KASA Executive Leadership Academy
for Aspiring Superintendents


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KELA Core Faculty

Dr. Rhonda Caldwell, Ed.D., CAE
In her role as Executive Director of KASA, Rhonda sees firsthand the critical link of a school superintendent to the overall success of the students and community he or she serves. Dr. Caldwell is the driving force behind state-wide implementation of The Leadership Challenge© as a premier school leadership model. Her vision for growing leaders, transforming public education, and shaping students’ futures guides the work of the KELA Core Faculty and Advisory Team.    

Jon Ballard
After 33 years in education, Jon Ballard retired as Superintendent of the Elizabethtown Independent Schools in 2020. Prior to serving in that role for seven years, Jon held many other administrative positions including associate superintendent for human resources, director of pupil personnel, elementary school principal, middle school vice-principal and high school math teacher. Jon currently co-hosts a dynamic podcast for new and aspiring teachers called Edu-Cache.

Dr. Jim Evans, Ed.D. 
Dr. Evans, former Superintendent of Lee County Schools, began his career as an instructional aide, and bus driver, then worked as a teacher, coach, assistant principal, principal, transportation director, and director of federal programs. He knows what it means to run all aspects of the school district! Jim was recipient of 2015 Kids First Advocacy Award, 2016 KEDC Superintendent of the Year, the F.L. Dupree Superintendent of the Year and 2018 Kentucky Superintendent of the Year.

Kathy Fields
With 36 years of public-school experience, 31 dedicated to school and district level administration, Kathy Fields brings extensive knowledge and a deep understanding of the importance of fostering a compatible match between superintendent and school board. Kathy’s four-year service as superintendent of Jessamine County Schools focused on cultivating strong communication, building community relations, and working nationally and internationally with diverse populations.

Dr. Troy Hutchings, Ed.D.

Dr. Hutchings is the Senior Policy Advisor for the National Association for the State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC). He has a record of full-time teaching, research, and administrative responsibilities at the university level spanning 15 years, and has also served as a high school teacher, administrator, and coach in public and private schools for an additional 16 years. Dr. Hutchings work in the area of ethics, the development of a national code of educator ethics, and responding to employee behavior are recognized across the nation. 

Micheal Haggen
Michael Haggen is Senior Vice President Content Development and Chief Academic Officer for Scholastic Education. In this role, he ensures that Scholastic is a responsive comprehensive literacy partner to pre-K through grade 12 districts nationwide. In Haggen’s twenty-five years of academic experience, he has served as a teacher, principal, chief academic officer and direct report to superintendents. His hands-on approach has led to significant change, most recently in East Baton Rouge Parish School System, where he was Deputy Superintendent.

Tammy Newcome
After 28 years of working as a High School Mathematics Teacher, Adjunct College Instructor, High School Assistant Principal, Elementary/Middle School (K-8) Principal, Instructional Supervisor, and Assistant Superintendent/Chief Academic Officer, Tammy currently serves as KASA Director of Membership. Tammy possesses a keen eye for details and will serve both as a content contributor and an accountability leader ensuring that KELA maintains the highest standards for quality and lives up to KASA’s commitment to delivering the Gold Standard of service. 

Owens Saylor

Owens Saylor serves KASA as the Director of Program Development and coordinator for all KELA activities. Owens’ 37-year career in public education, including a five-year assignment as Superintendent of the Daviess County Schools, brings a unique perspective and experienced skill set to the superintendent preparation program. Owens was recognized as Kentucky Superintendent of the Year in 2016.