Karl Galey, superintendent of Lawrenceburg Community School Corporation, has been named 2018 Superintendent of the Year for District VIII by the Indiana Association of Public School Superintendents (IAPSS). Galey has been Lawrenceburg superintendent since 2009.
Lawrenceburg Community School Corp.’s graduation rate has increased from 76 percent in 2008 to an average of 95 percent since 2011. This district with just under 2,000 students has a certified early college high school, which allows students to graduate with an associate’s degree from Vincennes University at the same time they graduate from high school. The district has instituted a one-to-one computing initiative with all elementary students receiving an iPad and all middle and high school students receiving a Chromebook.
Galey graduated from Northern Kentucky University and earned M.A. and Ed.S. degrees from Indiana State University. He is a past president of the Southeastern Indiana Superintendents Study Council and a member of the Dearborn County Chamber of Commerce, the Lawrenceburg Lions Club and the Dearborn County Juvenile Detention Center Advisory Board. He also serves on the Ivy Tech-Lawrenceburg Roundtable Committees for the advanced manufacturing and nursing programs.
District VIII includes Bartholomew, Brown, Dearborn, Decatur, Clark, Floyd, Franklin, Harrison, Jackson, Jefferson, Jennings, Ohio, Ripley, Scott, Switzerland and Washington counties.
What program(s) or activities in your school district that focus on improving student learning do you feel are the most successful?
We have a certified Early College which has been great for raising expectations and achievement for students from the elementary to high school students. The higher expectations and rigor has trickled down to our middle school and elementary schools. Second, we have an alternative to suspension program which allows students to receive credit for school work and teaches them life lessons during a community service portion of the program. We are a 1:1 school corporation with technology integration increasing student engagement helping students become learners of tomorrow. These are all great programs, but it is truly about PEOPLE and the relationships that they build. I believe improving student learning is most successful when you put the best administrators in place to lead buildings and the best teachers in classrooms with students. It also means having the best secretaries, nurses, instructional assistants, food service employees, custodians, maintenance and bus drivers……PEOPLE impact students most. When all of these people look at their student data and make changes to impact students for the best, this is when student learning will improve.
What have been your most significant challenges as a supt. and how have you dealt with them?
The most significant challenge as a superintendent is the constant moving target of expectations by the state (legislators, SBOE and IDOE); i.e. – standardized assessments, graduation pathways and technology. Educators have become resilient and able to handle all changes. I continue to tell my staff we are going to continue to do what we do best, work with students; provide them the best educational environment and learning opportunities possible regardless of the state not listening to the professionals in the field.
If you could improve one aspect of K-12 Education today, what would it be and what changes would you make?
Let the professionals in education have a meaningful voice in the decisions impacting education within the state.
What advice would you give to aspiring or beginning superintendents?
Always have a plan B and C. Expect the unexpected. Be prepared to improvise quickly as many situations will arise that were not taught in a class and do not give you much time to develop a plan.