Overall, Kentucky lags behind most other states in the field of public education. However, this is not the case for the state’s five best school districts, all of which compare favorably with the best school districts in the nation. Let’s have a closer look at them. 

The best school district in Kentucky is Fort Thomas Independent Schools, which consists of three elementary schools, one middle school, and one high school in the city of Fort Thomas, near the state’s northern border. Fort Thomas is one of the best school districts in the nation: it boasts a 99% graduation rate, and four of its schools have been named Blue Ribbon Schools by the U.S. Department of Education. 

Kentucky’s #2 top school district is McCracken County Public Schools, encompassing eleven schools serving an enrollment of almost 7,000 students. The district’s McCracken County High School is one of the best in the area for preparing students for the future, offering 26 AP courses and 13 career certifications. Students can leave the school with two years of college credits in tow. 

Placing 3rd is Henderson County Schools, which is a large district of thirteen schools with a total enrollment topping 7,400. Students of HCS are in good hands, as 79% of the district’s teachers have a Master’s Degree or higher.

Meade County Schools earns the 4th spot in the ranking of Kentucky’s best school districts.  MCS is headquartered in Brandenburg and consists of six elementary schools, one middle school, and one high school. Students of the district excel academically, earning high rates of proficiency in reading and mathematics. 

Floyd County Schools rounds out the list of Kentucky’s five best school districts. The district comprises eleven schools with a total enrollment of around 6,000. FCS boasts AdvancED accreditation and won the District of Distinction honor three years in a row.

Top School Districts in Kentucky, 2020

RankSchool DistrictCity
1Fort Thomas IndependentFort Thomas
2Mccracken CountyPaducah
3Henderson CountyHenderson
4Meade CountyBrandenburg
5Floyd CountyPrestonsburg
6Campbell CountyAlexandria
7Clark CountyWinchester
8Woodford CountyVersailles
9Carter CountyGrayson
10Whitley CountyWilliamsburg
11Graves CountyMayfield
12Boyle CountyDanville
13Shelby CountyShelbyville
14Spencer CountyTaylorsville
15Hopkins CountyMadisonville
16Perry CountyHazard
17Murray IndependentMurray
18Beechwood IndependentFort Mitchell
19Barren CountyGlasgow
20Johnson CountyPaintsville
21Corbin IndependentCorbin
22Montgomery CountyMt Sterling
23Harlan CountyHarlan
24Russell IndependentRussell
25Muhlenberg CountyPowderly
26Pikeville IndependentPikeville
27Nelson CountyBardstown
28Rowan CountyMorehead
29Calloway CountyMurray
30Franklin CountyFrankfort
31Breckinridge CountyHardinsburg
32Russell CountyJamestown
33Bowling Green IndependentBowling Green
34Marshall CountyBenton
35Ohio CountyHartford
36Taylor CountyCampbellsville
37Anderson CountyLawrenceburg
38Bell CountyPineville
39Casey CountyLiberty
40Leslie CountyHyden
41Walton-Verona IndependentWalton
42Letcher CountyWhitesburg
43Fleming CountyFlemingsburg
44Larue CountyHodgenville
45Elizabethtown IndependentElizabethtown
46Monroe CountyTompkinsville
47Logan CountyRussellville
48Knott CountyHindman
49Grayson CountyLeitchfield
50Rockcastle CountyMount Vernon
51Greenup CountyGreenup
52Marion CountyLebanon
53Magoffin CountySalyersville
54Boyd CountyAshland
55Knox CountyBarbourville
56Allen CountyScottsville
57Lincoln CountyStanford
58Pendleton CountyFalmouth
59Mercer CountyHarrodsburg
60Owensboro IndependentOwensboro
61Hancock CountyHawesville
62Mason CountyMaysville
63Ashland IndependentAshland
64Washington CountySpringfield
65Paintsville IndependentPaintsville
66Mccreary CountyStearns
67Estill CountyIrvine
68Owen CountyOwenton
69Wayne CountyMonticello
70Edmonson CountyBrownsville
71Adair CountyColumbia
72Morgan CountyWest Liberty
73Bardstown IndependentBardstown
74Bourbon CountyParis
75Raceland-Worthington IndependentRaceland
76Simpson CountyFranklin
77Caldwell CountyPrinceton
78Grant CountyWilliamstown
79Lyon CountyEddyville
80Harrison CountyCynthiana
81Mayfield IndependentMayfield
82Glasgow IndependentGlasgow
83Hart CountyMunfordville
84Todd CountyElkton
85Green CountyGreensburg
86Ballard CountyBarlow
87Lewis CountyVanceburg
88Cumberland CountyBurkesville
89Somerset IndependentSomerset
90Danville IndependentDanville
91Trigg CountyCadiz
92Harlan IndependentHarlan
93Barbourville IndependentBarbourville
94Gallatin CountyWarsaw
95Mclean CountyCalhoun
96Williamstown IndependentWilliamstown
97Livingston CountySmithland
98Lee CountyBeattyville
99Lawrence CountyLouisa
100Martin CountyInez


The following variables contributed to the ranking: number of students (K-12), graduation rate, school funding per student, student to teacher ratio, percent of students scoring above proficient in standardized state Math test, percent of students scoring above proficient in standardized state Reading and Language test. Data from a total of 10,247 public school districts were used to compute a score for each school district. The following states were omitted due to lack of sufficient data: Hawaii, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Utah, and Virginia. Note that high schools in some states have their own independent districts.

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