Manny Caulk, the Fayette County school superintendent in Lexington, Kentucky, has died at the age of 49, leading to a flood of tributes.
According to WKYT, the news came from Fayette County Board of Education Chair Stephanie Spires in a letter to families. “Tonight, I write with a heavy heart to inform you of the death of our Superintendent, Emmanuel Caulk, who has led our district since 2015,” she wrote.
“We are grateful for Manny’s servant leadership and passion for our two moral imperatives – to accelerate achievement for students who have not yet reached proficiency and to challenge students already proficient to achieve global competency,” wrote Spires.
The death was unexpected. The cause of death was not released. However, according to Kentucky.com, in 2015, Caulk had surgery “to remove a malignant tumor from his sinus cavity.” It’s not clear whether that ailment was releated to his death, though.
“We ask that you keep Manny, his family, and everyone who loved him in your thoughts and prayers, while also respecting their privacy during this incredibly difficult time. Arrangements to honor his life and work are incomplete at this time, but will be sent out to our FCPS Family when finalized,” Spires wrote.
Here’s what you need to know:
Caulk Was Superintendent Since 2015
On Twitter, Caulk wrote that he was, “Superintendent of the Fayette County Public Schools since 2015. Named 2018 Kentucky Superintendent of the Year and 2017 Education Week Leader to Learn From.”
His last posts on Twitter shared news about teachers of the year being named. He also wished people well as illness spread through the school system writing, “I hope everyone who is sick gets better and everyone who is well stays that way!”
According to WKYTKentucky.com reported that Caulk’s grandfather, a coal miner, had moved to Kentucky in search of the “American dream.” The newspaper reported that his accomplishments as superintendent were many, including developing the district’s strategic plan, redesigning high schools, emphasizing volunteerism, and elevating education in the community’s conversation.
“My executive leadership experiences afforded me opportunities to serve as a leader in Portland, Philadelphia, Baton Rouge, and Chicago,” he wrote on LinkedIn.
“My scope of work entailed district-wide reform efforts focused on ensuring all students have a pathway to success by implementing a student-centered approach to learning; transforming under-performing, low completion rate high schools; turning around chronic and persistent under-performing elementary schools; closing the achievement and opportunities gap; implementing high quality, rigorous and robust curriculum and instruction models; and implementing research based leadership and staff professional development all designed to increase student outcomes and life options with an emphasis on college and career readiness.”
Tributes Flooded in for Manny Caulk
As news spread, tributes came.
Representative Cherlynn Stevenson wrote on Twitter, “I am shocked and saddened at the news of superintendent Manny Caulk passing. I’m drinking from a FCPS coffee cup this morning in honor of him and his devotion to his work all about kids. I send my heartfelt condolences to his family and loved ones during this difficult time.”
The Lexington Public Library wrote, “We are saddened to learn that Supt. Manny Caulk died yesterday. Manny was a great partner to LPL and advocate for our children and families. He will be missed, though his legacy will live on through @FCPSKY. We extend our sympathies to his family and all who loved him.”
Fellow Superintendent Dr. Marty Pollio wrote, “I’m saddened to hear about the death of my friend Manny Caulk. @FCPSKY
was lucky to have his leadership and commitment to students. He will be missed.”
Caulk was previously superintendent in Portland, Maine, and an assistant superintendent in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He also worked in a school district in Louisiana and in juvenile corrections. He also, according to LinkedIn, had a doctorate of law and a master’s degree in education.