GREENCASTLE -- With Jack Berry and his 16 years of experience leaving the Greencastle Community School Board, some big shoes are left to fill.
The board took the first step in that direction at a special public meeting Monday, interviewing four candidates to fill the remainder of the term, which ends June 30.
Those seeking to fill the term are Wayne Lewis, Wesley Sampson, Todd Sutherlin and Doris Miller. The four candidates bring a variety of personal and professional backgrounds to the table.
Lewis is a local chiropractor. He is a 1962 Greencastle High School graduate, whose four children are also GHS grads. He also has five grandchildren currently in the school system.
He said his first priority as a school board member would be the students.
"Kids first, teachers second, and then the school board has to make decisions," Lewis said.
Sampson is a numismatist (coin dealer). His background includes a number of positions in the education system, from a bus driver in Kansas City to teaching from the elementary to college level. He has also served as a college administrator.
His work in administration actually came in the central African country of Malawi.
"Working with that budget, I was able to distribute the workload and help train others. I actually worked myself out of a job," Sampson said.
Sutherlin has operated One Hour Heating and Air Conditioning in Greencastle for 11 years. The GHS graduate has also worked with local youth sports, including serving as the president of the youth football association.
He shared with the board his aversion to the reductions in force that the current budget situation has forced so many school systems into.
"You kept hearing of teachers being RIF'ed, and that scared me," Sutherlin said. "There are other ways, I feel, that we might be able to think outside the box and save money in other ways."
Miller is a retired teacher from Greencastle Community Schools. She is also a GHS graduate, and had two children graduate from the school.
She said her background as a teacher would bring a unique and important perspective to the board.
"I've always wondered when I taught why there wasn't a representative from the teachers, whether it be a teaching teacher, or someone who teaches at another level," Miller said.
"Teachers will open up to other teachers."
All candidates expressed their desire to run as wanting what is best for the school system, its students and its employees. While each brought his or her own set of strengths and concerns, the overwhelming sentiment was a desire to serve the community well.
Following the public interviews, current board members Bruce Stinebrickner, Kelly Lewis, Mike Dean and Monica Fennell reconvened for an executive session to further discuss the interview process.
The board will announce another public meeting, likely next week, at which it will officially choose the new board member. As stated above, the member will serve the remainder of Berry's term, which expires June 30.
Prior to June 30, Greencastle Township Trustee Steve Butts will appoint the individual to serve the next term in the position.
One of only three public school board in Indiana that is appointed, not publicly elected, the Greencastle Community School Board is composed of two appointments by the Greencastle City Council, two by the Greencastle Township Trustee and one by the Madison Township Trustee.