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School boards approve administrative changes


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Mark Kern had no idea he was going to be offered the job at Sugar Creek Elementary when he went to a meeting this week with Superintendent Jim Halik. The longtime principal at New Palestine Elementary will replace Tony Strangeway, who is retiring. (Kristy Deer/Daily Reporter)
Mark Kern had no idea he was going to be offered the job at Sugar Creek Elementary when he went to a meeting this week with Superintendent Jim Halik. The longtime principal at New Palestine Elementary will replace Tony Strangeway, who is retiring. (Kristy Deer/Daily Reporter)


HANCOCK COUNTY — Two school boards have taken steps to shuffle administrative staff to fill open principal slots at three schools.

On Monday, the same night the Greenfield-Central School Board welcomed Harold Olin as its new superintendent, it announced that Dan Jack will take Olin’s place next school year as principal of Greenfield Central Junior High. Olin had served as the junior high’s principal since the building’s opening in 2010.

The move to the junior high is a promotion for Jack, who currently serves as assistant principal at Greenfield-Central High School. Jack has been with the school corporation for seven years, during which he has held the same position at the high school.

Jack said he is excited for the change and believes his years at the high school have given him valuable insight he can pass on to younger students.

“… I’ve seen where I can help transition junior high students to the high school and maybe identify some areas where we can better prepare them for college-level courses,” he said.

Jack’s start date at the junior high is July 1.

Southern Hancock officials also shifted personnel this week to prepare for the loss of Sugar Creek Elementary Principal Tony Strangeway. The longtime principal announced his decision to leave last week after 14 years with the corporation.

New Palestine Elementary School Principal Mark Kern will replace Strangeway; and Doe Creek Middle School Dean of Students Katie Eastes will fill Kern’s position at the elementary school.

The Southern Hancock School Board asked Superintendent Jim Halik to move forward with replacing Strangeway now instead of leaving the task to the new superintendent. Halik is retiring at the end of the school year, and his successor has not yet been chosen.

“I wanted to do this before spring break to put everyone’s mind at ease,” Halik said. “Whether they like the decision or don’t like it, one thing is certain; people like to know.”

Kern, who has been at NPE for 15 years, will handle the district’s largest elementary school with more than 750 students.

Kern said he didn’t know what Halik had in mind when he asked Kern to visit corporation headquarters for a talk Tuesday morning.

“It was not something that I actively pursued in any way,” Kern said. “So, it was surprising.”

After Kern agreed to the switch, Halik then brought Eastes into the conversation and offered her Kern’s position.

In taking the principal position at NPE, Eastes has come full circle. She did her student teaching at NPE in 1999 and was then hired by Kern upon graduation from Marian College.

While the recent hires have filled some of the openings, they have created others.

Eastes’ move to NPE now puts Doe Creek Principal Jim Voelz on the clock to find a replacement for her.

Greenfield-Central officials have posted Jack’s job on the corporation website and are now seeking a replacement for him as well. It is one of three key administrative positions the corporation has left to fill before the start of the next school year.

Candy Short, principal of J.B. Stephens Elementary, is retiring at the end of the year, as is Steve Burt, principal of Weston Elementary School.

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