Area districts work during summer to hire principals

Forget about a summer break: Nineveh-Hensley-Jackson Superintendent Tim Edsell has the task of finding leaders for two of his schools.

Nineveh-Hensley-Jackson United School Corp. needs to hire principals at the high school and intermediate school before students return Aug. 4. Greenwood and Franklin just named new elementary and high school principals, too.

While Franklin and Greenwood had more than a month to find the best fit for their schools, Nineveh-Hensley-Jackson must hire a new high school principal during the next three weeks.

Current high school principal Scott Shimer told Edsell he was leaving last week, Edsell said. Indian Creek Intermediate School principal Dave Ennis announced his resignation less than a month ago, Edsell said.

Edsell wants a committee of administrators, teachers and a board member to come up with a list of expectations for the new principal, as well as screen potential candidates, he said.

The goal is to find someone who can take Indian Creek High School from an A-grade school to a Four Star School ranking.

“We have that A ranking, but we need to pursue the highest accolade in Indiana,” Edsell said.

The high school should become a Four Star School, which are schools statewide that pass the end-of-course assessment and ISTEP testing in the top 25th percentile, Edsell said.

The Four Star Schools have to pass ISTEP in the top 25th percentile in each grade level, not just in a school average. The schools also have to have an A grade and be accredited by the state.

The last time Indian Creek High School earned that distinction was in the 2011-12 school year.

When searching for a principal or another top-level administrator, superintendents have had dozens of applicants to comb through.

Franklin superintendent David Clendening only had to interview one prospective candidate for the high school principal position, but 100 people applied to be the new assistant principal, he said. More than 80 people applied for the single open principal position in the Greenwood school district.

To pick the best candidates for assistant principal, applicants had to be interviewed by other administrators, students and the principal before finally being interviewed by the superintendent, Clendening said.

“It does depend on the rest of your team and your makeup,” Clendening said.

Every time a new administrator position opens, Clendening looks at the strengths and weaknesses of the employees to see how a new principal should fit in. This year, Clendening wanted someone who is a master of curriculum and instruction in the classroom, compared to previous years where the biggest need has been someone who understands facilities and maintenance, he said.

Clendening asked students to be included in the interview process to see how the candidates related to their student body, he said.

“I just believe kids can have a voice,” Clendening said.

Edsell is looking for the best candidate that can relate to students, encourage students to excel to their full potential and have a vision for the future of the school.

Greenwood’s Westwood Elementary principal Lisa Harkness left her job open when she took a promotion as the director of curriculum for Greenwood schools.

During Harkness’ 19 years at Westwood, the school was named a Four Star School 17 times.

Ultimately, the position went to Ennis, the former Indian Creek Intermediate School principal.

“He’s not taking over a building that needs to be fixed. He’s taking over a school that has high standards already,” Superintendent Kent DeKoninck said.

At a glance

Students in six Johnson County schools will be greeted by new principals this fall. Here’s a look at who will be joining the schools:

Center Grove Elementary School: Shannon Carroll-Frey

East Side Elementary School: To be determined

Indian Creek High School: To be determined

Indian Creek Intermediate School: Andrea Perry (Former East Side Elementary principal)

Franklin Community High School: Leah Wooldridge (Former high school assistant principal)

Westwood Elementary School: Dave Ennis (Former Indian Creek Intermediate School Principal)