Dr. Nay to head education program in Brown County
Dr. Mary Lou Nay, superintendent of the Lanesville Community School Corp., gave the school board her resignation Thursday evening and requested to be released from the rest of her contract because she had been hired to administer a $5 million Eli Lilly and Community Alliance to Promote Education (CAPE) grant for Brown County.
Nay said the program she will oversee is a new concept in education because she will be contracting with teachers to teach individual for- credit and non-credit courses in the community. “We will be teaching everything from literacy classes to degree course work to technology classes,” she said.
While most of the funding comes from the Lilly grant, the Brown County Community Foundation and the school sytem there also contributed to the project. The Brown County schools will be legally accountable for the monies.
Nay said she would remain at Lanesville until the end of the school year and start her new position in Nashville June 17.
Nay told the board that her 2-1/2 years as Lanesville schools’ superintendent had been very enjoyable and working with such an agreeable school board was a pleasure. However, administering the Lilly grant would be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that could affect the whole community, from the youngest to the oldest resident.
“I get to be creative as administrator of this grant,” Nay said. “I will be able to work with the community to determine how to best spend the money on education projects. Brown County is very active in the area of adult education and life-long learning.”
Nay, who has a home in Columbus, is familiar with Brown County and taught there in the 1960s. She also administered a federal grant for the schools there.
“There is money in the grant for new technology, including seven video-to-video systems for interactive distance learning,” Nay said. During her tenure at Lanesville she promoted the use of new technology in education and partnered with Ivy Tech State College to bring a Spanish class to the school via video-to-video technology.
Nay said the Brown County School Corp. recently purchased the old county library in Nashville, for an administration building. She will oversee its renovation into office space.
“When I leave, you won’t have as big shoes to fill as you had when Carl Uesseler retired,” said the smallish but energetic educator, referring to her predecessor’s 29 years at Lanesville. Nay replaced Uesseler in November 1999.
“I certainly will miss Lanesville,” Nay said. “Coming to Lanesville was a chance for me to come home. I thought I would retire here.”
Nay came to Lanesville from the Community School Corp. of Eastern Hancock, where she had been assistant superintendent and coordinated the gifted-and-talented program.
A 1964 Corydon Central High School graduate, Nay, 55, was selected from nine candidates to head Harrison County’s smallest school district. She is the first woman school superintendent in Harrison County and only the second superintendent of the Lanesville school system. Her contract with Lanesville schools ran until 2005.
She said she was surprised when she was informed that she had been selected for the administrator position from a group of 185 applicants.
“I don’t really know why I was chosen over any of the other candidates,” she said. “They told me it was because of my connections with the university culture, the public school culture and private industry.”
Nay has taught as an adjunct assistant professor at Indiana University for 10 years and did private consulting work with industry. She administered many small Lilly grants at Eastern Hancock.
“This will be an exciting job. Rarely does anyone get a chance to create a whole new culture,” Nay said. “I get to hire all the staff and build a learning center from scratch.”
Lanesville school board president Donald Hussung said, “Dr. Nay has done a great job for Lanesville. She came to Lanesville with limited experience as a superintendent and performed every task asked of her with 110 percent commitment.
“As superintendent, she was the chief executive officer of the school corporation, and she was involved in every aspect of the day-to-day operation of the schools. In everything she attempted, she always had foremost in her mind the impact of her actions on the kids.”
Hussung added: “Dr. Nay has been offered an opportunity from former associates that no one could blame her for accepting. We (the board) wish her well as she pursues her passion and continues to keep kids first.”