GREENFIELD — For Shane Bryant and Matt Davis, joining the Greenfield-Central administrative team is somewhat of a homecoming.
Both educators, who were hired Tuesday to replace retiring principals at Weston and J.B. Stephens elementaries, have Hancock County ties and look forward to serving children in a familiar setting.
Bryant, who will replace Weston Elementary Principal Steve Burt, moved to Greenfield 18 years ago with his wife and is currently the principal of Parker Elementary School in New Castle. He formerly taught at the building he will now oversee.
Davis, who will succeed Candy Short as the principal at J.B. Stephens, grew up in the Fortville area. He now lives in Noblesville with his wife and three children and serves as assistant principal of Pendleton Elementary School.
Both are the sons of well-known local educators. Bryant’s father, Steve Bryant, is the principal of Greenfield-Central High School, and his mother is a teacher at Harris Elementary School. District policy allows that relatives of staff members may be hired, provided they are not placed in a position where they would be supervised by a family member.
Davis is the son of former Mt. Comfort Elementary School Principal Phil Davis, who retired in 2011 after 40 years in education.
The $87,504 contracts for the two new principals were approved unanimously by the Greenfield-Central School Board at a special meeting Tuesday.
Harold Olin, the incoming district
superintendent, introduced the new principals, saying both were intimately familiar with Greenfield-Central schools and the expectations for leading.
“Just feels like these are the guys that really can help us sustain the work we’ve done over the last decade,” he said. “They have a great knowledge of Greenfield-Central schools.”
Davis is quite familiar with the shoes he has to fill when he takes over for Short and will be working with a former colleague during the transition.
Short was principal of Edgewood Elementary in 1994 when Davis took his first teaching job there.
Short said she’s kept an eye on Davis’ career over the years, asking about him when she ran into his father. Davis’ career reached a high point last year when he was awarded Assistant Principal of the Year by the Indiana Association of School Principals. It’s the state’s top honor for assistant principals.
Short said bringing Davis aboard will be a smooth transition.
“It’s a very comforting feeling to me,” she said. “I think that his leadership style is congruent with mine.”
Davis said he looks forward to not only meeting with staff but connecting with the students.
“I want to be that person, the administrator that also is there for them,” he said. “Not just ‘I’m going to the principal’s office for a bad thing.’”
Short said she appreciates that Davis brings significant teaching experience, as well as administrative leadership, to the table. Davis has taught for 10 years in addition to working as a principal for 12.
Bryant’s resume reflects similar experience. He touts seven years as an administrator and nine as a teacher.
Five years of Bryant’s teaching experience was in Greenfield-Central schools. He taught for two years at Weston and three years at J.B. Stephens. He left the district seven years ago to take a principal’s position at Union Elementary School in Modoc in Randolph County, where he worked for five years before taking his current job in New Castle.
Having lived in the Weston district for years, Bryant said he’s ready to continue the good work that is already happening in the building.
Bryant said he looks forward to meeting with staff members to hear their thoughts about the direction the school is headed and take the first steps to addressing any concerns.
“That’s what I want to do is ask a lot of questions and do a lot of listening,” he said.
Bryant said he has always looked up to his father, even more so as that relationship helped shape him professionally.
“He’s been my number one role model,” he said. “He’s been an administrator since I was 10 years old.”
Steve Bryant said he looks forward to welcoming his son back to the G-C family.
“To be able to work collaboratively together to improve the education at Greenfield-Central in general is just exciting,” he said. “He’s a great educator, but, in my opinion, an even better person.”
G-C board member Kathy Dowling said the board met with the top three candidates for the open positions last week, and she is confident the elementary schools will be in good hands.
Dowling said she’s already received a call from a personal friend who works in Pendleton, teasing her about “stealing” the beloved Davis from his school.
“I think we’re very, very fortunate, and they’ll be great fits for Greenfield-Central School Corp.,” she said. “I’m just really thrilled to have key positions filled with great people.”