After a four-year run with the district, Decatur County Community Schools (DCCS) Assistant Superintendent Dr. Mike Wilcox will end his tenure May 31.
Wilcox formally announced his departure Wednesday night at the regular meeting of the DCCS Board. The assistant superintendent leaves Decatur County to become the superintendent of the Richland Bean Blossom School District in Monroe County, Ellettsville.
Wilcox began his career in education teaching seventh grade social studies at Benjamin Rush Middle School in Rushville. He also served as athletic director there.
After his tenure in Rushville, he moved into an administrative role, becoming the assistant principal at Indian Creek Middle School in Trafalgar. He went on to serve as principal at North Putnam Middle School, Roachdale, before landing in Decatur County.
Wilcox told the Daily News that he left the classroom for the administrative side because it affords “the greatest opportunity to make decisions that impact kids and learning.”
He’s seen a great deal of change in state education during his career, he said — not all of it favorable. His greatest concern as he steps into a new role with a new district is the amount of emphasis placed on standardized testing in recent years.
In attempting to overhaul and improve public education, Wilcox said, state lawmakers have implemented a system of standardized testing that leaves too little time for quality classroom education between teacher and student.
“That’s not to say we don’t have good lawmakers,” he said, “but the problem, as I see it, is that they’re making laws that look good on paper but aren’t effective in actual practice.”
Regardless, he added, “even though we’re having our struggles with the amount of testing, we still have to be good soldiers and do it because it’s the law.”
With that being the case, the role of administrators, he said, is to make sure the tests are as valid as possible and that the data is used as optimally as possible to help kids and teachers improve.
Also on Wednesday night, the DCCS Board welcomed Dr. Michael Langevin as Wilcox’s replacement. DCCS has previously consulted with Langevin for several years through the Whiteriver Valley Educational Consulting Firm. As assistant superintendent for DCCS, Langevin will continue working as a consultant and will also continue as an adjunct faculty member of Indiana State University.
He characterized his continued work as an educational consultant as a distinct advantage for DCCS.
“I’ll be able to continue investigating and learning new ideas and knowledge, which I can then bring back to Decatur County,” he said.
The board also formally approved several other new teachers and other appointments into the district Wednesday, including Willard Rice as athletic director and Fred Chase as part-time homebound teacher for North Decatur High School (NDHS).
They also welcomed Kim Gauck as NDHS special education teacher; Morgan McIntire as NDHS art teacher; Nathan Cangany as South Decatur High School (SDHS) social studies teacher; Mirand Erk as SDHS Spanish teacher; Angela Greene as SDHS math teacher; Kate Schlarman as SDHS science teacher; Jerri Spears as SDHS family and consumer science teacher; Catherine Schmeltz as North Decatur Elementary School (NDES) special education teacher; Allison Smith as NDES classroom teacher; and Kristen Whipple as NDES classroom teacher.
“We feel very positive about these new hires,” Superintendent Johnny Budd said. “We’re certainly bettering ourselves.”
Also on Wednesday, the board approved perpetual easements of parts of its property to Main Street Greensburg for use as part of a multi-use bike-and-walking path. Main Street has been working on the project for an extended period of time.
Main Street Executive Director Bryan Robbins told the Daily News that although no construction date is set, he anticipates work on the project will begin sometime late this year or early next year.
“The path will be twelve-and-a-half feet wide and will run from the DCCS administration building (formerly A to Z Occasions) to the Greensburg-Decatur County Public Library,” he explained.
The DCCS easements grant Main Street the use of “eight or so” parking spaces of the DCCS Administration Building’s south parking lot.
Those spaces, Robbins said, will be converted into handicap spaces, while the area itself will serve as the new path’s north trail head.
“This is going to be a special project,” Robbins said. “And we’re extremely appreciative of the DCCS Board for granting us the easements.”
Also Wednesday, the board approved the purchase of a new special education bus for $85,120 and of two new activity buses for $46,897 apiece.
District graduation ceremonies will be held June 1.
The next regular meeting of the Decatur County Community Schools Board will be at 6 p.m. June 12, at the district administration building.
Contact: Rob Cox 812-663-3111 x7011