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Search starts for new Nineveh-Hensley-Jackson leader

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The Nineveh-Hensley-Jackson school district plans to have a new superintendent by the end of the month.

This week, the school board will start interviewing candidates to find the district’s next full-time leader. Indian Creek has been looking for a new superintendent since last fall when Matt Prusiecki, who was hired in 2011, left to become the head of Decatur Township schools.

This will be Indian Creek’s second superintendent in three years, and the third new superintendent to start at a Johnson County school district in less than a year. Over the summer, Superintendent Patrick Spray was hired to lead Clark-Pleasant schools, while Greenwood schools hired Superintendent Kent DeKoninck.

The school board is using a university search team, composed of experts from four Indiana colleges, to screen potential candidates for the leadership job. Becky Courtney-Knight, who formerly worked for Clark-Pleasant schools, has been working as the school district’s interim superintendent since August.

Whoever is selected will oversee more than 100 teachers and create policies affecting how more than 1,800 Johnson County students learn.

That person also will make decisions about how the property tax dollars and state funding Indian Creek receives should be spent and will have an up to $10 million building project to oversee if school officials decide to renovate Indian Creek Elementary School.

“We need a well-rounded

individual that is a strong leader, community minded and fiscally responsible,” school board President Kathy Vest said.

Board members are keeping details of their search, including the number of applicants and the number of candidates being interviewed, to themselves. The board will meet privately Wednesday, Thursday and Friday to interview candidates and consider their applications.

Under state law, Indian Creek will have to post the details of the new superintendent’s contract to the public a week before it’s approved, but the board doesn’t plan to release the new superintendent’s name until after the new leader has been hired, Vest said.

The public’s expectation is that the school board will oversee all of the steps to hiring the new superintendent, Vest said.

The school board sent brochures and information about Indian Creek schools to prospective candidates and posted notices about the opening to education websites typically checked by aspiring superintendents. The board also extended the deadline after receiving fewer applications than expected, Vest said.

Indian Creek received about 35 applications when Prusiecki was hired; but at the end of January, 10 people had applied for the job. Vest believes candidates working at other school districts were preoccupied with the snow and winter weather-related problems that have been impacting school districts across the state, so the school board extended the application window by three weeks.

The university search team, which includes officials from Indiana State University, Purdue University, Ball State University and Indiana University, is helping the board decide which of the candidates is best prepared to lead the school district going forward.

The school board’s goals for the new superintendent include continuing to grow Indian Creek’s iPad project, which provided 1,150 devices for the school district’s sixth- through 12th-graders. The new superintendent will oversee any building projects school officials decide to undertake at the elementary school.

An architect is creating plans of what renovations at the school, some of which hasn’t been upgraded in 25 to 75 years, could include. Those renovations wouldn’t

exceed $10 million, meaning under state law voters would not be asked to approve them, though no decision has been made about whether the building project will happen, Vest said.

“We’ve got to make sure that the community is with us one way or another before we consider that to be a project,” Vest said.

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