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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Supt. Richmond brings charisma, energy to GCSC

Friday, June 24, 2011

In describing newly hired GCSC superintendent Lori Richmond, school board members raved about her energy and charisma. That quality was on full display as Richmond spoke to a group of GSCS staffers shortly after she was hired Thursday. [Order this photo]
When Lori Richmond walked into the packed meeting room at the Greencastle Community School Corporation's administrative office Thursday evening, all eyes were immediately upon her.

No decision had been announced, but as this new person shook hands with each board member, the decision about to be made was clear.

Sensing everyone's attention, Richmond turned to the crowd, smiled and waved.

"Well, hi."

Thursday was apparently not the first time Richmond had drawn all eyes in this room her direction. Board member Todd Sutherlin described how Richmond had "taken over the room with her charisma" during the interview process.

The board voted unanimously to select Richmond as the new GCSC superintendent. She replaces Bob Green, who announced his retirement in March.

For the last three years, Richmond has served as the assistant superintendent and director of learning for Eastern Greene Schools.

She accepted the appointment with humble gratitude.

"The collective intellect that this school corporation has is huge," Richmond said. "I'm grateful to be a small part of that."

Eastern Greene Superintendent Ty Mungle said Richmond made a strong impact in her former post.

"Dr. Richmond has definitely impacted Eastern Greene Schools as an elementary principal and as our director of learning," Mungle said in a phone interview. "She will leave her mark in many ways, primarily our curriculum development and the integration of technology into each of our schools."

Board member Mike Dean said the combination of energy and experience was what drew him to Richmond.

"For me, it was just the energy that Lori brought into the room," Dean said, "She was just calm and collected. She would always have examples of any questions we asked her. She would say, 'You know, I've done this or this.' For me, that goes a long way -- that experience.

"It seems to me she's had experience with budgets, and as you all know, in these financial times, we need a person that can really see us through our budgets and the financial conditions we're in."

Before the vote, board president Bruce Stinebrickner gave a brief overview of the hiring process and how seriously the board took the duty of hiring a superintendent.

"Probably the single most important duty of a school board is to select a superintendent," Stinebrickner said.

After Green announced his retirement in early March, the board posted the job opening and took applications until May 1. From their 26 completed applications, they interviewed 10 candidates in early June before narrowing it to three finalists.

Throughout the process, the board said a number of things set Richmond apart, among them her focus on the classroom. Stinebrickner read a quote from her application he thought reflected this focus.

"Each decision made throughout the school corporation, whether it is in the central office or a classroom, small or large, must be held to the question, is it best for our students' educational success?" Richmond wrote.

After the meeting, in meeting with staff, students, administrators and community members, she kept her focus on all parts of the Greencastle community.

"There's a terrific triad here between the community -- what's happening with the city now -- and the university and Greencastle schools," Richmond said. "While we found ourselves in quite the educational conundrum right now, it is also a time when there are many opportunities. Opportunities for everyone to look at things fresh and new and say, 'Can we do things different? Is there a better way we can do that?'"

She also emphasized the need to maximize the potential of all students, regardless of their ability levels.

"She's worked with kids of rocket scientists to third-generation poverty, and I thought that was a really important thing that she emphasized," Fennel said.

Fennel was also impressed with Richmond's doctoral thesis, "College Success Based on High School Quality Factors" and what such thinking could mean to graduating GHS students.

Mungle said the Greencastle community can look forward to what Richmond brings to the school corporation.

"As much as we hate to see her go, I'm excited for her to become a superintendent and continue to make an impact in the life of students, as I know she will at Greencastle."

Richmond earned her B.S. from Indiana University in 1986, followed by her masters from IU in 2004. She earned her superintendent certification from Indiana State in 2010 and her doctorate from ISU earlier this year.

Prior to becoming Eastern Greene's superintendent, Richmond served as the principal of Eastern Greene Elementary School. From 1994-2004, she served as a teacher, principal and superintendent of several Christian schools in Bloomington.

Richmond began her teaching career with three years as an elementary teacher in Great Falls, Mont.

"I'm just very excited to be a part of the community and to be able to hopefully serve and move forward with this," Richmond said.

"I look forward to the adventure."

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