The passing of another school year has swept a new slate of education administrators into the spotlight, with both the Green River Regional Educational Cooperative and Butler County Schools recently naming new leaders.

Among them is Russellville Independent Schools Superintendent Bart Flener, who GRREC named Friday as its new executive director. Flener replaces former executive Tim Murley, who retired last year.

“I feel both humbled and honored,” Flener told the Daily News on Wednesday, adding that he sees himself as the “lead learner” within the cooperative, which represents 47 school districts in Kentucky and supports nearly 160,000 students with a range of services and programs.

During his three years as the Russellville district’s superintendent, the cooperative’s services have been indispensable, Flener said, recalling how it sent grief counselors to his district during a tragedy and has offered other vital support services.

“I greatly appreciate the professionalism and expertise that GRREC has provided,” he said.

In announcing the decision Friday, GRREC lauded Flener’s instrumental role in developing within his district “a culture focused on collaboration and innovation, a vision he is committed to continuing in this new role.”

“Flener is a passionate educator with a variety of leadership experiences which will serve him well in his role as executive director,” Warren County Public Schools Superintendent Rob Clayton, who chairs GRREC’s Executive Committee, said in a news release. ”We are confident in his ability to serve the diverse needs of GRREC school districts with passion, enthusiasm and innovation as we continue to navigate these very challenging times.”

As its new leader, Flener hopes to help expand the cooperative’s outreach efforts. That includes a program it is developing as a pathway for educators to get additional training and rank up, thus improving their earning potential and overall skillset.

Flener thanked both the Russellville Independent Board of Education for hiring him and Melissa Biggerstaff, who has served as GRREC’s interim director and will continue to do so until the end of June. GRREC members will have the chance to meet Flener at a later date once current social distancing guidelines have been lifted, the cooperative said, with details communicated as that date approaches.

Likewise, a new leader has also stepped up in Butler County, where Superintendent Scott Howard is retiring next month.

Robert Tuck, most recently an assistant superintendent in the district, was officially hired for the position May 14. He addressed the school district’s staff in a recent message.

“I greatly appreciate the opportunities which I have been blessed with over the last 22 years, working and growing in our community as a teacher, coach, assistant principal, principal, instructional coordinator, (director of pupil personnel) and assistant superintendent of the Butler County School System,” he wrote. “The experiences and the relationships I have built throughout these years working with students, parents, school staff, and community members, are invaluable to me. They have helped mold me into the person I am today. They have also provided me with the opportunity to expand my skills and knowledge in additional capacities. The opportunity to serve as the superintendent of Butler County Schools will be without a doubt an honor and a privilege.

– Follow education reporter Aaron Mudd on Twitter @BGDN_edbeat or visit bgdailynews.com.

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Education reporter. Covers education and related issues, focusing primarily on the Bowling Green and Warren County public school districts and Western Kentucky University.

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