Column: Change at the top at Hamilton Southeastern


By Larry Lannan

The Hamilton Southeastern (HSE) School Corporation is losing two outstanding leaders. Their shoes will be tough to fill.

First, we discovered on June 12 that Assistant Superintendent Dr. Beth Niedermeyer will be replacing the retiring Dr. Libby Conner in Noblesville. Dr. Niedermeyer handled curriculum for HSE Schools and presided over a number of important programs.

She has overseen the rollout of the HSE21 program, which will result in iPads being used by Grades 5 and 6 this Fall and all grades by Fall 2016. The goal is to reduce textbook costs.

Dr. Niedermeyer has also been at the center of developing the high ability program at HSE Schools. This program aims to identify students with high potential and offer a more rigorous academic challenge for them.

On July 8, we learned that HSE Supt. Dr. Brian Smith will be leaving the local school system to assume the position of executive director for the Indiana School Boards Association (ISBA). This is quite an honor, since ISBA has only had six executive directors since its creation in 1949.

I am not surprised ISBA looked to someone like Dr. Smith to run their association. He has always been active in working with members of the Indiana General Assembly, which will be a big part of his ISBA duties.

I’ve covered education as a reporter in the past and found most superintendents shy away from getting involved in any commercial issues. Dr. Smith, on the other hand, has been very active in the Fishers Chamber of Commerce, seeing the chamber as a major institution in the community and a group with a stake in a quality local school system.

Dr. Smith has overseen successful referendum campaigns, the most recent one to allow the building of senior academies at each local high school. Those academies are now under construction and are scheduled to open in Aug. 2015.

I have had the chance to watch Doctors Smith and Niedermeyer in action and both have been impressive leaders for HSE Schools. The ISBA and Noblesville Schools both made wise decisions.

Now, the hard part begins for the HSE School Board. The search starts to replace these two outstanding leaders.

HSE Schools have continued high standards with Brian Smith and Beth Niedermeyer in leadership positions. The burden on the HSE School Board members will be finding leaders of the same quality to replace them.