Crothersville hires interim superintendent


CROTHERSVILLE — Rob Hooker said he is going to have to find more red to wear.

That’s because during a special meeting Tuesday night at the central administration building, the Crothersville Community School Corp. board of school trustees approved hiring the North Vernon resident as interim superintendent.

It didn’t take long for the board to fill the vacancy left by Terry Goodin, who during a special meeting in January announced his retirement would be effective Feb. 1 after serving the corporation for nearly 24 years.

Board President Linda Luedeman recommended Hooker’s hiring, Trustee Chad Ord made a motion, John Riley seconded and the motion passed. Vice President Tiffany Reynolds attended the meeting via phone but couldn’t vote, and Trustee Jaime Land was absent.

The resolution states Hooker will work approximately two days a week at a rate of $400 per day.

His first day was Wednesday, and his last scheduled day is June 30.

After the special meeting was adjourned, Hooker took his seat at the board’s table and shared some of his background.

“This will not be my first rodeo,” he said, smiling, as he retired in December 2018 after 40 years in education.

The Benton County native said growing up, his father was a farmer, and his mother was an elementary school teacher.

Once he got into education himself, Hooker taught grades 4, 5 and 6 for 10 years and then worked as an assistant principal and a principal before moving into the central office for Jennings County School Corp.

He then spent 10½ years as superintendent of Scott County School District 2 before retiring. He came out of retirement in the fall of 2012 to serve as interim superintendent of Seymour Community School Corp. and had the interim tag removed in the spring of 2013. At the end of 2018, he retired for the second time.

During his tenure in Seymour, the district expanded programs, including special education and vocational offerings, upgraded academic and athletic facilities, including the addition of the new agriculture building, and improved safety at school buildings.

Since retiring, Hooker said he has spent a lot of time with his family.

“They’ve kept me pretty busy,” he said.

When he recently was asked to be interim superintendent at Crothersville, he agreed to do so.

“This is just an opportunity and a challenge to do something in retirement,” Hooker said. “I am excited and nervous to take this on. I can’t think of anything I haven’t been challenged to do in education. Education is one of the greatest professions in the world.”

He told the school board he would commit to two days a week, but he knows starting out, he may be there more often.

“Because there’s a lot to learn, there’s a lot of staff to meet, things to figure out,” he said. “It’s all about the kids and the staff and the people having a great community school and everybody hopefully working together to keep things going well.”

Hooker said the board asked him to work closely with the staff, students and parents and also take the taxpayers, businesses and industries into consideration.

As he meets people, he said his idea is to “stop, look and listen.”

“The bottom line behind all of that is what has worked for me over the years: What’s working and what do you want to continue?” Hooker said. “I will report back to the board and meet with each of them separately and together and figure out what’s working at Crothersville: What do you want to keep doing? What do you want to do better at? What do you want to change?”

He said that will help him prepare things and “pave the way” for a permanent superintendent to come in July 1.

“That’s a challenging process for the board to find a school leader, and I think they’ll be fine,” Hooker said. “Their hearts are in the right places.”

Riley said he is excited about the future, and Luedeman said the board is “extremely excited” to have Hooker as interim superintendent.

“We look forward to working hand in hand with him as we make decisions for this great corporation,” she said.

She then opened the meeting up to the audience.

Cassondra Kelly, a kindergarten teacher at Crothersville Elementary School and president of the Crothersville Classroom Teachers Association, told Hooker from being a student at the school to now teaching there for 16 years, she is “a Tiger through and through.”

“We love our school. We love our town,” she said. “There aren’t enough words for me to say how much my love for this school is. I tear up every time I think ‘This is our school, this is my school.’ … When you work here, it’s not about the money. We are a family — a family first. That’s why I work here.”

Crothersville resident Doris Kovener said she had met Hooker at chamber of commerce picnics in the past and knows his parents and in-laws. She told Hooker she is “very pleased” he will be in this role for Crothersville schools.

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