Seymour names Harpe interim superintendent


The Seymour Community School Corp. board of trustees has chosen a new leader to replace retiring Superintendent Rob Hooker.

During a school board meeting Tuesday night, the board named Brandon Harpe, 44, to the position of interim superintendent.

Harpe currently serves as assistant to the superintendent, a title he has had since 2016.

He will assume his new duties as head of the largest school corporation in Jackson County beginning Jan. 1. Hooker’s last day is Dec. 31. He has served Seymour schools for the past six years.

“Mr. Hooker has been an excellent leader for Seymour Community Schools,” Harpe said. “He is a student-centered educator, much like me.”

Harpe said he wants to work directly with students to make sure all decisions are made in their best interest.

“I have a plan to give them a voice as our most important stakeholders,” he said.

He said school safety also will be a top priority, as it has been in recent years.

“We will take a proactive approach to physical security, as well as mental health well-being,” he said.

His other goals include continuing to use available data for school improvement and to find ways to publicize the good work students and staff are doing in the classrooms.

The school board will begin its search for a permanent superintendent in 2019 with the goal of having someone in place before the beginning of the 2019-20 school year in August.

“As the interim superintendent, my goal is to have a seamless transition for our students and staff as we close the 2018-19 school year,” he said.

Harpe is a Seymour resident and has served Seymour Community School Corp. for 19 years in various positions.

He started as a teacher and coach at Seymour High School in the fall of 1999. In 2006, he was named dean of students, and a year later, he was promoted to assistant principal.

In 2010, he was named athletic director, a job he had for six years before being hired as assistant to the superintendent.

“Each of these roles has offered valuable experience and provided the opportunity for me to work closely with every department we have, from elementary through high school,” he said.

Harpe said being interim superintendent will be a challenge, but he is ready to serve the corporation and the community at the next level.

“Counting temporary and substitute workers, we have nearly 1,000 employees, and we are closing in on 5,000 students,” he said. “We have nearly 1 million square feet of facilities and an assessed value near $1.3 billion. This is a big job and one that I am excited to take on.”

Originally from Tell City, he earned his undergraduate degree from Indiana University and his master’s degree and education specialist’s degree from Oakland City University. He is a licensed superintendent in Indiana through 2022.

Harpe is married to wife, Natalie, and they have three children, Hayley, 14, Brady, 11, and Caleb, 9.

Seymour is the family’s home, and they have no plans of leaving, he said.

“Our children were born here, and we have lived in Jackson County since 2000,” he said. “We have had opportunities to move on, but it just never felt right. We bleed purple and are proud to be Seymour Owls.”

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