New principal at S.H. part of three-school shuffle
Sharon Mathes, 49, a teacher at South Central Elementary School, will assume the role of principal this fall to fill the slot left vacant by Jeff Hauswald’s move to assistant superintendent of the South Harrison Commun-ity School Corp. Mathes, however, will not take the helm at Hauswald’s SCES but rather New Middletown Elementary School.
‘We try to make the appropriate placement of administrative talent at where they have the greatest need,’ Supt. Neyland Clark said.
The result will be three changes in principals in the fall. In addition to Mathes’ assignment at NMES, Tamela Brewer will transfer from NMES to Corydon Elementary School, and Laura McDermott will transfer from CES to SCES.
Clark said all three women have been in close contact with their predecessors to help smooth the transition. And he addressed the concerns of some parents who are critical of the transfers.
‘It’s no secret that there has been polarization of faculty at CES. Laura McDermott requested to transfer to SCES. Hiring Sharon Mathes as a beginning principal, I felt she was a little inexperienced for CES and moved her to NMES,’ he said.
‘Mrs. Brewer did an excellent job at New Middletown, and I’m sure there are people disappointed at her leaving. We are trying to have a dialogue between in-going and out-going principals. I think that you’ll find in Mrs. Mathes’ case at New Middletown they will not skip a beat,’ Dr. Clark said.
The resignation of Dr. Mark Eastridge from Corydon Central Junior High School in 2005 triggered a similar administrative shuffle.
Eastridge’s vacancy was filled by Principal Mark Black who moved to CCJHS after only two years at Corydon Intermediate School. Sandra Joseph, then principal of St. Joseph School in Corydon, was hired to take Black’s place at CIS.
While it may seem like a lot of moving about, Clark said, ‘There are some school corporations that have built in within their policies that they are going to rotate their principals every five years just so they don’t become complacent in their duties.’
Mathes taught previously at both North Harrison Upper Elementary and Corydon Central Junior High School. She was an administrator and teacher at Old Capitol Preschool for eight years prior to her employment in public schools.
Herself a graduate of Corydon Central High School’s Class of 1974, Mathes has since received a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Indiana University Southeast in New Albany and is to receive a master’s degree this month in teaching and building level administration from Oakland City University.
She began a principal’s internship last June with Jeff Hauswald at SCES. ‘It has been the most valuable experience of my career and confirmed my decision that I wanted to become a building principal,’ Mathes said.
It was also a prolific experience. Over the course of the year, Mathes logged more than 320 hours of the required 150 minimum hours needed for her license.
‘I met with Mr. Hauswald each morning prior to school and had the opportunity to discuss what his responsibilities were for that particular day. The internship program followed the school calendar and provided invaluable hands-on experiences throughout the school year. Mr. Hauswald afforded me numerous opportunities to perform the duties of building principal and to serve in his office,’ Mathes said.
While at SCES, Mathes has been the academic coach ‘ the math bowl coach, spell bowl coach and Read to Succeed coordinator ‘ an extended day teacher, a member of the ICAN Academy Cohort One, a member of the math textbook adoption committee and served as a Destination ImagiNation assessor (judge).
An administrative role appeals to Mathes because, she said, ‘In the classroom I have an opportunity to impact 25 or 30 children at the most. As an administrator I can impact a greater number of students.’
As far as the move to NMES, ‘I’m just really excited to have the privilege to work at New Middletown Elementary, and want to assure that it’s a smooth and positive transition, and I’m going to work closely with Mrs. Brewer to achieve that.
‘I’m going to build on the foundation and the traditions that are currently there. I’m going to continue to focus on the school improvement plan that they have in place and their school mission and school goals,’ Mathes said.
Mathes has three children. One attends school at South Harrison, and the other two are grown. She also has two grandchildren.