Mt. Vernon selects special education director

FORTVILLE — Mt. Vernon Schools have appointed a person with more than 20 years of experience in special education to lead the school’s new program next year.

This week, the Mt. Vernon School Board voted unanimously to hire Laura Durig to serve as the school’s new director of special education. She starts April 4, earning $90,000 annually.

About 600 Mt. Vernon students currently receive services through the interlocal agreement, which will end this summer now that the district has ended its two-year contract with the co-op.

Durig has worked in special education for 22 years and spent the past five years serving as director of the Forest Hills Special Education Interlocal, which serves the Richland-Bean Blossom Community School Corp. and Spencer-Owen Community Schools in southern Indiana. She was one of about 16 candidates to apply for the Mt. Vernon job.

Late last year, Mt. Vernon School Corp. withdrew from Hancock Madison Shelby Educational Services, a multi-county special education cooperative that has served county students for more than four decades, to create its own special education program.

In order to do so, the school corporation needed to hire its own special education director and create a curriculum in time for next school year.

As the district forges ahead with creating its own program, it needs a director who can help lead the way, said Superintendent Shane Robbins.

Of the candidates who applied for the job, only three were interviewed, Robbins said. The selection committee was impressed with Durig’s résumé, noting her decades of experience made her the clear choice.

She’ll begin her new job next month, working to help create a curriculum for the program, which include plans to create a transition into adulthood program for students 18 to 22.

“Everyone on the committee just looked at each other and said, ‘She’s the one,’” Robbins said. “We’re excited about what she’s going to be able to do to develop and take us into new ground.”

The district has extended offers to all of its special education classroom teachers that are currently employed by the co-op but work with Mt. Vernon teachers, Maria Bond, district communications director, said in an email to the Daily Reporter.

School leaders plan to hire an assistant director and to fill several specialized positions once Durig begins.

Durig said she’s honored to be part of Mt. Vernon’s team; she lives on the west side of Indianapolis and was looking for a job closer to home.

“I was so impressed with the commitment to student learning that’s here and the commitment to student success,” she said.

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Samm Quinn is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3275 or squinn@greenfieldreporter.com.