"It's an advisory role in which I will be working with the principal and faculty at the school where I'm assigned to improve instruction and bring up their test scores," Stevens said.
"It's an honor to have been accepted for the HSE program, but I'm also glad that I am not severing ties with the Danville district," she said. "I hope to come back after my service with the state and fill a role where I can resume helping students and fellow staff members in whatever way I can."
Rowland said Danville's temporary loss will be the state's gain.
"We will miss her, absolutely," he said. "She is a quality administrator and a top notch educator who has done wonderful things at Bate, during her recent time as principal and as a teacher years ago," he said. "But we definitely do not want to stand in the way of a great professional opportunity for her, and a great opportunity for improvement for the schools she advises as an HSE."
School council will review applications
Meanwhile, Rowland will post the principal vacancy at Bate and then turn over all the applications to the school council. The council will review the applications and make a recommendation to Rowland, and he will make the decision whether to hire the recommended applicant, he said.
This school year is Stevens' fourth as principal at Bate. Earlier in the year, she was named by the National Association of Secondary School Principals as its 2004 Teacher of the Year for Kentucky.
"I hope that, over the last four years, I have made a positive difference in the lives of my students and also the faculty and staff at Bate," said Stevens, who oversees 450 students and 50 certified and classified personnel.
Stevens has played a key role in Bate's and the district's efforts in recent years to narrow the achievement gap between white and African-American students.
"Our main mission has been to create an atmosphere of support and encouragement for all students at Bate at what is a very pivotal time in their lives," she said. "We want all students to be successful."
Prior to her service at Bate, Stevens served for eight years in the Lincoln County school district as principal of the middle school and also secondary education supervisor.
She began her local education career as a teacher at Bate and at Danville's Hogsett Elementary School.