Stephanie D. SullivanStephanie D. Sullivan
Graves County Central Elementary School
Graves County School District
Mayfield, Kentucky

Since Graves County Central Elementary opened under Stephanie Sullivan’s leadership in 2004, the staff and students have known nothing but success. In each of the five years since district leaders established the rural school, students’ scores on standardized tests have met academic proficiency targets. In 2006, Graves County Central Elementary ranked ninth in the state of Kentucky for its achievement levels. As the sustained high performance of the 470 students shows, Sullivan has set challenging expectations and standards for her Pre-K-6 school. To ensure student achievement, she demands rigorous classroom instruction that engages students and develops their love of learning. Teachers track student progress through continuous assessments. Struggling learners receive extra help through “Success Labs” that take place before and during the school day. With Sullivan’s support, 40 percent of the teachers at her school have achieved National Board certification. Graves County Central Elementary students receive support from parents and community members, including high school mentors. The school has logged about 4,000 volunteer hours each year. “I have enjoyed the unique opportunities of establishing a new school, setting the tone of excellence, and providing a student-centered culture that leads students, teachers, and parents toward academic and personal success,” Sullivan says. She has held two principalships since 2001. She earned a bachelor’s degree in education from Murray State University in Kentucky.