GREENFIELD — Greenfield-Central High School’s principal was named District Principal of the Year by the Indiana Association of School Principals.
Jason Cary was among 12 principals to receive the honor Nov. 19 at the IASP’s annual Fall Professionals Conference at the JW Marriott in Indianapolis.
The association said those honored had been acknowledged by their peers for “the exemplary contributions they have made to the profession.”
Cary was named District Principal of the Year for IASP’s District 10, which includes 140 schools across 10 counties.
He’s now in his seventh year as principal at Greenfield-Central High School, which serves roughly 1,500 students in grades 9-12.
Cary was offered the job in 2017 while serving as principal at Peru High School.
“I was very happy with my job at Peru. I wasn’t going to leave for just any other job,” recalled Cary, 42.
“When this (Greenfield) job came open it seemed like a good fit, so I looked into it and it came down to interview and just fell in love with the community and the people,” he said.
“It seemed like the high school was a big part of the community, and everyone was really supportive. Because it was a small town it seemed like a lot of people knew each other, and I was right because now I love going out and seeing people I know and catching up with past graduates,” said Cary.
Having grown up in Vincennes, Cary had no previous ties to Greenfield but is now happy to call the city home.
His sons Grayson, 12, and Hudson, 9, attend Greenfield-Central schools and his wife, Lindsey, teaches English at the junior high school.
Cary said he appreciates his family’s support in doing the job he loves, one which often requires time away from home attending school events.
“They really allow me to do this job. I’m pretty lucky,” he said.
While Cary earned his superintendent’s license last year and ultimately hopes to become a superintendent, he said he’s in no rush to seek another job.
“One of the big reasons I don’t want to leave is my family is very happy here. They love the friends they’ve made and the teachers they’ve had. It’s been a really good spot for us,” he said.
Cary grew up near Vincennes and graduated from North Knox High School in Bicknell in 1999.
He then attended Indiana State University, where he earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees.
He’s currently working through the university to earn his doctorate degree, as well.
Cary started his career teaching social studies at South Vermillion High School in Clinton, where he also coached boys’ basketball and boys’ and girls’ golf.
After four years he moved into his first administrative role at Blue River Valley Jr/Sr. High School, where he served one year as assistant principal and athletic director before moving to Peru High School.
He served three years as assistant principal and four years as principal there before coming to Greenfield-Central in 2017, taking over the lead post after longtime principal Steve Bryant retired.
Susie Coleman, assistant principal at Greenfield-Central High School, said Cary has done a great job leading the school ever since.
“He is a very collaborative leader that seeks input from all personnel in the building. He clearly shares his vision for G-CHS with parents, students and staff and works hard to ensure we are all on pace to fulfill this vision,” she said, adding that he’s also great with kids.
“He works very hard to build relationships with students. I believe he is down to earth and the kids respect him, even when has to interact with them in regards to discipline or other concerns,” she said, adding that he’s very worthy of being recognized as District Principal of the Year.
After being nominated by a peer within the school system, Carey was required to submit a list of accomplishments in his role.
“I think sometimes people want to come in and they want to do all these new things, but we have a lot of really great things going on here. I was really lucky in that I inherited a wonderful building,” said Cary, who commended his predecessor for leaving the school and staff in a great place.
Cary has led the school in transitioning to a Latin honors system, growing the number of pathways toward graduation and switching to a letter grading system from a 100-point scale.
“We’re always looking at ways to give students as many opportunities as we can for them to be successful,” he said.