Lisa McCarty

Lisa McCarty stands on the stairwell at Owensboro Public Schools Central Office.

Lisa McCarty’s career with Owensboro Public Schools has come full circle.

When the current OPS chief operations officer retires on Jan. 1, it will be after 30 years of service to the district where she began working while pregnant with her son. She is now retiring so that she can spend time with her son’s child, who is due in December.

“I’m looking forward to my retirement,” she said. “I will get to watch my first grandbaby, spend time with my family, and just do things I’ve always wanted to do.”

McCarty’s first position with the district was the family resource coordinator at Estes Elementary School in 1991. In that position, she and the school system developed a lot of programs for families, such as child care and an on-site GED program.

In 2005, she became the assistant principal at Estes before accepting a position at the district central office in 2007. At that time she was the food service director, and from there became the assistant superintendent of support services, which included being the human resources director.

She’s worked with five superintendents and seen big changes take place throughout the district over the course of 30 years. The district has done a lot to enhance instruction and build a community of leaders. Specifically, she said the arts programming within OPS has been a big improvement.

“It’s unbelievable what kids have available now,” she said, adding that it’s always a joy to go into an OPS elementary school classroom and see students practicing their stringed instruments.

Some of her fondest memories include working with the staff at Estes. Most important though, have been her relationships with OPS students and their families.

“You feel like you are making a difference in their lives when you are there with them daily,” she said. “That’s what I like about education. I like working with the students.”

She enjoyed her career and feels blessed to have worked within a supportive school system like Owensboro’s, she said.

“I have been blessed with a lot of wonderful people, who have a deep desire to help children,” she said. “I have been very fortunate to work with great superintendents and principals. It’s just been great.”

OPS Superintendent Matthew Constant has worked with McCarty for 10 years.

Constant said when someone dedicates three decades of their life to one organization, it’s obvious their commitment level is high.

He considers McCarty an “invaluable friend, confidant and peer.”

Her retirement is bittersweet for the district because she will be tough to replace in terms of her job, but he is happy she will move on to “write new chapters in her books.”

“We will miss her,” Constant said. “She has worked many different roles in our district, and she has risen to where she is because of her determination and hard work despite the traditional journey to her position.”

McCarty started out in a support role in the district, and that mentality of helping students and families stayed with her as she moved up to more administrative roles. The more jobs she was asked to do, the more she would take it upon herself to figure out how to do that work more effectively, Constant said.

“She’s just always been like that, and she can relate to every kind of person in the Owensboro Public Schools,” he said. “For that, we thank her, value her, and she needs to know that she is going to be sorely missed.”

Bobbie Hayse, bhayse@messenger-inquirer.com, 270-691-7315

Bobbie Hayse, bhayse@messenger-inquirer.com, 270-691-7315

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