Musical staff

Lone Oak Elementary principal withdraws triple duty due to staffing shortage | News

MCCRACKEN COUNTY, KY — Students at McCracken County Schools are back in the classroom after a series of remote learning due to illness, but that doesn’t mean the district is fully staffed.

Local 6 accompanied Lone Oak Elementary Principal Jennifer Scism as she performed a triple duty.

There is never a dull moment for her. Lately, she replaced the cafeteria staff and the janitor.

“Sweeping, cleaning toilets, cleaning up messes, taking out the trash,” says Scism. “Wiping tables, no matter what. Nothing I do is out of the ordinary for every admin in the country. Every principle across the country does these things.”

She says every time she replaces a staff member, it’s an eye-opener. She says you never realize all the little jobs people do throughout the day that you might not even notice, but are essential to keep the system running.


“You never really know someone’s job until you put yourself in their shoes,” says Scism.

She says that as director, her duties have evolved. A typical day starts around 7 p.m. the day before with staff and students calling in. Then it’s off to bed before the text messages start coming in at 5am. At 6 a.m., she counts how many followers she needs versus how many she has. At 7 a.m., Scism assesses where she should replace. Will he clean the floors, replace a teacher or both?

She says when kids see staff members wearing so many hats, they notice.

“When they come to the cafeteria and see me, they’re like, ‘Oh, Mrs. Scism is in the cafeteria!'” she said. “They’re so excited to see me in the school. They never know where I’m going to be. They notice!”


Most teachers also perform a dual function, at the very least.

“We can all give this part of ourselves and we can make the world a better place,” says kindergarten teacher Sarah Housman. “We can make our classroom a better place.”

“Everyone here is working overtime,” says music teacher Chad Davidson.

Scism says it’s all done with one priority in mind, students.


“I think the number one thing for kids is for them to feel safe and to feel loved,” she says.

There is a great need for substitute teachers in the districts of western Kentucky. Directors say it would have a big impact if more qualified people could step in.