The February 2014 IAPSS eNewsletter features 2014 Superintendents of the Year from Districts I, II, and III
District I E. Ric Frataccia, Superintendent of Portage Township Schools
District II Sherry Grate, Superintendent of DeKalb County Schools
District III Charles Brimley, Superintendent Peru Community Schools
District winners are selected by other superintendents in their district who consider the qualifications and accomplishments of area colleagues and their instructional leadership in a time of limited financial resources.
Portage Township School Corporation is the largest and most diverse school system inPorterCounty. With nearly 60 percent of its children qualifying for free and reduced-price meals, the district has earned a state rating of exemplary or “A” for the past three years. Although money is tight, Frataccia has maintained strong communication with teachers and teachers unions to ensure they have sufficient classroom resources and the best possible learning environments for themselves and for students. District employees fully understand the financial burden the district has faced and in recent years have even forgone raises. Under Frataccia’s leadership the district has implemented significant changes in curriculum, instruction and assessment practices which have helped to fuel the growth in student achievement.
Frataccia has served as Portage Township School Corporation superintendent since 2012. He formerly served as the district’s assistant superintendent, was superintendent in Union Township School Corp. and an administrator at Valparaiso Community Schools.
He is a member of the Association of Supervision of Curriculum Development and of the Indiana School Boards Association. He earned a B.S. degree from the State University of New York Oswego, N.Y., received his master’s and doctoral degrees from Ball State University and also did post-graduate work at Indiana University, Texas A & M and the University of California-Los Angeles.
DeKalb County Central United School District is considered one of the most energy efficient school districts in Indiana and the U.S. The $6.6 million the district has saved so far through its energy education initiative has been reinvested back into the classroom.
When DeKalb High School was on probationary status, the district partnered with the Northeast Indiana Talent Initiative to transform its high school program. Using $575,000 in outside funding, they created DeKalb New Tech High School as a “school within a school.” The district also incorporated a mastery approach for teaching high school math, infused project-based learning into curriculum, and used mentors and internships. With all of these changes, the district’s high school graduation rate has increased to 91.2 percent.
The district also developed a comprehensive Response to Instruction framework to meet the academic and behavioral needs of students, improved alignment of secondary courses and reallocated staff to increase opportunities for middle school students to earn high school credits.
Grate joined DeKalb County Central United School District in 2000 as a school principal and became superintendent in 2009. She previously worked in Northwest Allen County School District and East Noble School Corporation.
Grate serves on the boards of the YMCA of DeKalb County, the DeKalb County Learning Link-Initiative and the DeKalb County Helping Our Pupils Excel (HOPE) Mentoring Organization. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Indiana University, a masters from IUPUI, and Ed.S. and Ed.D. degrees from Ball State University.
The Peru Community School Corporation serves both an urban and rural population and has a high percentage of students in special education, as well as high rates of student poverty and mobility.
The district’s enrollment has declined due the scarcity of jobs inPeru. Title I funding has dropped by almost 25 percent in three years, the district’s general fund has been cut by 20 percent and the budget categories funded by local property taxes have been cut 34 percent a year for the past three years.
Despite those financial challenges:
- The district earned the state grade of “A.”
- PeruJunior High Schoolwas named a turn-around school by the Indiana Department of Education in 2012.
- The district’s graduation rate rose from 69 percent to 96.7 percent in the last four years.
- The drop-out rate declined from 18.3 percent to 2.2 percent.
- The district went from having the lowest third grade IREAD scores in the area 2012 to having the highest in 2013.
- The district was the number one school district in the state in English and language arts growth in 2011.
- Algebra I End of Course Assessment (ECA) scores grew from 56 percent to 90 percent.
- The district received national recognition in 2012 on the Advanced Placement (AP) honor roll for its growth in AP exam scores.
- Peru Community Schools has become a leader in theMiamiCountyarea for offering dual-credit courses.
Brimbury has served as Peru Community School Corporation superintendent since 2010. He earned his bachelor’s degree and Ed.S. fromIndianaStateUniversity, where he is currently working on a doctoral degree. He received a master’s degree fromBallStateUniversity. Brimbury is a member of Miami County Rotary and serves on the board of directors for the Miami Chamber of Commerce.