Seymour to name superintendent at May school board meeting

Seymour Community School Corp.’s board of education plans to name the district’s new superintendent in less than two weeks.

The board will meet in a regular session at 7 p.m. May 14 to announce the new hire, said board President Art Juergens.

Although he declined to say how many people were interviewed for the job, Juergens said 10 people applied. The majority of applicants were not local, he added.

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“It’s not like it used to be when we would get 40 or 50 people apply,” he said. “Just like principals now, they are hard to find because of all the red tape and paperwork that’s required.”

In November 2018, the school board promoted Assistant Superintendent Brandon Harpe to interim superintendent after the retirement of Superintendent Rob Hooker.

On Tuesday, trustees conducted a public hearing in accordance with law to discuss a proposed contract for the new superintendent and hear support or opposition from the public. Only one person attended the hearing, but she did not offer any comments about the contract.

“There’s nothing really different from a regular superintendent’s contract,” Juergens said. “I think it’s a very fair contract. We talked as a board, and it’s basically what we wanted.”

Trustee Nancy Franke said the board looked at a lot of data comparing superintendents’ salaries from similarly sized school corporations across the state.

“We absolutely want to be conservative in how we spend our funding for our schools, but we need to be fair, too,” she said.

Trustees Kenny Browning, Max Klosterman and Jeff Joray did not attend Tuesday’s meeting. The board did not take a vote on the contract.

The three-year contract includes a base annual salary of $130,000 with 20 paid vacation days, 12 sick leave days and five personal business days.

Another benefit includes an additional $18,214, which can be added to the superintendent’s salary, be used to pay for medical insurance or be put into a voluntary employees’ beneficiary association account. The board also contributes 7.5% of the superintendent’s salary into the teacher retirement fund.

The benefits package includes a $75,000 life insurance policy with $150,000 accidental death and dismemberment policy at a cost of $108 to the school corporation.

Other perks include an annual $6,000 stipend for mileage, up to $1,500 in memberships to professional organizations and a school-issued cellphone.

It’s important for the next superintendent to be able to demonstrate strong leadership skills, have the ability to connect with other community leaders and have excellent communication skills, Franke said.

“We also realize Seymour continues to grow into a more diverse community, and we need a leader willing to connect with our diverse community to better understand the needs to be met for our students,” she said.

In choosing a new leader, Franke said she is looking for someone who can create a positive educational environment.

“That’s a win-win for students, teachers, staff and the families we serve,” she said.