Three new principals named in Fayette County

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – New principals were named for three public elementary schools in Fayette County on Tuesday.

Donte Tichenor will be the new principal at Booker T. Washington Elementary School.

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Jennifer Spencer will be the new principal at Julius Marks Elementary School.

Jennifer Jacobs was named principal at the new FCPS Girls STEM School.

“Each of them has embraced the call to serve all students at high levels and feels a sense of urgency in meeting the moral imperatives facing our district,” Superintendent Manny Caulk said. “I look forward to supporting them and helping them grow.”



Tichenor started his professional career as an admissions counselor and career transition specialist with the Job Corps program helping teenagers and young adults prepare for the world of work. From there, he went to work as a case manager with a private mental health provider, supporting families in crisis. Feeling called to education, Tichenor joined the Fayette County Public Schools in 2009, and since then has served as a substitute teacher, paraeducator, social studies teacher, behavior interventionist and dean of students. In 2018, he was selected to be the Academy Principal for the Informational Technology Academy at Bryan Station High School and for the past year, has served as the professional growth and effectiveness coach at Booker T. Washington Elementary. He holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Kentucky and two master’s degrees from Morehead State University, one in teaching and one in instructional leadership.

“Booker T Washington’s students and school community will benefit from Donte’s deep connection to the community, his unwavering belief that all students can achieve at high levels, and his deep commitment to serving Booker T. Washington,” said Elementary School Chief Lisa Smith, who oversees the school. “He brings a varied background including being a social worker, behavior specialist, academy principal, and PGE coach at the elementary level.”

Spencer has more than 16 years of experience in education, having served as an elementary teacher, assistant principal and principal in Kanawha County Schools in Charleston, West Virginia, where she led one of that state’s Schools of Innovation creating professional learning communities and 21st century learning spaces to engage students in becoming problem solvers, collaborators, creative thinkers and student leaders. She relocated back to Kentucky last year and is currently serving as the Administrative Dean at Southside Elementary in Woodford County. Spencer earned a bachelor’s degree in education from the Eastern Kentucky University, and a master’s degree in educational administration from Marshall University.

“Julius Marks students and school community will benefit from Jennifer’s diverse experiences which include head principal and associate principal leadership at multiple schools,” said Elementary Chief of Schools Heather Bell, who oversees Julius Marks. “She has a reputation of providing excellent opportunities for students through creating partnerships, being awarded grants and enhancing parent and community involvement.”

Jacobs has more than 14 years of experience in the field of education, having served as a sixth grade teacher, middle school math teacher, and pre-k through fifth grade math coach in the Chicago Public Schools. Since 2016, she has been the assistant principal at Scott Elementary in Mannheim District #83 in Franklin Park, IL. Jacobs holds a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Washington, and two master’s degrees from National Louis University, one in teaching and one in educational leadership and administration.

“We are honored to have a leader of Jennifer’s caliber join our team and welcome her family as members of the Lexington community,” said Soraya Matthews, Director of Teaching and Learning for grades 6-12. “Jennifer is eager to partner with the Innovative Programs Office on this new and exciting opportunity for our young ladies and brings a wealth of knowledge, passion, and creativity to her position as the school’s leader.”

Tichenor and Spencer will officially assume their duties on July 1, 2020. Jacobs started in her new role last week.