GRAVES COUNTY, KY (KFVS) - Graves County Middle School's new assistant principal, Lindsey Wilkerson, should feel at home in her new job.
For one thing, she was a member of the school's first eighth grade class in 1997.
For another, she will work directly with a fellow classmate from those days – Jonathan Miller. After teaching there a few years ago and serving last year as assistant principal, he was promoted earlier this summer to principal.
Miller said Wilkerson always has had a sharp mind, pointing out that she was valedictorian of their Graves County High School graduating class of 2001. Her maiden name was Downing.
"I feel like my strengths compliment his," she explained, citing her work over the past four years with response to intervention for students struggling in reading and math.
During that time, she has served as a guidance counselor at Jonathan Elementary School in Marshall County.
After earning a bachelor's degree in interdisciplinary early childhood education, she started teaching kindergarten, with a year a Lowes Elementary and then taught kindergarten as well in the Mayfield Independent School District.
Meanwhile, she was graduated with a master's degree in school counseling and Rank I certification in administration. She earned all of her college degrees at Murray State University.
"I think Lindsey brings a positive attitude each day to work," Miller said. "She has the knowledge and skills to take our school to the next level."
"I'm happy that my duties here will be pretty similar in some ways to what I was doing as a counselor," she noted, "and I think we will work together well as a team. I'm really looking forward to meeting the faculty, staff, and students now."
Lindsey Wilkerson and her husband, Paul Wilkerson, reside in Mayfield with their three sons: Jayden, 12; Kanyn, 5; and Kye, 2.
When asked about the former classmates assuming the top at administrative roles at the school they once attended, Miller said, "I think our middle school teachers from back then would be proud that their former students have come back home and are now helping to prepare the next generation of Graves County students to become successful in education and life."
The connection for Wilkerson reminds her of how she felt back then.
"I was a little shy at that age and the transition to middle school was pretty hard for me," she explained. "So, now I am mindful of those days as I strive to build relationships with students and help them as they grow in confidence and knowledge. I am excited about the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of students."
The two will find at least one of their former teachers in the room when they attend district administration meetings: Wingo Elementary School principal Sarah Saylor.
"It is great seeing Graves County Middle School students from that first year now leading it as administrators," she said. "As an eighth grade teacher at that time, I saw future leaders when I looked at my students and now that has become reality."