CHARLOTTESVILLE — Eastern Hancock School Corp. soon will have a new leader.
Vicki McGuire, superintendent of Culver Community School Corp. in Marshall County since 2014, has accepted an offer to take over for Steve Welsh on Jan. 1. Welsh has served as Eastern Hancock’s interim superintendent since last summer after Randy Harris, who had led the district since 2008, left the post for a position in northeast Indiana.
McGuire, who was named Welsh’s successor at Thursday’s board meeting, is expected to sign a 3½-year contract on Dec. 21 during a special school board meeting. She will be paid a $103,000 salary plus benefits, the same salary Harris received when he started at the district. In her new role, McGuire will oversee roughly 70 teachers who educate approximately 1,200 students in three schools with a general fund operating budget of about $7 million.
“We think she’s a perfect fit for us,” said Scott Petry, president of Eastern Hancock’s school board. “She has the experience; she’ll be a great leader.”
McGuire, a lifelong educator, started her career as a teacher in Decatur County School Corp. in 1993. She later served as an assistant principal for the district before moving to Jennings County School Corp. in North Vernon, where she was an elementary principal until 2013.
McGuire, who announced her departure from Culver School Corp. on Thursday, said she looks forward to getting acquainted with Eastern Hancock’s staff, students and parents.
“Eastern Hancock has a lot to offer,” McGuire said. “It has a small, community-oriented feel, and its students are high achievers.”
Culver School Corp. is similar to Eastern Hancock in size and structure. It has three schools, two principals — one for the elementary school and one for the middle and high schools, like Eastern — and about 850 students, according to data from the Indiana Department of Education.
McGuire said her priority is to establish relationships with students, staff and parents early in the semester.
“My priorities are always to put students first,” she said. “When students come to Eastern Hancock schools, I want them to feel like they belong, and I want the parents to know we’re giving their children the attention they need.”
Welsh’s interim contract expires Dec. 31.
Despite coming in midway through the school year, McGuire said she expects a smooth transition. She plans to work closely with both principals while encouraging them to take the lead with the students and staff they oversee.
That kind of management style made McGuire stand out from the other candidates who interviewed for the position, Petry said.
“We wanted a great leader, of course, but we needed someone who could give guidance to our administrators but wouldn’t micromanage, either,” he said.
McGuire is finishing a chief business officer certification program that focuses on helping educators manage money in their districts.
Board member Jim Jackson said he thinks McGuire’s expertise in school finances will help the corporation navigate a series of upcoming facilities upgrades and maintenance, including new windows and roof repair at the high school.
“We’re currently figuring out what our facilities plan will be, and I’m sure she’ll be involved closely with that,” Jackson said.
School board members started with a group of 14 applicants and winnowed that selection down to seven to interview, said Scott Johnson, a member of the board.
McGuire earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Indiana University, then went on to earn a master’s degree in special education in 1998. She completed her doctorate in education at Oakland City University in 2011.
McGuire, who was raised in Versailles, said she and her husband, Von, hope to find a house in the district. She has two daughters, Amy Watson and Kasey Burress, and five grandchildren.