Back to school!



By Ann Craig-Cinnamon

Those lazy days of summer are just about over already for school kids. As a collective student groan settles in across the Hamilton Southeastern School district, it’s time to take a look at what’s new at HSE this school year and other things you might need to know. We address many of them in this special back-to-school section.

The biggest item in the area of change is in leadership. HSE Superintendent Dr. Brian Smith announced that he will be leaving his position to become the executive director of the Indiana School Boards Association. Dr. Smith will be with the district for the opening of the school year but departs Sept. 1. The School Board has indicated that it might consider hiring an interim superintendent, recognizing that a district the size of HSE requires a unique skill set and a level of experience that might require more time and a more diligent search.

The district also lost its assistant superintendent Dr. Beth Niedermeyer who is taking over as new superintendent of the Noblesville School District.

There will be many other new faces in HSE Schools this year. There are five new administrators joining the district:

Lori Mankin – new principal of New Britton Elementary School

Steve Loser – Assistant Principal at Fishers High School

Jagga Rent – Dean of Students at HSE High School

Patrick Schooley – Dean of Students of Fishers High School

Rob Seymour – Athletic Director at Fishers High School

A total of 77 certified staff members that are made up of primarily teachers along with guidance counselors, media specialists, and administrators were hired over the summer. But due to low funding, only four additional new teaching positions were added to HSE’s staff of over 1,100 teachers.

In the area of new technology, HSE continues to roll out its HSE 21 Initiative which has a goal of equipping every student with an iPad by 2016. This school year, each student in fifth and sixth grade at HSE Schools will have their own iPad in the classroom; tablets can be rented from the district or privately purchased.

This is also the first year for HSE to implement program support fees for athletics and extra-curricular activities. The so-called “pay for play” proposal was approved by the HSE School Board as part of a budget study recommendation. There is more information on fees elsewhere in this section.