserved.