KOKOMO, Ind. – At its regular monthly meeting (June 10), the Kokomo Schools Board of School Trustees approved several administrative and personnel recommendations from Superintendent Dr. Jeff Hauswald.
Dr. Hauswald prefaced his recommendations by explaining to Board members that Kokomo Schools officials recognize the significant role that quality leadership plays in the success of the district.
Most of the administrative changes were triggered by a request for re-assignment from current Kokomo High School Principal Rick Hagenow; the resignation of Dr. Dawn McGrath, Director of Special Programs; and the expansion of International student programs.
In a letter to Dr. Hauswald, Mr. Hagenow noted that serving as KHS Principal has been among his life’s greatest privileges.
“It is a job which requires extreme dedication and time,” Mr. Hagenow wrote in his request letter. “While I relish the position, I have come to a place in my life where I would appreciate the opportunity to serve this corporation with a lessened load. This would be wonderful for my family and my personal well-being.”
Dr. Hauswald noted that he appreciates the dedication of Mr. Hagenow, and all he has done to lead KHS as Principal the past two years.
“Mr. Hagenow will be missed as KHS principal,” Dr. Hauswald added, “but I am thrilled that we can create a leadership role for Mr. Hagenow that allows him to remain part of the KHS team while respecting his desire to spend more time with his family.”
According to Dr. Hauswald, Mr. Hagenow will serve in an administrative role for student support by overseeing the Twilight program, workplace and other student transitions, student equity, and dropout prevention.
Mr. Hagenow believes this job will be a great fit.
“My passion has always been in working with those who find the path to graduation difficult,” the former McKinley Alternative School principal said. “This new position will allow me to spend the bulk of my time helping those who dream of graduating, while it also gives me additional time for my health and my family. I must thank the staff and students at KHS for making my experience as principal one that I will cherish forever.”
KHS 1997 graduate Mike Sargent has accepted the position of “Interim High School Principal” while he will continue his responsibilities as Director of Evaluation.
“I am humbled by the opportunity to become the principal of the same high school where I not only graduated from; but also, where I taught for two years,” Mr. Sargent said. “KHS offers so many opportunities for students. I look forward to working with the high school staff in enhancing current programs while adding new programs.”
Mr. Sargent, who taught special education and coached baseball and softball at KHS, has served as Principal of Central Middle School the past 4 years, while helping the International MYP (Middle Years Program) earn authorization as an IB (International Baccalaureate) World School.
Mr. Hagenow praised the selection.
“I know the job of KHS Principal will be taken to new heights by Mike Sargent,” Mr. Hagenow said. “Mike is the right person at the right time to lead KHS into the IB (International Baccalaureate) Diploma program and the IB Career Certificate program, while enhancing the excellent programs already in place.”
Ms. Holly Herrera will step in as “Interim Middle School Principal” at Central International School after serving as Assistant Principal at Central for the past two years.
Mr. Sargent believes Ms. Herrera will do an outstanding job.
“Mrs. Herrera’s understanding of IB is excellent,” Mr. Sargent said. “She also has good working relationships with the staff, the students, and the parents. I am confident, under Mrs. Herrera’s leadership, the International School at Central will continue offering quality educational experiences for each student.”
Dr. McGrath, who looks forward to working closer to home (Indianapolis), explained that she accepted the administrative position at Kokomo Schools for very specific purposes, and she believes those goals have been accomplished.
“Special education was deconstructed and rebuilt,” Dr. McGrath added. “Kokomo Schools improved compliance and other concerns while developing a more responsive, comprehensive continuum of services. Resources have been streamlined to support students in more inclusive settings. Our learning community has been empowered to respect the individual needs of students. Essentially, my task has been completed.”
Pat Linder, who has served Kokomo Schools for 31 years as a teacher and special education supervisor, will become the “Interim Director of Student Programs,” and Dr. McGrath feels this is a wise choice.
“Well-known in the Kokomo community as a caring servant, Pat Linder is an expert on matters of special education services, compliance, and procedural regulations,” Dr. McGrath explained. “She will be an outstanding steward during this time of transition. I also wish to thank the people at Kokomo Schools, with whom I have developed dear relationships that I will treasure for a lifetime. It has been an honor to serve in the Kokomo community.”
According to Dr. Hauswald, Dr. McGrath will work with Kokomo Schools on a consultant basis, as needed.
With the addition of an International high school girls residence hall, Heidi Gutwein will expand her responsibilities in this area as “International Programs Coordinator.” Ms. Gutwein, who has served the past two years as Principal of the McKinley and Lincoln alternative programs while also overseeing operations at the International boys residence hall, will coordinate the district’s International Exchange programs operating under F1 and J1 visas.
Tom Hale, a 23-year veteran of Kokomo Schools who served as a Curriculum Supervisor for Special Education this past school year, will become “Alternative Education Coordinator.” Mr. Hale’s primary responsibilities will be overseeing the McKinley, Lincoln, and Kinsey alternative education programs.
Dr. Hauswald summarized his recommendations by noting: “These personnel changes approved tonight continue to build on our past successes, while creating a stronger leadership team. These moves place our people in roles that focus on their respective strengths.”
According to Dr. Hauswald, the administrative changes do not add any new administrators; while overall, the changes will reduce the overall district administrative costs.
(Courtesy of Kokomo School Corporation)