Donna Blevins at last summer's come and go retirement reception.
Blevins was congratulated by Superintendent Wayne Roberts for her 16 years of service at the January Board of Education Meeting.
Blevins posed for a family photograph with her husband Steve, along with daughter Yassmine King and her step-daughter Riley, a first grader in McCreary County, after the recognition segment of the meeting.
Blevins' was wished well by Principal Melissa Gossage
Donna Blevins was recognized during the January Board of Education Meeting for her 16 years of service to Wayne County Schools. She received a plaque from Superintendent Wayne Roberts for her years of working for the children of the county. She took a leadership role, serving as the chairperson for many of those years.
Whether it was a career day at school where she shared her occupation, volunteering in a school at an event, attending her childrens' school activities, participating in an education interview, or being supportive to the staff - she served as an excellent ambassador of Wayne County Schools during her tenure.
She chose not to run for her board seat during the last election. The local beautician is excited to be welcoming a grandchild to her family, which will be a priority. Her daughter Yassmin King, an attorney at Carroll and Turner Law Office, is expecting in April. She is a Wayne County High School graduate from 2009 and a Northern Kentucky University Chase School of Law 2018 graduate. Her brother Kolby graduated from Wayne County High School in 2018. He attended NKU his freshman year and Gateway Community College. He is pursuing a degree in nursing.
When her first board race came along in 2004, her children were in middle school and kindergarten. “After much consideration and prayer, I thought what better way can I be involved in my children’s lives, as well as others --- but by being a school board member.”
“I went in not realizing what all being a board member's duty was,” recalled Blevins. “I knew they paid the bills and made a few day to day decisions about the school system. After a few months of being on the board and the trainings I received, I soon learned it was so much more.”
Since then she has accumulated 153 hours at an Academy Level Achieved III. Her first training was about being a “New Board Member”. “It was the one that was most enlightening on my duties as a new member. It dealt with school law and understanding the regulations. The most important topics were academics, safety and finance,” she thought.
"Back then, who would have thought we would be doing virtual learning,” she remarked.
Even though board members are paid very minimally, she has gotten a lot in return for her involvement with the school district. “I got the benefit of having more hands-on involvement in my children’s educations, as well as all the children in the Wayne County School system. The knowledge and relationships I gained have been worth it all. Being a board member simply has shown me what a great school district we have and made me proud to be a Cardinal!”
“I’m super proud of all the instructional programs in the district,” she said. “If I had to choose one that stands out to me, it is at the high school level with the Cardinal University. It gives the children in our district the opportunity to expand their education and earn college credits with the possibility of earning an associate’s degree while attending high school. Both my children got to utilize this program and earn college credits, which enabled them to get a jump start on their college degrees.”
Blevins could not say enough about the services that are available to students and families in this district. “As Mr. Roberts says, the day starts with the transportation department. The smiles on the bus driver’s face starts the child’s day off in a positive way. All of our transportation department goes above and beyond to make happy and safe trips for children to and from school.”
She referred to the progress the health services department has made with the addition of school nurses in each building, not to mention having a nurse practitioner on duty for students and staff.
“During this pandemic, the light has really been shining on our technology and nutrition departments. The tech department has kept our students on the road to a great education by maintaining all the chromebooks and hot spots around the county. The nutrition department has blown me away especially in these trying times. Free meals to all students and now they work extremely hard to provide meals for each student at home. I appreciate all of the services that are provided for the students at Wayne County Schools.”
Blevins mentioned that as with anything, there is always a few complaints from constituents. “But I have to say, they have been minimal. I always addressed any issue with the superintendent and followed up with my contact. Most everyone I came in contact during my time on the board has been understanding and supportive of our school system.”
The campus has changed considerably during her tenure. It started with the groundbreaking of the Wayne County Middle School. Bell Elementary had a big renovation with a new wing and their first gymnasium. The new middle school gained a two-story wing next. The district inherited Monticello School with a very smooth transition through the merger. That building is currently completing a face lift. The new soccer and track field is new and is situated across from the newly remodeled District Services Building.
“While there are lots of great improvements, I would have to say my proudest project has been the new Area Technology Center building. If you haven’t been in that building yet, it is state-of-the-art.”
When asked about advice for future board members, she recommended going into it with an open mind and open heart. “Remember that every decision you make will impact the education and safety of a child. Keep children first.”