NEW PALESTINE — Officials with the Southern Hancock school district have turned to an experienced education administrator to run their transportation department. The move comes after the former director, Bob Martin, and the district parted ways in late 2022.
Tim Smith was retired and enjoying life in Arizona with his wife when he saw the district had an opening. The experienced leader was familiar with the area and looking for an opportunity to move back to the state, he said. After discussing the job with his wife, Smith said he decided to apply for the position and was offered the job.
Smith officially started Jan. 5 after the board approved his salary of $92,700 a year, last week. He has been asked to iron out personnel issues in the bus garage and create a more positive atmosphere among employees in the department.
For Smith, it’s all about a everyone working together and giving everyone a new start. He noted he’s coming into the department and giving everyone a clean slate and plans to get things organized and running smoothly. His past 35 years of experience comes in the field of education where he’s been a teacher, an assistant principal, a principal and a transportation director.
“I’ve experienced working through all kinds of controversies through my many years as an administrator, so this kind of thing is really nothing new for me to deal with,” Smith said. “It’s not abnormal for an organization with many employees to have differences, but we’re just going to try to work together as a family and get things ironed out.”
Superintendent Lisa Lantrip noted Smith is a tremendous addition to the administrative team.
“With significant experience as a transportation director at other Indiana districts, we are eager to see him implement his leadership style at the bus garage,” Lantrip said. “Tim is already hard at work forging relationships and implementing new systems to help our transportation team operate successfully and safely.”
In addition to his administrative experience in education, Smith has been a transportation director in Lawrence Township and Morrisville, giving him operational transportation experience in both large and small school districts.
Smith noted he and his wife had been in Arizona for a couple of years but missed their family in Indiana and decided the opening was a sign to move home.
“We wanted to get back to Indiana to be closer to family and friends and started looking and this job became available,” Smith said.
Smith is a native Hoosier. He grew up in Logansport and went to Purdue University as an athlete before receiving his master’s in education from Indiana University. Smith plans to live in the New Palestine area. He planned to fly back to Arizona this past weekend, get his wife and many of their belongings and drive across country to get unloaded and settled into their new home this week.