NEW PALESTINE — Nearly four decades ago, Miles Hercamp came to teach and coach at New Palestine High School (NPHS), and he never left the district. In mid-June, Hercamp — the Director of Instructional Services, the Director of Technology and the Director of School Safety — will retire from the New Palestine Community Schools front office after 39 years in education.

“This was my first and only job,” Hercamp said. “It’s the only place I’ve ever worked.”

He was first hired at NPHS in 1985 right after he graduated college from Indiana Central University (University of Indianapolis) as a math teacher who sometimes taught a computer science class. During his time as a teacher, Hercamp became the head cross country and track coach for the Dragons for 20 years with hopes of someday landing his dream job, athletic director.

A Seymour native, Hercamp ran both cross county and track in high school. He set his sights on heading into education when he was a teenager despite a family pull to go into business. The Hercamp family owns a diesel wrecker and crane service in Seymour and Columbus (Hercamp Crane), a place Hercamp worked as a teenager, but he said his heart was just not into making the family business his profession.

“All along, I wanted to be in education,” Hercamp said. “Like a lot of people at that time, I really wanted to coach and that helped me look into teaching.”

Following 21 years in the classroom, Hercamp became the Dean of Students at NPHS and had a one-year stint as the NPHS athletic director. He then become an assistant principal at NPHS, a position he held for six years before going to the central office building and taking on district-wide responsibilities for the past seven years.

“I always thought I wanted to be an athletic director. It was my ultimate goal, and I got it, and while I enjoyed it after a year I knew it really wasn’t the direction I wanted to take,” Hercamp said. “My wife (Denise) was very supportive, but I knew that wasn’t the best job for our family or me.”

When Hercamp started working as the Dean of Students at NPHS, he realized how much he enjoyed the front office work surrounding education. That’s when he went back to school and earned his administrative license.

“I had worked handling discipline for 11 years and that’s hard work, but it was during that time I realized I didn’t want to be a principal, but I know I wanted to do more,” Hercamp said.

Seven years ago, Hercamp had the opportunity to work at the central office, so he took it and said it’s been the best job he’s ever had.

 After 39 years in education with New Palestine Schools as a teacher (21 years), athletic director, assistant principal, dean of students and curriculum administrator, Miles Hercamp is stepping down in June. New Palestine is the only place he has ever worked. Tuesday, May 28, 2024. Tom Russo | Daily Reporter

“This is what I’ve enjoyed the most,” Hercamp said. “I like it because you’re making decisions that are affecting the entire district and not just one group of kids or one school.”

Hercamp noted the reason he was able to stay so long and work for one district his whole professional career is due to the fact he had opportunities to advance if he wanted to. That coupled with his love of the community, the parents and the kids he worked with made staying in New Palestine an easy choice.

“As the guy who worked in discipline for years, with the kids who are the most challenging, I found out we have the best kids here,” Hercamp said. “Even the kids who need extra attention, they are good kids who mature and make good contributions.”

Hercamp and his family officially moved to the Hancock County area in 1990 and have made the area their forever home. The family owns five acres of land with horses and fruit trees which will keep Hercamp busy during retirement, he said.

However, he and his wife plan to travel including a trip to Alaska and Canada as one of their first big adventures in retirement.

“We also have a camper, so we’ll do a little camping now and again,” he said.

Overall, Hercamp says working for the New Palestine Community School District has been a rewarding and fun adventure.

“This has been a great community for me,” Hercamp said. “Our kids went to school here and all our grandkids, four of them, live out here now, so we’re here.”

Hercamp noted while he’s nearly 62 years old and had thought of working a few more years, he and his wife celebrated their 40th anniversary this year and since she’s already retired, now seemed like the ideal time for him get on the same page.

“It just all kind of came together that now was the time,” Hercamp said.

That and the fact new school legislation, educational standards and diploma changes are coming, helped nudge Hercamp into retirement. He noted multi-year projects for school district to study and implement are coming, and since he more than likely wasn’t going to work more than one more year, he felt now was the best time to step down and let new administrators handle new challenges.

“I don’t want to start something and then step down before it’s finished,” Hercamp said. “Plus, I’m at what I consider the best part of my career and I want to go out that way.”