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Eastridge returns to head SH schools

Eastridge returns to head SH schools
Eastridge returns to head SH schools
South Harrison's newly-hired superintendent, Dr. Mark Eastridge, talks with South Harrison Community School Corp. board trustees, from left, Joyce Bliss, Shelly Romero and Mary Mathes last week after he was picked to fill the vacancy of Dr. Neyland Clark, who ends an 18-year tenure with South Harrison at the end of the current school year. Photo by Alan Stewart

When it came to finding a superintendent to succeed Dr. Neyland Clark, the board of trustees at South Harrison Community School Corp. didn’t have to look too far.
In a special meeting that lasted only five minutes last Wednesday at the Edmund (Ed) F. Schneider Administrative Center, and with all but one member (Vickie Engleman, who remains hospitalized) present, board members on hand unanimously approved former Corydon Central Junior High School Principal Dr. Mark Eastridge to take over when Clark officially steps down as superintendent at the end of June.
Eastridge will remain superintendent at neighboring Crawford County Community School Corp. until June 30.
Eastridge, a Taswell native and 1976 English High School graduate, was principal at CCJHS for 13 years and was hired by Crawford County schools in January 2005 to succeed Tom Doddridge, who was retiring. Eastridge began his South Harrison career in the 1982-83 school year as a social studies teacher (hired by the man whose name adorns the South Harrison administrative building), then moved up to principal at Corydon Middle School ‘eight or nine years’ later, then became principal at CCJHS.
The newly-hired superintendent said he’s looking forward to sharing ideas with and getting feedback from staff as soon as possible.
‘We need to work together and get into the mindset of the sharing of best practices,’ Eastridge said. ‘A teacher might be doing a good thing, but, if they aren’t sharing with the teacher two doors down, then that’s an issue.
‘The first six months for me will be getting in and learning the school corporation. I’m going to be out of the office a lot early on, going to the different schools, interacting with the staffs, observing classrooms. I’ve got a list of questions I want to ask the principals, and I hope they have questions for me, as well.’
Eastridge is coming from a school corporation that has produced multiple national Blue Ribbon-winning elementary schools, to a corporation that has somewhat similar demographics in the way of poverty level but has yet to attain a Blue Ribbon school award.
Eastridge said he isn’t looking to make South Harrison ‘Crawford County East.’
‘Each school corporation is unique and has its own needs. South Harrison is an excellent school corporation. Can we make it just a little bit better?’ Eastridge said. ‘Crawford County is academically strong, and I think that will continue and the staff there will continue to be successful. The key at Crawford County ‘ and what we want to do at South Harrison ‘ is to have the good people in place. I think the system we worked to build at Crawford County is bigger than one person. I think that system can continue to grow and sustain itself and see success.’
Eastridge has a Ph.D. in educational leadership from Indiana State University (2000) and also degrees from Indiana University-Bloomington and Indiana University Southeast. Eastridge resides in Corydon with his wife, Susan, who was also at the meeting.
His contract is effective beginning July 1 of this year and runs through June 30, 2017, with Eastridge working 261 days during each school year and a proportionate number of work days in any partial school year of employment.
Eastridge, who will be paid a basic salary of $109,000 each year, will have 15 paid vacation days within the 261 days and receive 10 sick leave days. His contract says Eastridge ‘has accumulated sick leave days from his previous employer’ and will be entitled to transfer 20 unused sick days.
South Harrison will contribute $12,000 annually into an annuity plan for Eastridge, who will be reviewed at least once each school year.