Seymour Community School Corp. trustees did not have to look too far when it came time to pick the corporation’s newest superintendent.
Board members voted Tuesday to pick Brandon Harpe — who became interim superintendent in January — to lead the corporation for the next three school years.
The 45-year-old is replacing superintendent Rob Hooker, who retired at the end of December.
Harpe’s 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.
Other benefits include $18,214 — which can be added to the superintendent’s salary — 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.
“I don’t know of anyone better qualified to run our school system,” board President Art Juergens said of the selection of Harpe as superintendent. Juergens said 10 people applied with the majority of the candidates not being local.
Juergens listed Harpe’s experience in a variety of roles in the Seymour school system as the reasons why Harpe was a good fit.
Over his 20 years at Seymour, Harpe has served as a teacher, coach, dean of students, assistant principal, athletic director, assistant superintendent and interim superintendent.
Each of those positions provided him with valuable experience, Harpe said.
Harpe said he was honored to lead the corporation as it continues to grow. Seymour Community School Corp. now employs about 1,000. The student body population is nearing 5,000 students and there is nearly 1 million square feet of facilities.
“This is a big job and I’m excited to take it on,” Harpe said.
Harpe discussed his priorities, which include meeting long term goals, continuing to improve the work culture, networking with industry leaders and, above all else, school safety.
“With 6,000 students and staff in our buildings, around 20% of the population of Seymour is in our care at any given time. This is a huge responsibility that we do not take lightly,” he said.
That has lead Harpe to consider forming a student safety team and council to receive their input.
“They are the reason we are here and should have some input in the direction we are headed,” he said.
The commitment to serving students is why Harpe wants to continue the Elementary Cup and help Seymour offer a quality education while offering a diverse amount of courses.
Harpe said he and his family, which includes wife Natalie and children Hayley, Brady and Caleb, plan to remain in Seymour where they’ve lived since 1999. Other opportunities have come and gone, but Harpe said it has always made sense to stay in this community.
“We bleed purple and are proud to be Seymour Owls,” he said.