New superintendent Dr. Beth Niedermeyer explains her plans, background and bucket list
Noblesville Schools’ new supt. Dr. Beth Niedermeyer said the district interested her because of what was taking place inside the classroom.
“Noblesville is such a leader in innovation. Schools from all across the state come too look at what they are doing,” she said. “We’re focusing on project based learning, focusing on providing a lot of opportunities for kids to be college and career ready.”
While she is just two weeks into her new role, Niedermeyer said one of the district’s strengths is its people.
“The teachers, principals and staff have established a really strong community feel in our schools. Their focus is working toward common goals. That is hard to replicate,” she said. “Noblesville is a high performing school district that is very competitive in academics, music and arts, and athletics … It’s a very exciting time.”
Originally from Fort Wayne, Niedermeyer has lived in Hamilton County for 20 years but is looking to move to Noblesville with her husband, Bob.
“We want to be a part of the community,” she said. “It’s family-oriented with a small town feel while it continues to grow. That is very attractive.”
The Niedermeyers enjoy exploring other cultures in their free time.
“I love to travel. One place on my bucket list is Australia. I think the outback sounds really exciting and the Great Barrier Reef sounds beautiful,” she said.
“We like to learn about different places and cultures. It makes us appreciate what we have here.”
Another item on Niedermeyer’s bucket list is to ride in a hot air balloon.
“I’ve seen them twice this week driving into work,” she said. “The closest I’ve been was parasailing on my honeymoon. It was my idea and I was petrified.”
Educator to administrator
Teaching runs in Niedermeyer’s blood as her father, Tom Huffman, aunt and great aunt were all educators.
“He was very strict with us (kids). All of his students loved him. I thought there was a real lesson to be learned in that,” she said.
Niedermeyer spent the past three years as assistant superintendent of Hamilton Southeastern Schools but has taught kindergarten through fifth grade and high school classes.
“The most important thing is making a difference in the daily lives of their students,” she said. “That’s the magic that happens every day. If they leave us loving what they can learn and achieve we’ve done a good job.”
Niedermeyer has served the Metropolitan School District of Pike Township for nine years as assistant superintendent, director of elementary education for a year and was principal of Fishback Creek Public Academy and College Park Elementary for a combined nine years. She spent the first 10 years of her education career at Fort Wayne Community Schools, where she taught kindergarten through fifth grade and aerospace and English in high school and later served as principal.
“I see the broad perspective of the differing needs but also the similarities,” she said. “Kids won’t learn until they know you care about them and that transcends all grade levels.”
Niedermeyer said one of her favorite education moments was opening a new school and handpicking her staff.
“I was able to work with them for a year before we opened the building. It taught me the importance of having the right folks on your team,” she said.
Niedermeyer said she is working on her “100-day plan” right now which includes getting acquainted with the staff and building relationships with the city and mayor, Ivy Tech and members of the community. Niedermeyer said her vision for Noblesville Schools is to be the “center of innovation and creativity with high performing schools.”
“(The district) has outlined such a strong strategic plan. I’m certainly on the same trajectory,” she said.
Niedermeyer said she intends to sit down in the teachers’ lunch room and speak with staff members.
“We can talk comfortably and openly. It’s an important piece to get to know one another and work collaboratively,” she said. “My goal is to get to the schools every week. In the first 100 days I’ll be there every day.”
Niedermeyer said she is looking to setup open office hours once she gets acquainted with the district. The plan is provide an open dialogue with the community at public places.
“It’s creating a presence so folks get to know me and know I want to listen. I will always be a listener. We may not agree but I will gather information before making decisions,” she said.
Niedermeyer said she is in the process of identifying the areas for growth in the district. She knows one controversial topic is the school start time changes that are scheduled to take place next school year.
“It’s strongly supported by the research, but it’s a big change for the community,” Niedermeyer said, adding she is interested in speaking to those in the community about their concerns.
By getting to know the community, Niedermeyer wants to explore opportunities with local businesses so students can “see the importance of learning, critical thinking and research.”
“It gives the kids real world problems and helps them be a part of the solution,” she said.
Meet Beth Niedermeyer
Family: Bob, husband of 28 years; 14 nieces and nephews
Hometown: Fort Wayne
Residence: Is looking for a home in Noblesville, has lived in Hamilton County for the past 20 years.
Comfort food: “Anything salty. Popcorn is my all-time favorite. We have it for dinner frequently.”
Hobbies: Reading, rollerblading, snow and water skiing, hiking, being outdoors and active.
Favorite books: “The Glass Castle” by Jeannette Walls, “The Kitchen House” by Kathleen Grissom, “Little Bee” by Chris Cleave, “Those Who Save Us” by Jenna Blum and “The Kite Runner” by Khaled Hosseini.
Personal motto: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has,” by Margaret Mead.