After graduating from Clarkdale High School in 1999, Ken Hardy had aspirations of becoming an electrical engineer.
But he decided instead to use his natural talent in math and science to help others by becoming an educator.
“I decided I wanted to be a teacher, so I changed my major after my sophomore year to secondary education,” said Hardy, who is taking the next step in his career by becoming the director of curriculum, assessment and accountability with the Lauderdale County School District. Hardy takes over the role from Teri Edwards after she retired.
A native of Lauderdale County, Hardy began his 15-year career in the Meridian Public School District before heading to Clarkdale High School to teach math. His experience at Clarkdale included bus driver, basketball coach, assistant principal, testing coordinator and principal.
Hardy said he was approached by Superintendent John-Mark Cain in the spring about taking on the new role at the central office. He gladly accepted, knowing the new job would cater to his strengths in data analysis and testing.
“I appreciate him having faith in me to do the job," Hardy said. "I'm excited to be in the position and I think it's the right fit for me."
Hardy said Edwards also helped him prepare for his new post this summer.
“I am appreciative of Mrs. Edwards in her role in this,” Hardy said.
Looking ahead, Hardy hopes to build on what Edwards accomplished, with the goal of improving test scores at all schools.
“We think the Lauderdale County School District can be an A district," he said. We are going to work in that respect to make that happen.”
But, he emphasized, high scores aren't the only goal.
"Our primary focus is not on test scores, our primary focus is on kids," he said.
Hardy said the one thing he will miss about being on campus is the daily interactions with students and teachers. But, he will always remind himself why he became an educator.
"The reason why I keep doing this is because every day, we have more and more students come through our doors that need something," he said. "Whether they need to write a literary narrative (or) how to factor a quadratic equation, or they need to know someone cares for them."