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Board praises school leader: Center Grove's Arkanoff to receive contract extension

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The Center Grove school board wants to send a message that it is pleased with the superintendent’s leadership and plans to extend his contract a year early.

Superintendent Richard Arkanoff was hired in July 2011, and his original contract was set to expire in June 2014. At next month’s board meeting members plan to extend the contract through June 2015.

Arkanoff’s salary of $157,622 will remain unchanged, but the contract revision also includes adding yearly payments of $5,000 Arkanoff can contribute to a retirement account, board member John Steed said.

The school board recently completed its state-required evaluation of Arkanoff, who is in his second year as Center Grove’s leader. Arkanoff received a rating of highly effective, which is the highest rating on a scale of four.

The school board praised Arkanoff for beginning to work with residents and board members from the moment he was hired, meeting regularly with parents, teachers and students to talk about Center Grove and updating the board on what was discussed.

Steed said the contract extension is a way to show the community that school board members fully support Arkanoff.

“Part of the reason is to tell the community how pleased we are with our superintendent, how well he’s done,” he said.

Steed said it’s rare for the school board to extend a superintendent’s contract so far in advance of when it is set to expire.

But early on, Arkanoff began looking for ways to work with both the board as well as residents, and that’s why members are eager to keep him, Steed said.

Shortly after Arkanoff was hired he began meeting with parents, students and employees about their concerns and hopes for the school district’s nearly 400 teachers and more than 7,500 students.

That made it easier for him to speak with the school board about what was happening in the community, Steed and board member Susan Mullendore said.

He also had a list of ideas, such as online courses, he wanted the school board to consider as it planned for Center Grove’s future. Online courses are being pushed by the state, but Arkanoff helped the school district develop its program early, Steed said.

That advance work also helped Center Grove become a more widely recognized school district within Indiana, board member Carol Tumey said.

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