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Southern Hancock hires new superintendent

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New Palestine High School physical education teacher Jeff Wright  (left) and Sugar Creek Elementary School art teacher Clark Fralic welcome new Superintendent Lisa Carver Lantrip into the district. 

(Kristy Deer / Daily Reporter)
New Palestine High School physical education teacher Jeff Wright (left) and Sugar Creek Elementary School art teacher Clark Fralic welcome new Superintendent Lisa Carver Lantrip into the district. (Kristy Deer / Daily Reporter)

NEW PALESTINE — About 30 years ago, Lisa Carver Lantrip’s father advised her against following in his footsteps and going into education. But, just like her dad, E.B Carver, a former longtime superintendent at Franklin Township schools, she will soon be leading a school district.

Carver Lantrip, 51, a current Wayne Township administrator, was introduced Tuesday evening as the new Southern Hancock superintendent after the school board officially approved her three-year contract.  

“My father did try to talk me out of going into education – period,” Carver Lantrip said with a laugh. “But, I’m definitely excited about coming here. This is a great school district.”

Carver Lantrip brings 30 years of educational experience to the district. She will replace outgoing superintendent Jim Halik at the end of the school year. She’s been a teacher, principal and assistant superintendent since graduating from Ball State University in 1983 with a bachelor of science degree in elementary education.

After teaching grades 1-6 for 10 years, Carver Lantrip became an assistant principal and, later, principal, at Cloverdale Elementary in Putnam County.

She then moved on to Rhoades Elementary in Wayne Township in Marion County, helping turn the school into a National Blue Ribbon School and developing a partnership with Ball State University resulting in Rhoades becoming a model Professional Development School.  

She became a curriculum director for Wayne Township in 2005 before being promoted to assistant superintendent for curriculum, instruction and assessment.

It was her experience, school board members say, that helped Carver Lantrip rise to the top of the list of candidates.

“The one thing that was the singular most important issue for me is she comes from an elementary background, but her last several years she’s been involved in high school curriculum development,” board member Craig Wagoner said. “She stood out because she really spanned the grade range.”

School board President Bill Niemier said the district had 20 applicants and that the district went through an extensive process in selecting Carver Lantrip.

Board member Barbara Snyder said the district put together a fair contract with a base pay of $150,000 per year. With incentives, it will make Carver Lantrip the highest-paid administrator in the county.

 “We had talked about some of the many things we were looking for in finding a superintendent, and she really fulfills all of them.” Snyder said.

While Carver Lantrip, a Ben Davis High School graduate, knows it will take time for administrators, teachers, parents and students to get to know her, she said one thing they can count on from the start is that she will put children’s needs first.

“I’m open, I’m a listener, and I encourage involvement,” she said.

Carver Lantrip’s husband, Brian Swihart, said his wife is more than ready to lead the district.

“Wayne Township is a big school corporation, and she’s had a lot of responsibilities there, and I think that will help her here,” Swihart said.

Her father’s career as a longtime superintendent helped prepare Carver Lantrip for her new role, her husband said.  Her father also attended the meeting Tuesday night.

“She’s really been groomed for this,” Swihart said. “Her mom was also a principal and teacher… so she comes from an education background.”

As for her father, he couldn’t be more proud despite trying to change his daughter’s mind about education years ago.

“Lisa is quite the girl,” he said. “She’s very knowledgeable about curriculum, and that is important in this business.”     

Carver Lantrip earned her Ph.D from Indiana University, Bloomington, with a dual major in curriculum and instruction. She is one class away from earning a master’s degree in business management from Indiana Wesleyan University.

Carver Lantrip and her husband plan to move to the New Palestine area as soon as possible.

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