In her full-time job and her position on the Brownstown Central Community School Corp. board, Mary Ann Spray’s focus is on children.
She has worked for the Indiana Department of Child Services for 24 years, including the past nine with the Jackson County office, and has been a school board member for 12 years, serving as president since 2013.
Spray received an opportunity to serve four more years on the school board after the Brownstown Town Council unanimously approved her appointment during Monday’s meeting. Her term is effective July 1.
Hearing the news that night left her honored and humbled, she said.
“I’m very appreciative and very thankful and grateful,” Spray said. “I have a huge passion for all three of our schools and educating all of our students, including our elementary and up through our high school students, as well.”
Spray said she also is adamant about maintaining quality staff and administrators.
“I believe that we have one of the best groups of faculty and staff, all the way from custodial to our management team in central office there with Mr. (Greg) Walker as our superintendent,” she said. “That’s very important, and I think that speaks volumes for our schools. It certainly helps us in our future with our long-range plans and our immediate goals, keeping all of our kids safe and educating them to the best of all of our abilities with all of the resources that are available.”
Spray said she submitted her letter of interest eight weeks ago. Scott Butt was the other candidate for the seat. They both appeared before the town council during a meeting May 18.
The town council appoints two members of the school board. The other five are appointed by township trustees. The town council’s next appointment will be in 2017.
Spray said her involvement in the community, including working with the football parents club for more than 16 years, and her day job sparked her interest in serving on the school board in 2003.
“I’ve always had a concern and a passion for the community here in Brownstown,” she said. “I just like to stay engaged with the kids, really whatever age that might be; and with my day job, I also am involved with children. (Serving on the school board) has just been something that I’ve wanted to do, and I want to continue to do it as long as I am able to do it effectively and with a positive purpose.”
As a trustee, Spray served 10 years as a representative of the athletic council. She was vice president of the school board when President Jack Montgomery died in January 2013, and then she was elected president.
In that role, she conducts meetings, sets meeting dates, is involved in hiring corporation employees and checks in weekly with administrative staff at the superintendent’s office.
“I’m very fortunate to have a very excellent board to work with,” she said. “They are all very passionate about their positions, as well, and we work very well together. Our attendance is very good, which also speaks highly of our board. All of our board members are active members, and their forethought is educating students and keeping them safe, as well.”
During Spray’s tenure, the first phase of building projects at the schools was completed; and the board is looking at the second phase, which includes renovating the high school restrooms this summer.
Trustees also were involved in promoting Walker to superintendent, establishing Tom Wright as a school resource officer and recently hiring Doug McClure as the middle school principal.
The school board also helped implement a random drug-testing program, which will begin with the next school year.
“That was a positive, proactive accomplishment. That went well, and we didn’t have opposition to that,” Spray said. “I think overall, our community sees that what we’re doing is for the kids. That’s primarily where we’re going with all of this.”
A big accomplishment was having all three schools earn an A accountability grade from the Indiana Department of Education for the 2013-14 school year. Spray said the schools were recognized at a basketball game this past winter, and signs were posted at each building.
Also, the graduation rate is high, and the attendance rate is strong at all three schools.
“We just have a lot of really good things and exciting things to tell other folks and visitors about Brownstown Central,” Spray said. “We’re just looking for expansion and growth and keeping what we have already, which I think is all good.”
Spray said she is happy to be a part of all of it.
“I’m just looking forward to the future for our students and for our community,” she said. “Educating students is not always the easiest thing to do, but I feel like we have a great foundation to build upon. All of our staff always are willing to be there for our kids with a smile on their face. You can’t ask for anything else, in my opinion.”
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Name: Mary Ann Spray
Education: Brownstown Central High School (1977); Indiana University (bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and urban and regional development, 1981)
Community involvement: Brownstown Central Community School Corp. board of trustees for 12 years (president since 2013) and recently was appointed for four more years; Indiana School Board Association (federal relations network committee for District 9; chairwoman of the awards committee); football parents club for 16 years
Occupation: Indiana Department of Child Services for 24 years, including the past nine as a supervisor with the Jackson County office
Family: Husband, Mark Spray; three children, Rori Spray, Wes (Brianna) Spray and Will Spray; two grandchildren