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Former Portland superintendent dies at 49

Caulk led Portland Public Schools from 2012 to 2015. He then served as superintendent for Fayette County Public Schools in Lexington, KY from 2015 to 2020.

FAYETTE COUNTY, Ky. — Former Portland Public Schools Superintendent Emmanuel "Manny" Caulk died Friday at the age of 49.

Caulk led Portland Public Schools from 2012 to 2015. He then served as superintendent for Fayette County Public Schools in Lexington, KY from 2015 to 2020.

"Portland Public Schools is very grateful for former Superintendent Emmanuel Caulk's dedication and service and extends its deepest sympathies to his family," Portland Public Schools wrote in a Facebook post Saturday.

Fayette County Public Schools posted the following "in memoriam" on its website:

The Fayette County Public Schools community mourns the loss of our “Servant Superintendent” Emmanuel “Manny” Caulk, who has led the district since 2015.  A champion for children and a warrior for social justice, Manny spent his lifetime opening doors of access and opportunity for others.  Often crediting his sixth grade teacher for changing the trajectory of his life, Manny was devoted to ensuring that all students found a pathway to their unlimited potential through a world-class education.  He was a catalyst for equity and pushed for the reforms needed to ensure that demography does not determine a child’s destiny.  We are grateful for Manny’s servant leadership and passion for our two moral imperatives – to accelerate achievement for students who have not yet reached proficiency and to challenge students already proficient to achieve global competency.  Manny’s transformative leadership of the Fayette County Public Schools garnered him state and national recognition as one of Education Week’s 2018 “Leaders to Learn From” and Kentucky's 2019 State Superintendent of the Year.  Plans to say our final good-bye and celebrate Manny’s remarkable life and achievements will be announced at a later date.  We ask that you keep Manny’s family and everyone who loved him in your thoughts and prayers, while also respecting their privacy during this incredibly difficult time. Farewell, Partner. 

While drive-thru visitations have been scheduled in Kentucky for Saturday, Dec. 12, Mainers can still pay tribute to Caulk by donating to his memorial scholarship fund or by sending a card that will be shared with his family.


After his selection as the 2019 Kentucky Superintendent of the Year included a $2,500 scholarship for a high school graduate funded by American Fidelity, Manny pledged to continue to fund an annual scholarship out of his own pocket. A memorial scholarship fund to continue this legacy has been established through the Fayette County Public Schools Foundation managed by the Bluegrass Community Foundation. Donations can be made online or mailed to The Fayette Education Foundation, c/o Manny Caulk Memorial Scholarship Fund, P.O. Box 910951, Lexington, KY 40591-0951.


Memories, condolences and celebrations of Manny are being collected online and will be shared with his family. Cards can be mailed to the Family of Emmanuel Caulk, 450 Park Place, Lexington, KY 40511.

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