CROTHERSVILLE — The Crothersville Community School Corp. board of education has started 2023 with a new look.
Linda Luedeman, who had served as president, and Jaime Land both decided not to run for reelection, and T.J. Mills and Jimmy Shirley won uncontested races for the District 2 and District 5 seats, respectively, in the November 2022 general election.
On unanimous votes during a Jan. 9 meeting, Chad Ord was chosen president of the board, Tiffany Reynolds remained vice president and Shirley was selected secretary for this year.
In other roles, Mills is the legislative liaison, John Riley is on the athletic council and Ord is the FFA liaison.
While Shirley is a Crothersville native, Mills has roots in the small eastern Kentucky town of Frenchburg.
He graduated from Montgomery County High School in 2007 and attended the University of Kentucky from 2008 to 2011 before relocating to New Albany to be closer to his father and sister.
Shortly after arriving in Indiana in 2012, Mills seized an opportunity at a small business called Data Network Technologies. Over the next three years, he traveled the Midwest installing telecommunication, network and cable television infrastructure in schools, credit card processing centers, data centers and health care campuses.
His experience as a technician and project manager then landed him a job at Vanguard Alarms of Evansville. He managed the eastern Kentucky and southern Indiana market, primarily in a hybrid technician and project manager position installing access control, fire alarms, surveillance systems, wander management and other life safety systems. During his tenure there, he received many certifications.
Fate soon intervened when his cousin, Tammy Mills, introduced him to the now love of his life, Corrine Snow of Crothersville. He moved to Crothersville in 2017 with his new family.
“Relocating back to a small town was admittedly bittersweet,” Mills said. “I had done my best to get out but was quickly reminded of the beauty and compassion of such a tight-knit community.”
Today, Mills works for the technology company Siemens and is senior project manager for the new Louisville VA Medical Center being constructed, coordinating approximately $30 million of low-voltage systems and integrations.
When he isn’t working, Mills said he is likely helping coach elementary basketball, camping or tinkering with some form of technology.
Mills also became interested in getting more involved in the community, primarily working with youth.
He said he remembered all of the members of his small community who taught him, molded him, supported him and generally cared for him for no other reason than the fact that they could.
“When the school board opportunity was presented to me, I couldn’t say no,” he said.
Now on the board, he said his primary focus will be life safety and security in conjunction with promotion of skilled trades and real-world skills.
“I hope to enhance the overall infrastructure of the school, as it has aged substantially and is lacking in major necessary updates to critical systems,” Mills said. “I believe that with the proper structure, organization, planning and compassion, we can produce some of the best young people this world can offer in a safe and welcoming environment.”
Over the last few years, Mills has come to know his fellow board members and said he is truly excited for the future.
“The new superintendent, Chrystal Street, is nothing less than exceptional and passionate about the children,” Mills said. “My fellow board members hands down put the children first and look for every opportunity to help each other and the community.”
Mills said he expects the next four years at Crothersville schools to be full of exponential growth.
“That coupled with a community that stands behind its children makes Crothersville a truly wonderful place to raise your children,” he said. “It will take time and be a ton of hard work, but the fruits of the labor will be full of a sweetness few ever get to experience.”
Shirley was born and raised in Crothersville. After graduating from Crothersville High School in 1997, he went to work for Aisin Drivetrain Inc. in his hometown.
While there, he obtained an associate degree in business from Indiana Wesleyan University and worked his way up to quality department manager.
In January, he accepted a job with Aisin World Corp. of America as a project purchasing manager, covering ADI’s current and future supplied components.
In terms of running for school board, Shirley said he was approached by a few members of the community about an open seat in his district.
“The more I thought about it, the more it seemed like the right thing to do,” he said.
Now that he’s on the board, he said he would like to help in any way he can to build up the schools.
“This means supporting the administration, staff and students in succeeding by all means necessary,” he said. “Unfortunately, CCS has dwindled in student population over the last 10-plus years for various reasons, and that is not something our community should want. Without a successful school system, the town of Crothersville will struggle to grow in the future.”
Except for Mills, Shirley said he has been involved with the other school board members and Street all of his life in one capacity or another.
“I am looking forward to working with all the board members and Dr. Street because they all seem to have the same goals of helping Crothersville Community Schools grow and succeed. It is easier to succeed when everyone has the same goals,” he said.
“I would like to help get the right people in place for Crothersville Community Schools to succeed and grow,” he said. “We have a great crew at Crothersville, and I feel we can grow from this point forward with the right people in place.”
He considers it an honor to serve on his alma mater’s school board.
“My decisions will be based on what is best for the students, staff and community as a whole,” Shirley said. “There is no doubt in mind that we can succeed given the right frame of mind. I look forward to the challenge.”
Name: T.J. Mills
Hometown: Frenchburg, Kentucky
Education: Montgomery County High School (2007)
Occupation: Senior project manager for Siemens
Family: Father, Tim Mills; mother, Penny Davis; sisters, Saranda Brewer and Sekia Kaufer; brother, Jeffery Brewer; wife, Corrine Snow; son, Ethan Hall; father-in-law, Scott Kovener; mother-in-law, Cathy Kovener; sister-in-law, Jennifer Snow-White
Name: Jimmy Shirley
Education: Crothersville High School (1997); Indiana Wesleyan University (associate degree in business management, 2013)
Occupation: Project purchasing manager for Aisin World Corp. of America
Family: Wife, Amy Shirley (Crothersville Class of ‘97); son, Ethan Shirley (Crothersville Class of ‘21); daughter, Clarissa Pearl Shirley (Crothersville Class of ‘23)