LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Fayette County Superintendent Manny Caulk died unexpectedly Friday.
“Tonight, I write with a heavy heart to inform you of the death of our Superintendent, Emmanuel Caulk, who has led our district since 2015,” wrote Fayette County Board of Education Chair Stephanie Spires in a letter to families.
“We are grateful for Manny’s servant leadership and passion for our two moral imperatives – to accelerate achievement for students who have not yet reached proficiency and to challenge students already proficient to achieve global competency,” wrote Spires.
The district said then he was focusing on his health.
Dr. Marlene Helm is serving as acting superintendent.
Spires says current and incoming members of the board of education will work together to ensure a smooth transition. She said they will begin the arduous task of finding a new superintendent in January.
“We ask that you keep Manny, his family, and everyone who loved him in your thoughts and prayers, while also respecting their privacy during this incredibly difficult time. Arrangements to honor his life and work are incomplete at this time but will be sent out to our FCPS Family when finalized,” said Spires in the letter.
In 2015, Caulk underwent an 18-hour long surgery to remove a malignant tumor from his sinus cavity, our news partners at the Herald-Leader reported.
Caulk joined FCPS in August of 2015.
Before that, he served as superintendent of Portland Public Schools, Maine’s largest school district.
In fall 2018, the Kentucky Association for School Administrators named him 2019 Superintendent of the Year.
Caulk was 48 years old and leaves behind a wife and children.
In a Facebook post, the Fayette County Education Association wrote: “We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Superintendent Manny Caulk. He was a passionate advocate for public education and will be greatly missed.”
Lexington Mayor Linda Gorton also released a statement, saying she would always remember Caulk for his devotion to Fayette County’s children.
“He put their safety first, working as part of our stakeholder group to combat the pandemic,” Gorton said. “Our thoughts are with his family at this difficult time.”
Governor Andy Beshear also released a statement about Caulk’s passing. He said he and Kentucky’s first lady were sad to learn about Caulk’s death. Beshear called him a “tireless advocate for education and helping our children reach their full potential.” The Governor sent his condolences to Caulk’s family.
Different people with ties to Caulk tweeted condolences, including Kentucky’s former education commissioner.