Assistant Special Education Director Accepted into Leadership Academy

(SPRINGFIELD, Ky.) – Paula Turner, assistant director of special education for the Washington County School District, was accepted into the Kentucky Super Stars Leadership Academy, a leadership development program for Early Childhood professionals. The academy is part of Kentucky’s Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge grant from the United States Department of Education to the Governor’s Office of Early Childhood.

Paula Turner

Turner at the statewide convening of the Kentucky Super Stars Leadership Academy earlier this month. (Photo submitted)


Turner has been with Washington County for 13 years. She is a 1997 graduate of Estill County High School. She received a bachelor of science in psychology in 2001 from Eastern Kentucky University and a master of arts in special education in 2007 from Campbellsville University. She also received her Rank I with director of special education certification from the University of the Cumberlands in 2014. She taught at North Washington Elementary School for nine years before accepting her current position.

Through this academy, Turner will work with a mentor to develop a professional and personal leadership action plan. She has already attended the statewide convening, and will attend two regional leadership forums as well. In the six-month commitment, she will identify one area of focus in the field of early childhood and set a goal to achieve within that area. The goal will be the focus of her professional learning and will guide the one-on-one conversations with her leadership mentor.

“Having a special education background, this grant will allow me the opportunity to expand my learning and experiences in the area of Early Childhood,” says Turner. “Early Childhood operates on its own set of standards, regulations and guidelines that differ from my K-12/learning and behavioral disorders background. This academy will allow me to dive deeper into the aspects of Early Childhood to increase my knowledge and understanding of our youngest learners and how best to support our educators and staff that work with these children every day.”

“It was a competitive application process and we are excited that Paula was selected to participate,” says Jason Simpson, director of special education for the district. “She will have the opportunity to gain some valuable Early Childhood information to bring back to our district. Paula will do a tremendous job representing Washington County Schools and will add a great deal to the leadership academy.”

“Mrs. Turner does an exceptional job working collaboratively with staff and parents in various academic and behavioral roles,” says Washington County Schools Superintendent Dr. J. Robin Cochran. “Her involvement in the preschool academy is a perfect example of her commitment to growing her knowledge and skills in order to lead others.”