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Wayne County Schools update branding while honoring the past

Jarrad Parmley


Jared Parmley

(WCHS Assistant Principal Jarrad Parmley produced a 26-page Brand Graphics Policy manual for the district, based on the branding committee;s input regarding research and design of the official school logos and lettering. The guidelines present the districts institutional branding across the board from academics to athletics and beyond.)

     One of the great things about Wayne County Schools is the mindset to continue to improve and
provide the best educational practices for all students. It is a matter of pride as students and staff
continue to grow and add to their knowledge base and skill sets.
     While students work hard in the classrooms, there is a consistent, conscious effort by the staff
to make each of their programs the best of the best. In fact, many school staffers head their professional
organizations, share presentations on the latest instructional success stories, and serve as consultants in
their specific fields on a statewide and sometimes national level. Curriculum coaches and reading
specialists work within the schools as resources for teachers to provide rigorous and valuable
instruction. The teachers meet in professional learning communities to share strategies that are working
the best and ensure students do not fall through the cracks.
      “Many of our teachers and administrators have pursued career ambitions to become experts in
their fields and to serve their peers,” said Wayne County Superintendent Wayne Roberts. “We are
happy to support their efforts. Their skills enhance the quality of our services here at home and their
desire to achieve at high levels serves as a great example to our students who reap the rewards of their
     These professionals that continue to adapt to change and learn new and smarter strategies are
not the first talented teachers in the county driven to educate all children. In fact, many of their
ancestors wanted what was best for the children of Wayne County and went to great links to achieve
their goals. Local educators have been creating many ‘firsts’ in education for over a century, establishing
quite a track record in the field of education.
     This became especially apparent this school year, when the district rebranded their image and
logos to a more consistent and uniform approach. In order for a committee to make suggestions on
visual images and slogans that represented the district, the history of local education became a research
project. With the help of the Wayne County Historical Society, the history of education revealed some
very impressive ‘firsts’ where Wayne Countians led the way in the state of Kentucky. Thankfully, several
local historians documented different segments of local education history over the years, so these
worthwhile events would not be lost. These local authors realized future generations could learn from
the past.
      Retired Teacher Sue Rogers has taken a particular interest in preserving books and data about
Wayne County’s educational history. She is the “go to” person at the local history museum where she
has organized shelves and shelves of education documents and books. She was excited to share so many
remarkable achievements in education that she has carefully collected. She and her fellow history buffs
were ready and able to meet the district’s inquiries.
     To the committee’s amazement, they discovered a treasure chest of fun facts to know and tell,
found in that valuable collection that previous generations brought about.
For instance, Wayne County has the distinction of being named “First in Public Education” after
a proposal was made for free public education in the Kentucky legislature, as far back as 1837.

     By 1843, Wayne County was the first county in Kentucky to vote for the establishment of a
system of free public schools. A handful of commissioners rode horseback into the remotest corners of
the county to lobby for the new law, looked upon as a dangerous and radical innovation. It took them six
years to organize the county into common school districts. Apparently, the citizens of Wayne County
were eager to see the opportunity to acquire an education extended to all when they voted to accept
this revolutionary measure. Micajah Phillips wrote “Finis” in his minute book September 26, 1843.
      By 1847, public education was finally established by the Kentucky legislature. Wayne County
had the honor of being the first county in the state to adopt this new system in its entirety. Micajah
Phillips became known as the “Father of Public Education” in Wayne County.
By 1860, the state board of education recommended the course of instruction in the Common
Schools by adopting uniformity of textbooks, but the law was not rigidly enforced.
Unfortunately, segregation was prevalent, so in 1868, the Little Flock School was opened on the
ridge above Shearer Valley and became Wayne County’s first Negro school. In the 1890’s, Mollie
Hatchett Denney was the first female superintendent to win the election. Also, prior to women’s
suffrage becoming a reality, Hattie Denney King became superintendent in 1917.
      Another ‘first’ was in 1945 when O.M. Travis was recognized for his educational and civic
leadership by Gov. Simeon Willis who appointed him as the first Negro member of the Kentucky State
Board of Education where he served four years.
      Perhaps, one of the greatest contributors to local education was Ira Bell, who served as
superintendent from 1929-1967. He is considered a pioneer in school consolidation, pupil
transportation, and building projects. During his tenure, another significant ‘first’ occurred in 1955. The
Griffin School was the first school in Kentucky to become racially integrated. Marie Blevins was the
teacher. By 1962, integration became complete in all Wayne County Schools.
At the recent Martin Luther King Unity Breakfast, it was pointed out that Ira Bell was
posthumously inducted into the Kentucky Civil Rights Hall of Fame in 2001 for this significant
      “We’ve got a lot to be proud of in Wayne County, especially when you look back through the
history of education,” acknowledged Wayne County Superintendent Wayne Roberts. “We have
obviously made our mark in the Commonwealth, along this journey. It is up to us to continue these
‘firsts’ for our students’ sakes.
      With all this rich history in mind, the Board of Education agreed to incorporate “First in Public
Education” in the design of their new seal this past fall. Not only is the seal now being used, but also
several other custom designs have been created that are being adapted across the district. The new
emblems reflect an acknowledgement to the past, as well as clean lines modernizing the look for today’s
standards. Wayne County High School Vice-Principal Jarrad Parmley took a lead role in creating the new
graphic art for the school district. The logos meet specific colors, fonts, and size guidelines specific to
Wayne County Schools.

     “Our brand graphics policy provides guidance for each stakeholder to present our institutional
branding across the board from academics to athletics and beyond,” explained Parmley. “By using our
guidelines, we feel that will make Wayne County Schools recognizable to all audiences.”
The individual schools also have artwork that they use in-house that portrays their grade levels.
The slogan on the seal, “Great Expectations…Every Student…Every Day,”
seems to sum up both today and yesterday’s standards.

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