New FCPS board member announced

Key Newsjournal Staff Report
LEXINGTON- Kentucky State Education Commissioner Jon Draud’s appointment of Kirk Tinsley to The Fayette County Board of Education became effective Nov. 7th. A Fayette County Public Schools (FCPS) spokesman describes Tinsley as “an active parent volunteer with broad leadership experience in the school district.” He will assume the position left open by the only African American member and former board chairman Larry Conner who resigned to take a position in an Atlanta suburb. Tinsley said it was Conner who encouraged him to apply for the position. “I was always involved in schools and even did the Prichard Committee Parent Leadership course. Larry and others called to motivate me and I threw my hat in,” said Tinsley. Though Bob Brown does not know Tinsley personally, he was excited to learn that an African-American was selected to replace Conner. “Being a supporter of Larry and the work he was doing on the School Board, I would be well pleased that Mr. Tinsley is going in.

There needs to be a Black voice in the public education arena because we have much work to be done to close the achievement gap,” said Brown who is a self declared militant regarding education. Brown has a long history of educational activism. He was a founding member of One Community One Voice and founder of the African American Education Coalition. “I am doing some research and there is still a dismal record of underachievement and lagging too far behind for minorities and poor children in the district. My concern is, I don’t hear any initiatives or any programs developed to address it. I hope Tinsley and Silberman will make it a higher priority,” said Brown. “I am not superman,” said Tinsley who recognizes that he is only one-fifth of the school board. “We are all trying to make FCPS the best. Right now I’m learning all I can to allow me to do my fifth well.” While aware of the achievement gap, Tinsley said his focus is not on any one particular group but the entire student body. “I’d like to see all schools equal,” Tinsley said. “If someone just moved in from New York and asked, ‘What’s your best school?’ I’d like to be able to say all of them are the same.”

Brown says, “The lack of achievement of any student is a problem for us all. I hope Tinsley will lend his voice to the cause of equality for all in our schools.” “I am very excited to have Kirk on our board. I have worked with him over the years, and he is a tireless worker for kids,” said Superintendent Stu Silberman. “He is an advocate for all kids and lives by our philosophy of ‘It’s About Kids.’” According to Fayette County Public Schools, Tinsley has served on the School-Based Decision Making Council at Deep Springs Elementary for three years. This year he was elected to the school council at Bryan Station Traditional Middle School, but he had to resign that seat to accept the school board appointment. Tinsley also credits his 20 years at Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky, Inc., as an asset.

He works as a quality team leader and said Toyota is where he got a real grasp of the benefi ts of teamwork. After working overnight at Toyota, Tinsley goes to Deep Springs and helps direct traffic and protect children and parents in the crosswalks and was instrumental in the fundraising efforts to help pay for a playground at Deep Springs. He also partnered with another parent to develop a program called The Learning Tree at Deep Springs to promote reading at home. “He’s just a champion for all kids. He is such an advocate for student achievement,” said Deep Springs principal Matt Thompson. “He doesn’t let barriers get in his way. He’s always finding ways around the barriers. He’s made me a better principal.” Mr. Tinsley and his wife of 31 years, Connie, came to Lexington from western Kentucky in 1976. Their daughter Haley is a sixth-grader at Bryan Station Middle School. Tinsley has at least two years on the board. His seat will be up for election in 2010.

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