SAFE SCHOOLS: Hardin takes on new role in county

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By Stephen Thomas

 SHEPHERDSVILLE - In the ongoing fight against drug and alcohol abuse among youth, Bullitt County Public Schools have found a local general to lead the way.

Sarah Hardin was selected as the district’s new Safe and Drug-Free Schools coordinator. She replaces Jaime Goldsmith, who left for an administrative position in Jefferson County.

Hardin steps in from her most recent position as assistant principal at Bullitt Central High School. She has served in the district as teacher, coach and administrator for 16 years.

A Bullitt East graduate, Hardin still lives in the area with her husband, Ben. Daughters, Emily, 10, and Abby, 6, attend Old Mill Elementary.

Hardin’s educational career began at Western Kentucky University, where she majored in Math and Education. Her first teaching job was as a Math instructor with Bullitt Central in 1997.

In 2003 Hardin transferred to Bullitt East, teaching Math for five more years while serving as basketball and softball coach.

Former BCPS Secondary Schools coordinator Dave Marshall hired Hardin in 2008 as a curriculum consultant for the district. He was Bullitt East principal when Hardin began teaching at the school.

As curriculum consultant, Hardin worked with the three Bullitt County high schools, as well as the Bullitt Alternative Center, coaching teachers and helping to develop educational enhancement techniques.

“That was an opportunity for me to develop more leadership skills,” she said.

Hardin took her previous position as Bullitt Central assistant principal in 2010.

“As an assistant principal you’re belonging to one school,” she said. “You become a part of that school. You’re also more involved with the students.”

Hardin’s disciplinarian role at Bullitt Central involved working with Goldsmith os a regular basis.

“Jaime was a great resource for our administrators,” Hardin said. “She has helped me tremendously with my transition.”

Hardin is also assisted by Pat Smith-Darnell, BCPS director of pupil personnel and a former Safe and Drug-Free Schools coordinator.

“Pat is my right-hand person,” Hardin said. “She’s my go-to.”

“There were many good candidates with skills and experience,” Smith-Darnell said. “Sarah had experience in schools, administration, academics and instruction, emergency plans and discipline, all the parts that make up this position.”

Smith-Darnell said the job consisted of maintaining alcohol and tobacco-free school facilities, preventing bullying and suicide issues, student drug testing and K-9 searches, and participating in emergency planning commissions and the Bullitt County Partners in Prevention coalition.

“Student and staff safety is the main goal,” said Smith-Darnell. “(Sarah) is also a liaison with county first responders and school resource officers. We’ve had emergency plans for many years and she’ll review those annually and stay on top of things.”

“This is a great opportunity to work more with the community, especially the middle and elementary schools,” said Hardin. “I want to enhance the partnerships with schools and emergency units, lawmakers and officials.”

One of Hardin’s first responsibilities is revisiting and revising evacuation procedures in schools that have altered and added parts to their facilities.

Hardin also oversees activities in relation to school functions promoting Red Ribbon Week, a time annually designated to address drug abuse awareness to students.

“To me it’s about better decisions,” she said. “I personally want to raise awareness for younger students, as well as their parents and their families.”

Hardin mentioned a new law from the Kentucky State Senate requiring cooperation between local emergency agencies and schools on emergency assistance plans. She said Bullitt County was ahead of the curve in that regard.

“We are already doing much more,” she said. “We’ll continue to work on better, safer environments. We’ll stay ahead of the game.”