Interview with Dan Scherry – District VII Superintendent of the Year

Posted on April 18, 2018

Dan Scherry, superintendent of North Spencer County School Corp., has been named 2018 Superintendent of the Year for District VII by the Indiana Association of Public School Superintendents (IAPSS).

Dan Scherry, superintendent of North Spencer County School Corp., has been named 2018 Superintendent of the Year for District VII by the Indiana Association of Public School Superintendents (IAPSS).

Scherry has been superintendent since 2010, and previously served the district as high school principal and assistant superintendent.Despite financial struggles in recent years, North Spencer has improved its standing in statewide assessment and has continued to implement and improve on research-based best-practice instruction. Scherry has made it a priority to unite the school corporation and have a cohesive administrative leadership team through weekly meetings, book studies and summer retreats.

Scherry graduated from the University of Southern Indiana and earned M.S. and Ed.S. degrees from Indiana State University.

District VII includes Crawford, Daviess, DuBois, Gibson, Knox, Lawrence, Martin, Orange, Perry, Pike, Posey, Spencer, Vanderburgh and Warrick counties.

What program(s) or activities in your school district that focus on improving student learning do you feel are the most successful?

I feel the concepts of Guided Reading, Guided Math, and Professional Learning Communities, which we refer to as Study Groups, have allowed us to make the greatest strides and have the most impact in staying ahead of the curve as best we can.  Providing stability and a feeling for “true north” for our teachers and administrators thru these programs in the wake of constant turmoil allows them to do the same for students, academically, socially, and emotionally.

What have been your most significant challenges as a supt. and how have you dealt with them?

Being a “people pleaser” by nature of being an educator, my greatest challenges have been to overcome the stress that is created through leadership and decision-making.  Experience, vision, and wisdom have allowed me to see problems and solutions for what they are and not as personal challenges that define me.

If you could improve one aspect of K-12 Education today, what would it be and what changes would you make?

The one aspect of K-12 Education today that I would change would be to place some of the funding formula back into local control.  I believe this would allow each district the latitude to better attract top notch teachers that would have the incentive to stay, improve, and lead, or leave.  I do not believe becoming a referendum state is the answer because many communities have more non-school aged families, than they do school-aged families and thusly, that’s the way people vote.

What advice would you give to aspiring or beginning superintendents?

When you scrape away all the cynicism and negative rhetoric of the current public school climate, it’s still a wonderful way to spend a lifetime.  Rise above the muck of daily operations and hold a vision higher than seems wise.