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Nineveh-Hensley-Jackson chooses new leader

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A superintendent with two-and-a-half years of experience running school districts was named the new leader of Nineveh-Hensley-Jackson schools, and officials hope he’ll stay longer than a few years.

The board unanimously approved hiring Tim Edsell as superintendent of the southern Johnson County school district. Edsell is now interim superintendent of Anderson Community Schools and was the superintendent for Northeastern Wayne schools from January 2012 to September 2013. He also worked as assistant superintendent of Northeastern Wayne schools from July to December 2011.

Starting July 1, he will become the leader of Indian Creek schools, overseeing more than 100 teachers and making decisions on policies, budgets and projects that will impact more than 1,800 students.

Nineveh-Hensley-Jackson’s last superintendent, Matt Prusiecki, left to become the head of Decatur Township schools after two years with the school district. Since then, Becky Courtney-Knight has been working as the school district’s interim superintendent.

Board member Kathy Vest said her hope is that Edsell will stay longer with the school district and that Indian Creek teachers and students will benefit from his three years working as an assistant superintendent and superintendent at Anderson and Northeastern Wayne schools.

“Tim is moving into our community, already has experience, and I think he’s excited about staying in our community awhile. We’d love to have some stability,” Vest said.

Edsell has signed a three-year contract with the school district and will be paid $105,000 per year. The school district also will pay for his medical and dental insurance. Superintendents at Center Grove, Clark-Pleasant, Franklin and Greenwood schools earn salaries ranging from $135,000 to $187,000 per year and receive other benefits that vary by school district.

Vest said Edsell’s experience leading school districts is one of the reasons he was hired. That experience will be essential next school year when teachers’ salaries become linked to their annual evaluations, she said.

State law now requires school districts evaluate their teachers and administrators annually, and those evaluations must be considered before employees are given raises. Teachers at Indian Creek schools have a contract that runs through the current school year, so next year will be the first time their pay is impacted by their evaluation.

“This is uncharted territory for us,” Vest said.

Edsell has worked with school districts that already have linked teachers’ evaluations with their pay, and that experience will be helpful as Nineveh-Hensley-Jackson makes the transition, Vest said.

School board members also want to move forward with a building project at Indian Creek Intermediate School that would add a 53,628-square-foot wing to the school for pre-kindergarten through second-grade students. School officials have been considering renovating or replacing Indian Creek Elementary School, sections of which are between 28 and 75 years old and have leaky roofs, crumbling brick and spaces where bats and other animals are entering the school.

As superintendent, Edsell will help oversee the construction project and update board members and residents on its progress and any changes that might be needed.

Adding a wing to the intermediate school, which is where Indian Creek’s third- through fifth-graders have class, would cost about $8.5 million. School districts don’t need to ask voters to approve elementary school construction projects that cost less than $10 million.

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