Education

Jefferson County Public Schools has appointed a new administrator to oversee the analysis of test scores and other data-driven projects.

Superintendent Donna Hargens announced on Monday that Dena Dossett will be the new chief of data management, planning and program evaluation for the school system.

The position has been vacant since Bob Rodosky’s retirement this summer.

Dossett will be tasked with overseeing the collection and analysis of data ranging from program evaluation, school climate and test scores to student and teacher demographics.

“We provide a lot of data on both academic performance, as well as non-academic,” she said.

Dossett said she’s not looking to overhaul the department, but she does see room for improvement by ensuring that the information provided to schools is “actionable and useful.”

Dossett will begin her new role immediately. She’ll be paid $154,627 annually.

Dossett has worked for the school district since 1999 and has served as the director of planning in the data management department since 2010. In that job, she coordinated the district’s improvement plan, directed the district’s program evaluation work and managed the district’s student assignment plan.

The appointment fills one vacancy in the JCPS administrative cabinet, but the school district still has open positions overseeing communications, business affairs and academics.

Bonnie Hackbarth, a temporary spokeswoman for JCPS, said announcements about filling those positions are expected “soon.”

Earlier this month, the district’s chief academic officer slammed JCPS  in a resignation letter. His resignation surprised many members of the Jefferson County Board of Education and strengthened the call to fill the open cabinet positions.

Board of Education member Linda Duncan said open high-level positions need to be filled as soon as possible.

“Because we have a district full of people right now who are carrying heavy loads because the people above them aren’t there,” she said.

School board chair David Jones Jr. echoed the need to fill the positions. But he stressed the need to “fill them well.”

“These are really hard jobs,” he said. “It’s a big challenge to lead an urban school district in the United States.”

Jacob Ryan is a reporter for the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting.