Some Powell-Holliday Back Story In MoCo.

Montgomery County Schools superintendent Joshua Powell was recently outside the district (mid-July) without board approval and several investigators have repeatedly reached out to us to find out where he was. Because the board and district are so screwed up, apparently, that no one can get a straight answer.

Well, here you go: the Kentucky Association of School Administrators 2014 Annual Leadership Institute & Expo. That’s where he was.


It took place at the Galt House in Louisville. Which probably wasn’t a wise thing for them to do if they didn’t want half the guest list emailing us photos, updates, videos and sending text messages the entire time.

Many still want to know why he’s able to get away with leaving the district without approval, defying his contract.

It’s because Terry Holliday was there and he’s been Powell’s protector since the beginning (more on that later).

There were also quite a few other educators and education officials there (speaking) who are no stranger to Powell. Many of them have turned a blind eye to what’s going on. Some of them could step up to resolve the problems in Montgomery County but don’t. Several of them have gone so far as to refuse to so much as speak to Powell, though.

A sampling of those speakers — again, some of whom are mortified by the MoCo mess:

  • David Cook, Director, Division of Innovation & Partner Engagement, Kentucky Department of Education
  • Mackenzie Hanes, Education Liaison, Kentucky National Guard
  • Gary Harbin, Kentucky Teachers Retirement System
  • Cindy Heine, Associate Executive Director, Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence
  • Terry Holliday, Commissioner, Kentucky Department of Education
  • Early Hughes, Consultant, Kentucky Association of School Administrators
  • Lynne Keen, Education Leader, Kentucky Association of School Councils
  • Lynne McCoy Simandle, Research Associate, Kentucky Center for School Safety
  • April Pieper, Coordinator, Extended School Services, Kentucky Department of Education
  • Brigitte Ramsey, Associate Executive Director, Prichard Committee
  • Joe Roberts, Director, Head Start Collaboration Office, Governor’s Office for Early Childhood
  • Alicia Sneed, Director of Legal Services, Education Professional Standards Board
  • Mark Taylor, Office of Career & Technical Education, KDE
  • Terry Tolan, Executive Director, Governor’s Office of Early Childhood
  • Todd Tucker, Education Recovery Leader, KDE
  • Bob Wagoner, Executive Director, Kentucky Retired Teachers Association
  • Charlene Williams, Kentucky Association of School Administrators
  • Richard Williams, KLA Facilitator & Consultant
  • Wayne Young, Executive Director, Kentucky Association of School Administrators

We shared that list with you to show just how the Powell/Holliday circle mingles with the rest of the state. And to show you how tied into the Beshear world they both are.

While at the event, Powell presented a session (along with Larry Bailey, one of his new hires from Terry Holliday’s North Carolina) called Dealing With Difficult Employees:



Head spinning? Good. We, too, had difficulty avoiding laughter. That’s really the point of the whole mess above. To show you just how screwed up Kentucky’s educational leaders are that they would put Joshua Powell in a position to do that. You thank Terry Holliday and the Beshear crew.

We earlier mentioned that Holliday, head of the Kentucky Department of Education, has been protecting Powell since the beginning. Let’s dig into that.

Why is Powell in Montgomery County after being run out on a rail in Union County? Because of Holliday and Baldrige, a performance improvement system Holliday has been pushing for years and an organization that put him on its Board of Overseers after giving him an award. (For more on creepy backscratching like that, search for “Sheldon Berman” on

Powell had been doing Holliday’s bidding on Baldrige in Kentucky for nearly three years prior to getting caught up in his messes in Union County. Messes that resulted in a corrective action plan that could end up getting him into even more trouble. So when he needed a job, Holliday had his Baldrige guy, Phil Eason, who also works as a consultant/recruiter, bring Powell into the mix. Because he’s the guy Powell had been working with from Baldrige — to the tune of something like $67,000 per year for a couple of consulting days per week. They got the job done and sold him to the board. Note: We recently ran a story about Eason helping another school district recruit a superintendent for a cost of $6,000. Feel free to search that out.

So now you know the back story. You know why Powell is in Montgomery County and why no one in the Holliday/Beshear world will lift a finger. Because it would definitely appear that he’s being protected.