Hancock County Superintendent Kyle Estes announced his resignation in a letter to staff Tuesday, saying he was following his wife to Alaska, where she has taken a new job.
“By now, you may have heard rumors regarding my departure from the district next year,” Estes said in the beginning of the letter.
He apologized for not being able to tell everyone at the same time and went on to explain why he’s leaving.
“My wife has taken a leadership position out-of-state and it is my intent to join her with our children at the conclusion of this contracted year,” he said. “Therefore, I will be ‘retiring’ from my leadership role effective June 30, 2021.”
Estes, who was just given a new four-year contract in June 2020, has been superintendent in the county since July 2012, when he was named the replacement for Scott Lewis, who left to become superintendent in Ohio County. Lewis was elected Kentucky Representative for the 14th District in 2018.
Both Estes and his wife Jessica Keenan Estes both grew up in Hancock County and graduated from Hancock County High School, and at the time he was picked as superintendent he was already serving as the county’s director of student services.
In his letter, Estes said that he had set a tentative time-frame of eight years that he planned to serve before deciding what to do next.
“I told the board when I started in 2012, that after 8 years, it would be time to evaluate the path forward for the district and for me personally,” he wrote. “After 8.5 years as Superintendent I am proud of the growth and progress of the district, but I know it is time for a new leader to take the next steps forward.”
“I am honored and excited to be supporting my wife’s pursuit of this leadership opportunity and I look forward to being together as a family as we chart a new path in Anchorage, Alaska,” he said.
Jessica Estes is a psychiatric nurse practitioner who until recently owned Estes Behavioral Health in Lewisport, Ky. before taking the position of executive director at the Kentucky Board of Nursing, which oversees nursing licensure and administration for nurses across the state.
While Estes’ letter didn’t say what his wife’s new job was, an online search of her name turned up the address of 4020 Folker Street in Anchorage, which is the location of Alaska Behavioral Health. That organization’s website didn’t have any mention of Estes as of press time.
Following his wife to the subarctic city of Anchorage will mean new experiences, but Estes said he valued the time he’d had in Hancock County.
“It has been my tremendous honor to serve (as) the Superintendent of Hancock County Schools,” he said. “It is an experience I would not change.”
He will make the public announcement of his resignation at the January 28 regularly scheduled school board meeting, which he said will give the board time to find his replacement before next school year.As for what he will do beyond this final year of his contract, Estes said that’s unknown for now.
“While I do not currently have employment beyond July, I know God will provide,” he said.
Estes didn’t return a call seeking comment on this story.
By Dave Taylor