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Bellevue Principal Selected for Same Post at Highlands High School


John Darnell will be the new principal at Highlands High School, consistently one of the two highest-performing public high schools in Northern Kentucky, and one of the top statewide.

Darnell currently holds the same post at Bellevue High School, where he has been principal for four years.

The Highlands school-based decision-making council unanimously selected Darnell for the job.

“The Highlands High School SBDM Council worked diligently to select the right person to carry on the great work at the school and to provide even more options for students. John Darnell will do a fantastic job in focusing on academic excellence, school spirit and building our students’ Portrait of a Graduate competencies,” said Superintendent Karen Cheser, who is set to depart the district at the end of this school year to take a superintendent job in Colorado.

Former Highlands Principal Brian Robinson is set to assume the superintendent's job after Cheser's departure

“I appreciate the trust and faith the SBDM council and incoming Superintendent Robinson have in me to work with the faculty, staff, students and parents at Highlands High School,” said Darnell. “Highlands is a name that is synonymous with excellence, and I am confident our collaborative work will allow our students to pursue their passions and ambitions so they can be fulfilled.”

Darnell began his career at Boyd County Middle School, teaching social studies for three years. He also taught for four years at Lexington's Paul Laurence Dubar High School.

He served as assistant principal at Woodford County High School in Versailles as well.

Darnell earned his bachelor’s degree in history at Transylvania University, a master’s degree in education at Morehead State University, and a master’s degree in instructional leadership at the University of the Cumberlands.

“We are excited to welcome Mr. John Darnell to Highlands High School," said Highlands SBDM council member and teacher Jaime Richey. "As a council, we were impressed with Mr. Darnell’s level of preparedness, wide breadth of knowledge, and variety of leadership experiences. His authenticity, personable nature and his genuine passion for helping every student reach high expectations speaks to what it means to ‘wear the H’ with pride as a Bluebird.”

Darnell and his wife, Megan, reside in Bellevue with their four children, Aiden, Oliver, Hudson and Adalind. 

Darnell will begin serving as principal on July 1.

-Staff report

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