Harlan Independent Teachers Recognized as #1 in Commonwealth by; District Rated 6th Best in KY

Harlan, KY – In a recently published 2023 report, the Harlan Independent School District moved up to the No. 6 overall spot among Kentucky Public School Districts. The jump to the #6 spot is an improvement from the 2022 ranking of #12. The new report shows that Harlan Independent maintained its hold on ranking among teachers at #1 and improved the #2 spot in the Best Place to Tech in Kentucky.

Green Dragons were awarded an Overall Niche Grade of A and ranked #6 out of the 167 K-12 public school districts across the Commonwealth.

Superintendent C.D. Morton was thrilled with the news from and pointed out the importance of supporting schools in the post-pandemic climate. “In light of the struggles we see across the nation in our profession, it is wonderful to see our schools and teachers recognized for staying the course during some of the most difficult times in our history. This type of achievement within our schools does not happen by accident, we have a dedicated system of schools that are focused on the issue that matters the most, high-level academic student achievement. It all begins with effective teachers pushing students to achieve at the highest level. When you can do that from Sunshine Preschool through Harlan High these are the results you get. There is a tremendous source of pride that comes with this kind of honor. We are pleased to be recognized for the investments our school system is making into the school community of Harlan.”

The Green Dragon family of schools was also well-represented in the Niche rankings. With regard to public Elementary Schools, Harlan Elementary School is ranked #4 and labeled as a Niche Standout Elementary School and #8 among all 701 elementary schools in Kentucky. Harlan Elementary School teachers were ranked #1 with the best teachers in Kentucky public schools with a overall grade of A.

Harlan Elementary School Principal Tara Posey commented, “There are more than 700 elementary schools in Kentucky, so being ranked in the top 10 is fantastic. One of our goals has been to come out of the pandemic as strong as possible for our students and families, we have some tremendous opportunities in front of us to help them get started in the right direction. I just can’t say enough good things about the teachers, culture, and students that are a part of the Green Dragon Family. What an honor to be recognized in this way.”

Harlan Middle/High School (5-12) was recognized as the #3 Best Public High School Teachers in Kentucky and ranked #31 among the 245 K12 Public High Schools. The school was awarded a B+ Overall Niche Grade. Britt Lawson, HHS Principal, stated “What stands out to me is the consistent level of high performance our small school offers our community. Whether it is local, regional, or even national ratings, Harlan High will be at the top of the list. The efforts to give as many kids as possible meaningful opportunities is always a top priority for our schools. There is no debating that the magic that takes place in our classrooms produces results our whole community can be proud of, our system is designed for these kinds of results.”

The organization has one of the most comprehensive online websites available on U.S. schools and neighborhoods receiving 27 million yearly views. is in its ninth year of compiling school data that includes 94,681 public schools and 12,325 school districts nationwide.

Niche combines qualitative data from sources like the U.S. Department of Education to evaluate teachers, resources and facilities, extracurricular activity opportunities, and end-user input.

As reported by, each school of Harlan Independent schools achieved top or upper placements in “Best Public Schools in Kentucky”:

• Harlan Elementary School: No. 8 (out of 701 public elementary schools)

• Harlan Middle/High School: No. 31 (out of 245 public high schools)

• Harlan Independent School District: No. 6 (out of 167 K-12 KY public school districts)

According to national data provided by, HISD is in the top 6% of best public school districts in the US, and also identifies HISD teachers as in the Top 1% of teaching staff in the country. To view all Kentucky school rankings visit

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