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In a contrast to last week's heated and debate-laden public hearing, the Culver Community School board voted unanimously at its Nov. 25 meeting to hire Dr. Vicki McGuire as its new superintendent of schools, replacing outgoing superintendent Brad Schuldt as of Jan. 1.
Between 20 and 30 audience members remained largely quiet during the meeting, as opposed to the Nov. 18 meeting, during which some Culver Comm. High School faculty members questioned the selection process and the choice not to promote current CCHS principal Albert Hanselman to the superintendent position.
This was echoed by the only public comment during the Nov. 25 meeting, from CCHS teacher Michael Buschman, who had been outspoken at the prior meeting. Buschman, noting he hadn't yet seen coverage of the previous week's meeting in area media, thanked the board for the opportunity for dialog and then asked if his "take-away" from the Nov. 18 meeting was correct as regards the "concrete facts" of the selection process.
"The selection was made in one 60-minute interview,â€ť he said, â€śand the school visit to select (the new superintendent) included only three board members, and not the board president."
Buschman added that the board didn't accept the recommendation of the current superintendent as to his replacement, and that the board asked Schuldt not to be included in the selection process. He said the board sought no input from teachers, the community, or the school administration.
Board president Ryan Sieber affirmed most of Buschman's points, but countered that there was input for the board from the community and that a teacher survey was conducted prior to McGuire's selection.
There was no discussion from individual board members prior to voting unanimously to approve hiring McGuire.
Preparing to sign the contract, McGuire, currently the principal at Jennings County School Corporation in Versailles, Indiana, said she is "really excited to be here.
"I know I'm inheriting a very nice school...you all have worked hard here and I've heard good things about all of you."
Also wishing Schuldt good luck, McGuire addressed teachers and community members in the audience: "You don't know me, and I know there's some opposition, but we will move forward to focus on the students (and do what's) best for them."
McGuire drew applause from the audience when she asked the board to reduce the two percent salary increase originally included in her contract to one percent.
"I'm a teacher at heart," she said, "and I know money's tough and you never know when you'll get it from the state of Indiana."
The board agreed to her requested change.
During their opportunity to speak, each board member welcomed McGuire as well as new CCHS faculty hire Samantha Lynn, who has been teaching family and consumer sciences at CCHS since the start of the year, but to date had not signed a contract. Lynn, noted Schuldt, had been a teacher in Illinois prior to her arrival at CCHS.
"I think we will have a very good superintendent in (McGuire)," said board member Ed Behnke. "The school in some ways needs a little bit of a change in direction. We have done very well with things for many years; the physical plant is in great shape. But the students have started disappearing. We need to get things on an even keel, and you're the person who can do that best."
Behnke also thanked Buschman for his comments, adding, "I hope those attitudes serve you well."
Board member Ken VanDePutte thanked the public for its input, adding, "It's not a pleasant thing to go through, but I'm with (the rest of the board); it's time to move forward and unite once again."
Board member Marilyn Swanson said she's "confident (McGuire) will enjoy getting to know all the CCS (faculty) and I hope they're magnanimous enough to work with her."
Board member Dave Cooper told McGuire she has "the full support of this board," and expressed great appreciation for her "fiscal responsibility in denoting your pay increase."
Schuldt also pledged to "give all my support and help" to McGuire, even if it might be from a distance such as "Florida or someplace," he added with a smile. He said he aimed to make the transition from his tenure to McGuire's "as smooth as possible."
In other actions, the board voted to reappoint Bryan Koontz to the Monterey Public Library board, and agreed to cancel its Dec. 2 meeting, since the Nov. 25 meeting was the second Monday in a row the board met, and meet again Dec. 16.
Discussing upcoming school board seminars offered in Indianapolis, Schuldt also noted a new board member, Mark Maes, would replace longtime board member Ed Behnke, starting Jan. 1.
The board also voted to allow St. Anne's Catholic Church in Monterey temporary use of the former Monterey Elementary School building in that community, during a period of church renovation between January and April. Part of the building would be used for Sat. evening and Sunday morning services, according to Schuldt, who said he had been asked about the matter by the priest at St. Anne's. Schuldt, who did note that allowing use of the space could open up the board to more requests for community usage, recommended the board approve the request, which it did.
ABOUT DR. VICKI MCGUIRE
Dr. Vicki McGuire notes sheâ€™s been involved in education as a parent, teacher assistant, teacher, assistant principal, principal, long range strategic planner, and district leader for more than 20 years.
She obtained her K-8 teaching license from Indiana University and immediately began her career as a teacher assistant for Decatur County School in 1991. She then obtained a teaching position in the same district in 1992.
McGuire says she had always been interested in working with students with special needs, so she completed her Masters in Special Education through Indiana University in 1997. In 2004, she completed the Building Level Administration Program (K-12) offered through Indiana Wesleyan University. As a result, she became the Assistant Principal for South Decatur Elementary School.
In 2006, she accepted an offer to be principal of Hayden Elementary School in Jennings County, and in 2010 she completed the Indiana Wesleyan University Ed.S (Educational Specialist) program, which provided her with district leadership opportunities in Jennings County. She then attended Oakland City University in Oakland City, Indiana to obtain her (Ed.D) doctoral degree, after which she became more involved with district leadership.
McGuire has served as Corporation Administrator in Evaluation Procedures and Compensation Model, a member of the District Leadership Team, Expulsion Hearing Officer, Curriculum Design, Mentorship of other administrators Director of the first Long Range Strategic Plan for Jennings County Schools and various other roles.
In 2012, she obtained a Director of Exceptional Needs K-12 License from Purdue University, which she says has allowed her to become more familiar with the needs of all students in the corporation.
During her principalship at Hayden Elementary, the school was given National Blue Ribbon status, for which she credits students, staff, and parents. The school, with her support, also took second place in the World National Archery in Schools Competition, for which the school competed at ESPN in Orlando, Florida. The school has been an "A" school since school grades began and made the state-mandated AYP (Adequate Yearly Progress) yearly during her tenure.
At the end of the current school year, McGuire will also be a certified School Safety Specialist.
A more in-depth discussion with McGuire regarding her hopes for the Culver school system will appear in a future edition of The Culver Citizen.View more articles in: