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Hauswald tapped as MCCSC’s next superintendent

Hauswald tapped as MCCSC’s next superintendent
Hauswald tapped as MCCSC’s next superintendent
Dr. Jeff Hauswald
Jo Ann Spieth-Saylor, Editor, [email protected]

It’s been 10 years since Dr. Jeff Hauswald left the South Harrison Community School Corp. to take the superintendent position of the Kokomo School Corp. Beginning July 1, he will become the top administrator of the Monroe County Community School Corp.

“We are so honored to have Dr. Hauswald as the next leader of the Monroe County Community School Corp.,” Cathy Fuentes-Rohwer, president of the school board, said following the board’s decision to offer Hauswald a three-year contract early last month. “His career experiences as a classroom teacher, high school administrator and elementary school principal, combined with over 10 years as an urban school superintendent gives him invaluable insight and the experience to lead our school district. Being a sound fiscal manager with taxpayers’ dollars and experienced in understanding school finance, he will serve the community well as we approach the next referendum. He is student-centered with an equity focus.”

The son of Larry and Carol Hauswald of Corydon, Jeff is a 1992 graduate of Corydon Central High School and a 1997 graduate of Indiana University. He earned his doctorate from I.U. in 2012.

“When I called my mom to tell her the news that I was likely going to accept a position in Bloomington, she said, ‘I always said you would end up living in Bloomington. It took you five years to finish your undergraduate degree, and you would have never left if you had a choice in the matter’,” he said.

His father, who serves on the board of the South Harrison Community School Corp., asked if he would be rejoining his parents at I.U. football games.

“They’ve been season ticket holders for at least 30 years,” the younger Hauswald said. “The answer to that question was yes.”

Hauswald, who is married to the former Cassie Chumley, said he applied for the MCCSC position because “it was a great opportunity to serve in a progressive town that shows tremendous support for public education.

“Of course, after more than a decade as a flat-lander, I found myself increasingly missing the hills of Southern Indiana and saw this position as a chance to move closer to family as well,” he said.

He alluded to not missing having to shovel as much snow and escaping windchill factors that are less desirable than those south of Indianapolis.

Monroe County Community School Corp. has nearly double the number of students as Kokomo, 11,181 to 6,180, in grades pre-kindergarten through 12.

“I am looking forward to a new opportunity to work with teachers, staff, elected officials, families and community members to design new opportunities for students; opportunities that can expand career readiness, increase the amount of college preparatory programs and classes, increase choices for students and families, and create unique programs for Monroe County students,” Hauswald said. “Of course, other initiatives such as teacher opportunities for PD and expanded benefits for staff, increased environmental initiatives to improve efficiencies and reduce our carbon footprint, intentional equity initiatives to provide the appropriate and needed level of educational services to priority populations, expanded educational research with partners such as Indiana University-Bloomington and many other areas of focus will be prioritized, along with the creative solutions that accompany them.”

Hauswald anticipates challenges at MCCSC that are similar to other districts.

“Primarily, insufficient state-level funding due to a funding formula that has fallen significantly behind inflationary rates over the last decade and resulted in the State of Indiana having the lowest average teacher salaries of all bordering states,” he said. “Coupled with funding challenges, school districts face tremendous pressures associated with the hopefully waning months of a once-in-a-century pandemic that has likely widened achievement gaps for our most vulnerable students.

“Additionally, school districts will need to increase support for the stress, trauma, social and emotional needs of many students due, in part, to COVID-19, in order to increase engagement in the learning environment,” Hauswald said. “As a new superintendent, these challenges must be coupled with the urgent and important need to get to know the community, identify challenges that may be unique to the district and to create relationships with stakeholders to work through the challenges identified, as well as many more that are likely to emerge.”

Although he’s looking forward to the new position, Hauswald said leaving Kokomo will be difficult.

“Since 2010, Kokomo has been home,” he said. “The community of Kokomo is amazing.  They have supported a redesign of public education that included the introduction of magnets and school choice within the district, an international program that attracted students from around the world to live in district-owned dormitories, the introduction of free early childhood education for every student and much more. It will be difficult to leave a place that I love; however, I am confident that with the amazing school administrators, teachers and staff, these changes will be sustained.

“More importantly, I am confident that the next decade will only increase the opportunities for Kokomo’s students, as the desire for continuous change and improvement seems to be embedded in the fiber of the district,” Hauswald added. “It will be fun to watch from afar and to celebrate with the Wildkats their continued successes.”

Prior to July 1, Hauswald will work in Monroe County approximately one day a week to help with the transition.

“I look forward to getting reacquainted with friends that also live in Bloomington,” he said.

Last month, when he met the assistant principal at one of the MCCSC’s middle schools, Hauswald learned he is married to the former Lesle (Daniele) Conway

“He told me … I was her math teacher at Corydon Central Junior High … and she is now an attorney and that they live in Bloomington,” Hauswald said.

Conway had told her husband how Hauswald had given her lunch detention for not returning a library book.

“It was, apparently, the only lunch detention she ever received,” Hauswald said. “This is a subtle reminder of your hometown and I think sheds light on the shared experiences and common paths the citizens of one community take together.

“These shared experiences, both good and bad, make us stronger, and they create a bond to one another,” he said. “And to have shared those communal experiences with others in Corydon and Harrison County, I count my blessings daily.”

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