LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — The Fayette County Public School community is still reeling from the passing of Superintendent Emmanuel “Manny” Caulk who died unexpectedly over the weekend.
“He built a community with anybody he interacted with," said Calla Monroe, now a student in Dayton. "It just felt like a family."
Monroe recalled a time in 2018 when Caulk rolled up to her Eastside Technical Center school in his 1970 Oldsmobile Cutless Supreme. Caulk – a self-proclaimed car enthusiast - loved cars and this one in particular. He said, in the video Monroe provided, that it reminded him of a “piece of Americana.”
It also became a staple at the school where Caulk formerly served as principal after Caulk had the school's colors painted on the car, which then became a pseudo mascot for the school and many of its struggling students.
Graduation rates at the school apparently soared from previously low levels, and the football team won the state championship, leading Caulk to bring the vehicle to Eastside Tech where he knew a few students and faculty members who were car enthusiasts, as well.
Monroe was blown away by the person she met that day.
“He introduced himself as Manny, and I tried to call him, Mr. Caulk but he said, ‘no, call me Manny,’” she recalled.
Caulk was also famous for calling most everyone “partner.” Months later, Caulk remembered his partner Calla and her video.
“We accepted awards in front of the board and he remembered who I was and came up to me and said he really liked the video I did. That meant a lot,” Monroe said. “That he took time from his busy schedule to interact with our students was a really touching experience."
Monroe said having a relationship of any kind with a superintendent wasn’t expected, but one she’ll cherish.
“I’ll get that picture printed and put in a frame,” she said of the photograph of her a Caulk taken during his visit to the school.