Abilene ISD appoints Dr. John Kuhn as new superintendent

ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) — The Abilene Independent School District has officially appointed Dr. John Kuhn as its new superintendent.

Kuhn has 27 years of experience in the public school system and has previously managed the role of superintendent, with his last standing at Mineral Wells ISD. His appointment to AISD will be the third school in which Kuhn has held this position, and he boasts of holding a more active role with students and school events.

“I don’t want to be a superintendent that sits at a desk and looks at spreadsheets. Now, I’ll do that. That’s part of the job, but that’s not the joy of the job,” said Kuhn. “The joy in the job is the people, especially the young people.”

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President of the Board of Trustees for Abilene ISD, Daryl Zeller, outlined how more than 30 candidates initially applied for the position of superintendent. After completing the application process, the board narrowed down to six candidates and, through various trials, to three individuals before finally deciding to move forward with Kuhn. Zeller described how the board ultimately decided on Kuhn because of his leadership skills and his propensity to lead by example.

Zeller went on to say how Kuhn’s methods will be a boon for AISD in the future, saying, “Dr. Kuhn is going to bring some philosophies and policies and enthusiasm that will start attracting kids back and start growing AISD.”

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While a more active role with students and at school functions is a benefit, Kuhn is also aware of the school system’s key issues. In regard to school safety, he brought some strong convictions for the subject.

“Safety is absolutely non-negotiable for me. In my previous school, we’ve been extremely aggressive. Implementing programs like Navigate 360. We’ve opened our surveillance cameras up to the police.”

Discipline has been another primary issue in AISD middle and high schools.

“We have an array of solutions in place to work with student discipline,” said Kuhn. “I’ve got to educate myself on which ones need to be discontinued and which ones need to be expanded out of those solutions we have.”

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Perhaps one of the most hot-button issues is test scores. Abilene ISD has seen a number of decreasing and low scores as the years progress, and Kuhn explained his procedures for tackling this problem.

“It’s not all about the STAAR test. There are a lot of other measures of success,” Kuhn said. “You have to assess the kids periodically to make sure they’re moving in the right direction, and when they’re not, you have to intervene and say, ‘What we’re doing is not working. We’re going to do something different.'”

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