Carmel Clay Schools Board Meeting – May 20


Board members’ report: Superintendent search continues

Tricia Hackett announced the superintendent search continues with the assistance of BWP & Associates. All board members approved hiring Dr. Stephen Tegarden as interim superintendent effective June 10 at $650 per day. Tegarden served as superintendent of Carmel Clay Schools from 1993 to 2000 and recently as interim of Hamilton Southeastern and Washington Township.

Public Participation: Safety concerns, Prairie Trace emotional disability program

Five citizens addressed the board requesting the relocation of Prairie Trace’s emotional disability classroom and improved communications to parents regarding the program. Annette Austin emphasized, “We are not here to request the program be removed.” Tricia Beck announced police received 13 calls in less than four months regarding incidents with students in the program. Parents requested the classroom move closer to staff offices to decrease interruption of kindergarten classes and increase privacy of students in the program.

Action: New Prairie Trace principal appointed

All board members approved hiring Jill Smith as Prairie Trace principal. Smith is assistant principal at Smoky Row and served as assistant principal at West Clay.  Her career includes teaching at West Clay and Towne Meadow.

“I’m very pleased with this appointment,” said board president Layla Spanenberg.  “It shows how we support and promote our employees.”

Action: Reduction in force/recall policy revisions

Indiana law requires teacher contracts omit policies such as reduction in force. With this omission, the district’s human resources department proposed the policy’s inclusion in the employee handbook. Revision followed discussions with legal counsel and suggestions from the teacher’s association. Steve Dillon confirmed Greg Phillips’ statement, “State law requires that we use teacher evaluations instead of seniority.” Layla Spanenberg stated the association still had questions the policy committee would discuss at another formal meeting.

Announcements: Current superintendent’s final meeting

Layla Spanenberg officially recognized Dr. Jeff Swensson’s final board meeting and thanked him for his dedication and service to the school district. “You’ve shown yourself to be a loyal, hardworking leader,” she said. Pam Knowles emphasized Swensson’s focus on three words he used to shape the school’s district success, “Systematic, systemic and sustainable.”


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