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Smitley, Payne to join Lanesville schools

Smitley, Payne to join Lanesville schools Smitley, Payne to join Lanesville schools
Kaitlyn Clay, Staff Writer, [email protected]

Lanesville Community School Corp. will have two new leaders added to its repertoire after both were unanimously approved at the board of trustees’ meeting last Tuesday evening.

Jeff Smitley will lead the team at Lanesville Elementary School by taking the vacant position of principal after Lisa Hammond, who has been the principal for the past six years there, retired.

Smitley is leaving his current position as St. John’s Elementary School principal, after being there for three years, to take this opening. Prior to those years of experience, he also brings with him 14 years of teaching experience from positions at Lanesville, South Harrison and Salem school corporations.

Zach Payne, who served as the Lanesville baseball coach from 2015 to 2020, will take on the role of athletic director as Dr. Ryan Apple, the current athletic director as well as assistant junior-senior high school principal, will succeed Steve Morris as principal at the end of the 2020-21 school year. (Morris will continue as superintendent through the end of the calendar year.)

Payne led the baseball team to a state championship in 2017 and two semi-state championships during his time with the team. He took a year hiatus from Lanesville schools to be with his family, which included a newborn baby, but is excited to return to a place his family loves.

“I’m so grateful, appreciative and thankful to be back with Lanesville,” Payne said. “This is really home for us, and I’m excited we will be raising a future Eagle here as well.”

The board also approved some personnel issues, including the hirings of Tara Dye and Meagan Love as elementary school teachers, and Kate Acton as remediation teacher. The board also accepted the resignation of Allison Schalk, who is taking a position with the South Harrison Community School Corp.

Morris noted that Lanesville Community School Corp., in partnership with LifeSpring Health Systems and Harrison County Community Foundation, recently applied for a remediation grant from the State of Indiana. If the grant is approved, it would provide funding to pay for a licensed therapist through LifeSpring to spend one day a week at the schools next year. It would also fund a stipend for teachers who would be interested in participating in an online development course on social and emotional learning.

Morris added that, if they aren’t approved for these grant funds, this would be something the school would consider spending dollars toward from the third round of Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act money given to the school corporation through the state.

He will continue to update the board and the public about the grant process.

The next board meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, June 15, at 5:30 p.m.